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NOJHL Notebook – January 25, 2012

Articles

Release Date: Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

NOJHL contact: Robert Mazzuca, Commissioner
705-670-8627 (Phone) – rjm@persona.ca (Email) – http://www.nojhl.com/ (Website)

Soo Thunderbirds among CJHL elite in winning percentage

SUDBURY, Ont. – As the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League heads towards the stretch drive and the upcoming playoffs, the front-running Soo Thunderbirds have shown to be among the elite when it comes to winning games.

With 31 victories to their credit already this season the T-Birds not only lead the NOJHL standings, but the squad is part of the upper echelon in the entire Canadian Jr. Hockey League in winning percentage too.

Entering play this week the Thunderbirds boast the seventh-best win mark among the 133 teams that comprise the CJHL at .816.

A total of 11 CJHL clubs boast a winning percentage of .800 or higher.

Making up over half the list are three organizations apiece from both the Ontario Jr. Hockey League and the Alberta Jr. Hockey League.

Leading the CJHL in winning percentage is the Wisconsin Wilderness of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League at .915.

The Soo has an opportunity to raise their stock in this category also as they have played fewer games than all of the other win leaders.

The following is the list of CJHL clubs that currently possess a .800 winning percentage or higher:

TEAM

LEAGUE

WINNING %

WisconsinWilderness

SIJHL

.915

PentictonVees

BCHL

.905

Spruce Grove Saints

AJHL

.885

WoodstockSlammers

MHL

.866

Fort McMurrayOil Barons

AJHL

.830

NewmarketHurricanes

OJHL

.817

SOO THUNDERBIRDS

NOJHL

.816

TrentonGolden Hawks

OJHL

.810

NepeanRaiders

CCHL

.802

Brooks Bandits

AJHL

.800

St. Michael’s Buzzers

OJHL

.800

GAME TIME: There is plenty of NOJHL action on the ice this week as league play features a total of eight games.

It begins this evening on two fronts including the league-leading Soo Thunderbirds hosting the North Bay Trappers at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie as a pair of clubs look to extend winning streaks. Game time is 7 p.m.

The other match-up will see the Soo Eagles heading to Sudbury for a 7:30 p.m. encounter with the Cubs at McClelland Arena with sole possession of second place in the overall NOJHL standings going to the winner.

Looking ahead to Friday the newly minted Kirkland Lake Gold Miners will suit up in their second-ever game as they welcome Sudbury to the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex in a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.

Friday’s other contest features the Thunderbirds heading across the St. Mary’s River and the International Bridge for a 7:30 p.m. meeting with the rival Eagles at Pullar Stadium.

A full slate of games go Saturday with Kirkland Lake travelling to take on the Abitibi Eskimos while Blind River hosts North Bay and the Eagles and Thunderbirds finish off a weekend home-and-home with the Essar Centre serving as the venue. All three of those contests get underway at 7:30 p.m.

Wrapping up the week has Abitibi heading to North Bay Sunday as those two sides square at 7 p.m. at the Memorial Gardens.

WEEK-IN-REVIEW: The week that was in the NOJHL saw seven games contested. The following is a brief re-cap of the on-ice action:

Jan. 18: Abitibi 5 @ Sudbury 6—A see-saw affair saw the Cubs rally late to pull out a come from behind victory…After Sudbury stormed out to an early 3-0 lead, the Eskimos answered back with five straight to go up by a pair…Jamie Haines would tie the contest at 17:26 of the third period and Jordan Carroll slammed home his fourth tally of the night notching the game-winner with just 41 seconds remaining…Carroll also surpassed the 50-goal plateau with his offensive outburst.

Jan. 20: Soo Eagles 6 @ Kirkland Lake 4—The visiting Eagles would spoil the debut of the Gold Miners as 802 fans filled the Joe for an exciting contest…Kirkland Lake jumped out to a 3-1 cushion after one period only to see the Soo strike three times in the middle frame to ahead for good…Dallas McLaughlin paced the Eagles offensively with two goals and two assists while Jordan Turbide tallied twice for the Gold Miners in the hard-fought setback.

Jan. 20: Sudbury 4 @ North Bay 6—The Trappers got three points apiece from Brad Gehl, Scott Pawson and Matthew Salituro to cool off the red-hot Cubs…Brandon Janke chipped in with two goals for the winners…Jordan Carroll had a pair of markers in a losing cause to give him a NOJHL-best 55 on the year while Jamie and Darcy Haines combined for five points.

Jan. 20: Blind River 1 @ Soo Thunderbirds 7—Micky Sartoretto fired a hat-trick while Kevin Michelcavage potted pair as the surging Thunderbirds dropped Blind River…John Kleinhans made 22 saves to register the victory…Scott Marshall had the lone effort for the Beavers.

Jan. 21: Soo Eagles 4 @ Abitibi 7—The Eskies bounced back from an early deficit to knock off the Eagles…Corey Hamel and Richard Therrien had two goals and as many assists apiece while Marc-Alain Begin dished out four helpers to pace Abitibi in the home ice victory…Martin Bilodeau had 18 stops in relief for the win…Dallas McLaughlin and Brian Depp had three points each for the Eagles.

Jan. 21: Soo Thunderbirds 4 @ Blind River 3—The T-Birds withstood the upset bid by the Beavers to pull-out the triumph…Cody Zorzi’s effort late in the second period proved to be the game-winner…Tyler Brown had two points in defeat.

Jan. 22: Soo Eagles 0 @ North Bay 3—Mitchell Knight made 18 saves to blank the road-weary Eagles who played their sixth straight on the road…Danny Desrochers netted the winner for North Bay. Scott Pawson and Ryan Brain also scored.

CLOSING IN: Sudbury Cubs sharpshooter Jordan Carroll is rapidly closing in on a number of team records.

The 20-year-old Sudbury product is just three points shy from setting a new club mark for points in a season as he looks to surpass the 109 Brian McGarry racked up in 2005-06.

Carroll is also just 10 helpers short of breaking McGarry’s team assist record of 62 set that same season.

The third achievement he is nearing is Sudbury’s single season goal record as he only needs seven more tallies to match the 62 fired by Matt Shank back during the 2001-02 campaign.

Carroll, who is currently riding an impressive 29-game point streak, leads the entire CJHL in goals with 55 and is second overall in points at 107. He trails only Yannick Jeffrey (Longueuil, LHJAAAQ) who has 115. (52g-62a)

Having a most valuable player-type season the Cubs’ standout has only been held off the score sheet once all season.

DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: At the conclusion of the league playoffs, the NOJHL champion will advance to represent the league at the 2012 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship, April 17-21 in Thunder Bay. The Thunder Bay North Stars of the Superior International Junior Hockey League will host the five-day tournament at the Fort William Gardens.

Joining the NOJHL and the North Stars in the Lakehead will be champions of the OJHL and SIJHL.

Taking a look at the competition that will go up against the NOJHL at the Dudley-Hewitt you’ll find a hotly contested battle for top spot in the OJHL.

That 27-team loop, whose regular season campaign wraps up Feb. 12, sees the St. Michael’s Buzzers continuing to have the most points overall with 72.

The Trenton Golden Hawks are next with 68 followed by the Newmarket Hurricanes with 67.

However, it is the Hurricanes who sport the best winning percentage in the OJHL at .817.

Trenton meanwhile is No. 2 in that category with a .810 win mark with the Buzzers coming in at .800.

Meanwhile in the SIJHL, the Wisconsin Wilderness remain red-hot as the defending league champions have reeled off 19 consecutive victories and boast a solid 37-3-1 overall record.

As for the host North Stars, they have hit a bit of a bump as of late having dropped three straight games. They have also dropped to fourth in the league standings with a 19-15-5 mark.

The OJHL has won the last five Dudley-Hewitt Cups and eight of the previous 10. The last time the DHC was held in Thunder Bay, the North Stars were victorious.

The Dudley-Hewitt Cup winner will move on to represent the central region at the Royal Bank Cup Canadian Jr. A championship in Humboldt, Sask., this May.

Now up and running is the 2012 Dudley-Hewitt Cup website, which can be found online at http://www.thedudleyhewittcup.com/.

CJHL TOP 20 RANKINGS: The solid play of the Soo Thunderbirds has seen them continue their climb up the Canadian Jr. Hockey League rankings.

The Thunderbirds were tabbed seventh overall moving up one notch from a week ago in the rankings that are compiled each week in consultation with NHL Central Scouting and are presented by PlayingUpHockey.com.

The Penticton Vees of the BCHL remain the top ranked club in the CJHL followed by the Spruce Grove Saints of Alberta, the Royal Bank Cup host Humboldt Broncos in Saskatchewan and the SIJHL-leading Wisconsin Wilderness as those three squads were listed second, third and fourth respectively.

Last week’s rankings and the leagues in which the teams belong to are in parenthesis.
CJHL Top 20 (As of Jan. 23/12)
1. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (1)
2. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (2)
3. Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) (6)
4. Wisconsin Wilderness (SIJHL) (5)
5. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (3)
6. Woodstock Slammers (MHL) (4)
7. SOO THUNDERBIRDS (NOJHL) (8)
8. Newmarket Hurricanes (OJHL) (9)
9. Nepean Raiders (CCHL) (7)
10. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (10)
11. Dauphin Kings (MJHL) (14)
12. Lloydminster Bobcats (AJHL) (15)
13. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (12)
14. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (11)
15. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (13)
16. Weyburn Red Wings (SJHL) (HM)
17. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (16)
18. Wellington Dukes (OJHL) (HM)
19. Powell River Kings (BCHL) (NR)
20. Les Cougars du College Champlain – Sherbrooke (LHJAAAQ) (20)

Honourable Mention: Selkirk Steelers (MJHL), Cobourg Cougars (OJHL), St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL), Cornwall Colts (CCHL), Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL).

The weekly rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the teams play, winning percentage, win-loss record, total points accumulated, goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc. The CJHL is comprised of the 10 junior A hockey leagues across Canada.

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NOJHL TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES

ABITIBI ESKIMOS: The Eskimos finish up January with two games as they host Kirkland Lake Saturday before visiting North Bay Sunday…Marc-Alain Begin has a six-game point streak on the go having amassed five goals and 19 assists in that span. He remains third in NOJHL scoring with 91 points in just 28 games…His 13 power play markers are the third most in the league…Richard Therrien is fifth in NOJHL scoring on 77 points. He has an eight game point streak on the go. He is tied for fourth in PPG with 10… Their 14 home wins share the second best total in the NOJHL.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS: The Beavers remain winless in 2012 and have dropped nine straight overall…Blind River remains in the cellar of the NOJHL western division with a 5-34-2 record…Paul Muio continues as the team scoring leader with 23 points while Tyler Brown is next with 21 followed by Joel McAuley with 20…The squad remains offensively challenged having scored only 88 times so far this season while allowing a league-worst 238.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS: Kirkland Lake takes to the ice in their second game in their young franchise as they host Sudbury Friday before playing their inaugural road game Saturday at Abitibi…Jordan Turbide will go down as the first goal scorer in Gold Miners history…Travis Jones is credited with the inaugural assist…The club has eight games scheduled in February including five on home ice.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS: North Bay takes a two-game winning streak into Sault Ste. Marie tonight as they take on the first place Thunderbirds…Matt Salituro has five points in his last two games and has taken over the team scoring lead. (19g-17a)…Brad Edwards and Brad Gehl are both riding five-game point streaks. Edwards has four goals and four assists in that span while Gehl has five tallies and six helpers…Goaltender Mitchell Knight tops all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 2.44 and third in save percentage at .902. His four shutouts are second most in the NOJHL…The Traps have allowed the third fewest goals in the league at 134…After Saturday’s road contest in Blind River, North Bay will commence a four-game home stand…The Trappers are 7-3 in their past 10 outings.

SOO EAGLES: The Eagles finish off a stretch of seven consecutive road games tonight in Sudbury. They have gone 2-4 in the first six…The Soo is tied for second overall in the NOJHL standings with the Cubs…Brian Depp continues to lead the Eagles in scoring. His 68 points also leave him seventh overall in the league…Shane Totten sits ninth in NOJHL offensive production with 58 points with 21 tallies and 37 helpers…Dallas McLaughlin have joined the top 10 in league scoring with 52 points. He has 13 points in January so far…Chris Truehl and Luis Puig sit third and fourth respectively in NOJHL goals-against average at 3.27 and 3.78…Truehl is second in save percentage at .906…After Friday’s home game vs. the rival Thunderbirds the Eagles head out on the road next weekend for three away contests.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS: The league-leading Thunderbirds will look to extend a winning streak to six tonight as they host North Bay at John Rhodes…Tabbed No. 7 overall in the latest CJHL national rankings the T-Birds top the NOJHL standings with a 31-7 record and a .816 winning percentage….A well balanced attack sees the Soo feature 10 skaters with 25 or more points so far in 2011-12…Team leading scorer Micky Sartoretto has a 12-game point streak on the go. He has also recorded points in 24 of his past 25 contests. His 78 total points leave him fourth in NOJHL scoring. Teammate Matt Amadio sits eighth in the league in offensive production with 66 points. He has points in nine of his last 12 games…Goalkeeper John Kleinhans leads all goalies in wins (21), save percentage (.912), shutouts (5), and minutes played (1,670). He is also second in goals-against average at 2.84…Three of the next four for the club will be at home.

SUDBURY CUBS: The Cubs lead the league in goals scored with 231…Sudbury is 8-2 in their past 10 and have gone 20-5 in their last 25 outings…Jordan Carroll and Jamie Haines sit one-two respectively in NOJHL scoring…Carroll has the second highest point total in the entire CJHL at 107. He is also riding an impressive 29-game point streak and leads the league in shorthanded goals with five…Haines is five points shy of the century mark. He leads the league in game-winning goals with nine…Nick Esposto is sixth in the league in offensive production with 73 points. He has 23 multiple-point games so far this season…Goaltender Jeremy Pominville is 10-1 in his last 11 decisions…Netminder Alex Laino is 9-3 in his last 12 outings…The Cubs have 14 wins on home ice so far this season. That is a share for second most in the league. Sudbury is also knotted for second in road victories with 11.