THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS Timmins Rock forward Derek Seguin, shown here taking a draw against Powassan Voodoos forward Henry Scott during a game at the McIntyre Arena on Oct. 21, headlines the Team NOJHL East Royal roster selected for the Eastern Canada Cup Challenge at the at Duncan McDonald Memorial Gardens, from Nov. 19-21. Seguin’s 16 goals lead the NOJHL and he currently is tied for third in the scoring race.
Three members of the Timmins Rock will suit up with Team NOJHL East Royal during the Eastern Canada Cup Challenge at the Duncan McDonald Memorial Gardens in Trenton, from Nov. 19-21.
Up front, Rock captain Derek Seguin (21, 16-11-27, 8) — the NOJHL’s goal-scoring leader — will be joined by linemate Riley Robitaille (21, 5-10-15, 30).
Joining the two Timmins forwards will be Rock blue-liner Josh Anderson (20, 2-12-14, 37).
The two goalies on Team NOJHL East Royal are Joe Vrbetic (571:00, 6-3-0-0, 0, 2.84, .935), of the Powassan Voodoos, and Gregory Brassard (714:00, 10-1-0-0, 1, 1.85, .934) of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.
In addition to Anderson, the Team NOJHL East Royal blue-line features Quinn Schneidmiller (19, 5-5-10, 32), of the Goldminers, Cam Moore (12, 2-5-7, 20), of the Voodoos, Alec Johnson (2, 0-3-3, 2), of the Hearst Lumberjacks, Ethan Emanuel (21, 2-8-10, 14) and Ryan Mooney (20, 3-5-8, 26), of the Cochrane Crunch.
Up front, Seguin and Robitaille will be joined by Levi Siau (18, 4-10-14, 12), of the French River Rapids, Jake Desando (19, 9-16-25, 6) and Raphael Lacours (12, 5-3-8, 20), of the Hearst Lumberjacks, Sam Elwood (4, 3-1-4, 2), Gregory Trudeau-Paquet (19, 12-12-24, 18), and Vinny DeSanctis (16, 5-8-13, 16), of the Goldminers, Zach Hayes (22, 5-11-16, 6) and Justin Bofshever (22, 5-7-12, 36), of the Crunch, David Campbell (21, 8-11-19, 6) and Cade Herd (21, 13-20-33, 6), of the Voodoos.
Director of operations for Team NOJHL East Royal is Paul Frustaglio, of the Rapids.The coach is Ryan Leonard, of the Crunch, while Max Gavin, of the Voodoos and Ryan Wood, of the Gold Miners, will serve as his assistants.
Corey Regich, of the Voodoos, will serve as team’s athletic therapist and equipment manager.
Rock fans may be wondering about Robitaille’s ability to participate in the tournament given that by the time the puck drops, he will have only served five games of his seven-game suspension for the checking to the head major penalty he picked up at the conclusion of Saturday’s loss to the Soo Eagles.
GM Kevin Peever noted, however, that Robitaille can indeed take part in the tournament, with the sixth and seventh games of his suspension to be served after it concludes.
Conversely, Wood’s four-game suspension for making a travesty of the game during Friday’s win over the visiting Blind River Beavers will be finished before action gets underway.
When any kind of all-star team of this nature is selected, there is some degree of controversy about those who are picked and those who are left off the team.
For Rock fans, the obvious omission would be goalie Tyler Masternak (1025:00, 12-4-1-0, 4, 2.22, .910),
Masternak has played more minutes than any other goalie in the NOJHL, leads the league in wins and shutouts, has the third-best goals against average — ranking him behind only Brassard and his Gold Miners teammate Dawson Rodin (366:00, 5-2-0-0, 3, 1.97, .939).
In case you were wondering, Vrbetic is 12th in minutes played, seventh in wins, has no shutouts, and he is 12th in goals against average.
In fact, the only category in which Vrbetic has superior statistics is saves percentage, with his .935 ranking second, while Masternak’s .910 is 14th best.
Some other notable exclusions from Team NOJHL East Royal include Voodoos forward Tomas Yachmenev (21, 11-11-22, 2), Lumberjacks forward Max Griffioen (19, 11-9-20, 12), Rapids forward Will Frustaglio (19, 8-12-20, 10), Gold Miners forward Alex Elie (19, 5-14-19, 10), Lumberjacks blue-liner Maxim Lacroix (19, 2-15-17, 40), Rapids blue-liner Connor Loft (20, 6-8-14, 22), Voodoos blue-liner Eric Allair (20, 3-10-13, 31) and Rock blue-liner Will Caston (20, 1-9-10, 31).
These omissions are even more perplexing, of course, given that two of the players chosen — Johnson on the blue-line and Elwood up front — have played fewer than five games in the NOJHL this season.
The goaltending tandem for Team NOJHL West Powder includes Garret Boyonoski (597:00, 3-4-2-0, 0, 3.12, .911), of the Blind River Beavers, and Colin Ahern (664:00, 9-2-0-0, 0, 2.35, .922), of the Soo Thunderbirds.
Team NOJHL West Powder’s blue-line consists of Ryan O’Bonsawin (4, 0-3-3, 6) and Zach Snow (23, 0-10-10, 13), of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians, Ryan Mulligan (22, 7-10-17, 30), of the Blind River Beavers, Steven Bellini (18, 4-16-20, 8) and Kobe Seguin (19, 1-4-5, 12), of the Soo Thunderbirds, and Brendan Blair (21, 8-7-15, 26), of the Soo Eagles.
Up front, Team NOJHL West Powder’s roster includes Kobe Keller (2, 0-1-1, 4), of the Soo Eagles, Benjamin Hatanaka (22, 7-11-18, 4), Evan Krassey (18, 6-7-13, 29) and Brady Maltias (22, 5-5-10, 57), of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians, Lucas Theriault (19, 14-13-27, 15), Nick Smith (17, 10-8-18, 21), Kaidan MacDonald (19, 6-7-13, 14) and Noah Boman (19, 8-18-26, 15), of the Soo Thunderbirds, Brendan Young (22, 8-19-27, 24) and Caleb Serre (22, 11-19-30, 27), of the Blind River Beavers, Chase Lammi (20, 5-7-12, 10), of the Espanola Express, and Josh Bifolchi (20, 8-3-11, 31), of the Elliot Lake Wildcats.
The areas of contention with Team NOJHL West Powder are similar to those with Team NOJHL East Royal — goaltending and the inclusion of a pair of players, blue-liner O’Bonsawin and forward Keller, who have played fewer than five games this season.
Boyonoski, who plays for Team NOJHL West Powder coach Kyle Brick, ranks 17th in wins, 14th in goals against average and 13th in saves percentage.
Anyone who has seen him play knows Boyonoski is a quality goaltender, but is he more deserving than Elliot Lake’s Justin Vertesi who sits 16th in wins, but fifth in goals against average and fifth in saves percentage, or the Eagles’ Joseph Benedetto, currently sixth in wins, eighth in goals against average and 11th in saves percentage?
The list of West Division blue-liners bypassed includes Ethan Lavallee (23, 5-12-17, 18), of the Canadians, Dante Cavaliere (20, 2-11-13, 0), of the Beavers, and Mark Perone (21, 1-11-12, 32).
Up front, those overlooked by the selectors include Connor Taylor (21, 12-7-19, 0), of the Wildcats, Riley Nadeau (22, 9-10-19, 8), of the Beavers, Caleb Wood (20, 11-6-17, 10), of the Eagles, and Kyle Liinamaa (22, 8-8-16, 12), of the Canadians.
Team NOJHL West Powder’s director of operations is Grant Trayner, of the Express, while the Beavers’ Brick is the coach and his assistants are Dave Clancy, of the Express, and Zolton ‘Toots’ Kovacs, of the Thunderbirds.
Derick Bates, of the Beavers, will serve as the athletic therapist, while Brian Workman, of the Express will be the equipment manager.
Team NOJHL East Royal is scheduled to open the Eastern Canada Cup Challenge against Team QJAAAHL St.Louis, Monday, Nov. 19.
They will then take on Team CCHL Yzerman on Tuesday, Nov. 20, before finishing up against Team OJHL Coffey on Wednesday, Nov. 21.