Release Date: Friday, April 12, 2013
Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy final preview: North Bay Trappers vs. Soo Thunderbirds
SUDBURY – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League final has arrived and the North Bay Trappers and the Soo Thunderbirds are set to do battle in the quest for the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy.
The following is a preview of the best-of-seven final that gets underway tonight at North Bay’s Memorial Gardens at 7:30 p.m.
HOW THEY ARRIVED: North Bay advanced to the league championship series after getting past the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in five hard-fought games in semifinal action after earning a first round bye by virtue of finishing first overall in the regular season standings.
As for Sault Ste. Marie they have rolled in postseason play to date having won eight consecutive games after sweeps of both the Abitibi Eskimos in the quarter-final action and the Sudbury Nickel Barons in the semis.
Add in the last two games in 2012 final the T-Birds have won 10 straight playoff match-ups.
WE MEET AGAIN: This marks the second consecutive year the two sides have met in the NOJHL final.
The Thunderbirds came away victorious capturing the title in five games in 2012.
In other meetings, teams from Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay have met six other times in the NOJHL final.
The Soo won the title in 2009 over the then North Bay Skyhawks in five games while the Skyhawks who swept T-Birds for the 2004 title and defeated the Soo Jr. Greyhounds in 2003 in five outings.
In 1967 Soo Greyhounds who topped the Trappers four games to two, avenging a 1966 title won by North Bay in a series that went six games.
They first met for the NOJHL crown in 1964 with North Bay winning it all in a series that went the full seven games.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: During the course of the regular season the two sides met a total of eight times with the Thunderbirds winning four of the meetings, including one in overtime, while North Bay picked up a pair of victories, with two games ending in ties.
The Trappers were 2-1-1 on home ice against the T-Birds who were 3-0-1 at Essar Centre vs. North Bay.
The Soo outscored North Bay 31-25 in the eight get togethers.
The leading point producer for the Trappers vs. the Thunderbirds was Brandon Janke who picked up seven on a pair of goals and five assists.
Brennen Dubchak was next with three tallies and as many helpers for six points.
Adam Ritchie put up some solid numbers for the Sault against the Trappers amassing 11 overall, including a half dozen markers.
Next in offensive production for the club was Greg Sartoretto with eight points on two goals and six assists while Darcy Casola had seven points as he found the back of the net four times and set-up three others.
North Bay netminder Greg Dodds had a 1-2-1 record against the T-Birds with Dustin Hummel going 1-1.
As for Sault Ste. Marie, Joel Horodziejczyk had a 3-1 mark against the Trappers while Steven Dombrowski went 1-1.
Special teams saw the Soo score nine times on the power play compared to eight notched by North Bay.
The lone shorthanded tally was supplied by the T-Birds.
DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: As North Bay is also the host team for this year’s Dudley-Hewitt Cup, the Thunderbirds gain an automatic berth in the event as well as the second NOJHL representative club. Joining them will be the champions of the OJHL and SIJHL.
In the OJHL final, the Newmarket Hurricanes are up 2-0 on the St. Michael’s Buzzers after winning 1-0 at St. Mike’s in the opener Wednesday as well as 4-3 in overtime at home last night. Game 3 goes Saturday back in Toronto at 7:30 p.m.
As for the SIJHL, their best-of-seven final gets underway tonight in Cloquet, Minn., as the No. 1 seed Minnesota Wilderness host the No. 2 Fort Frances Lakers at 7:30 p.m. CT.
NORTH BAY NOTES: Brennen Dubchak leads the Trappers offensively in the postseason with six points on four goals and two assists. … First team all-star and NOJHL scholastic player of the year Tait Seguin is next with four points, all assists. … Five other skaters all have three points apiece. … Netmidner Greg Dodds is second in playoff goals-against average at 1.79 and third in save percentage at .931. Dodds also scored a goal vs. Kirkland Lake in semifinal action firing the puck down the length of the ice into an empty in the late stages of a game 4 road triumph. …North Bay has home ice for games one, three and, if necessary, five and seven in the final. … The Trappers have allowed a league-low 1.8 goals against in the playoffs.
T-BIRDS TIDBITS: Brandon Warmington tops the team in points with 15, including a league-high 10 tallies. … Gavin Burbach and Derek Battagin are next on the squad with 11 points while Darcy Casola and Dallas McLaughlin have 10. …Steven Dombrowski is a nifty 5-0 in the playoffs so far and sports an average of 2.40 along with a 9.32 save mark. … NOJHL rookie of the year Joel Horodziejczyk is a perfect 3-0 in the playoff to date and tops all netminders in playoff goals-against average and save percentage at 1.00 and .972 respectively. He also has one shutout. … Sault Ste. Marie will have home ice at Essar Centre for games two and four of the series. They will also be home for game six if needed, which would be played at John Rhodes Arena because Essar Centre will be hosting the 40th annual TELUS Cup national midget championship April 21-28. … Winners of 10 in a row, the T-Birds have not lost a playoff game since game three of last year’s final in North Bay.
Past NOJHL Playoff Champions
2011-12 Soo Thunderbirds
2010-11 Soo Eagles
2009-10 Abitibi Eskimos
2008-09 Soo Thunderbirds
2007-08 Sudbury Kal Tire Jr. Wolves
2006-07 Soo Indians
2005-06 Sudbury Northern Wolves
2004-05 North Bay Skyhawks
2003-04 North Bay Skyhawks
2002-03 North Bay Skyhawks
2001-02 Rayside Balfour Sabrecats
2000-01 Rayside Balfour Sabrecats
1999-2000 Rayside Balfour Sabrecats
1998-99 Rayside Balfour Sabrecats
1997-98 Rayside Balfour Sabrecats
1996-97 Rayside Balfour Sabrecats
1995-96 Rayside Balfour Sabrecats
1994-95 Timmins Golden Bears
1993-94 Powassan Hawks
1992-93 Powassan Hawks
1991-92 Powassan Hawks
1990-91 Sudbury Cubs
1989-90 Sudbury Cubs
1988-89 Sudbury Cubs
1987-88 Sudbury Cubs
1986-87 Nickel Centre Power Trains
1985-86 Onaping Falls Huskies
1984-85 Sudbury Cubs
1983-84 Rayside Balfour Canadians
1982-83 Onaping Falls Huskies
1981-82 Onaping Falls Huskies
1980-81 Onaping Falls Huskies
1979-80 Onaping Falls Huskies
1978-79 Nickel Centre Native Sons
1977-78 No League
1976-77 No League
1975-76 No League
1974-75 No League
1973-74 No League
1972-73 No League
1971-72 Soo Greyhounds
1970-71 Sudbury Wolves
1969-70 Soo Greyhounds
1968-69 Sudbury Wolves
1967-68 North Bay Trappers
1966-67 Soo Greyhounds
1965-66 North Bay Trappers
1964-65 Garson-Falconbridge Native Sons
1963-64 North Bay Trappers
1962-63 Espanola Eagles