NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
NOJHL Game Night (Jan. 15-18)
SUDBURY – A total of seven games are on the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League docket this week.
Here is a breakdown of each contest, which all feature 7:30 p.m. starts
ELLIOT LAKE @ SUDBURY 7:30 P.M.: Marks the sixth meeting of the season tonight with four of the first five needing overtime to determine a winner.
Each side has won twice in extra time while the Bobcats also prevailed by a 5-1 score in the other match-up.
WHO TO WATCH: For Elliot Lake no one is hotter than Brett Wagner.
Currently riding a 15-game point streak, Wagner also has tallies in four straight outings and leads all NOJHL skaters in goals with 32. He is also knotted for third in league scoring, is tops in shorthanded markers with seven and tied for second in game-winners with six.
For Sudbury, the team as a whole is starting to come together under new head coach Jason Young as well as seeing their injury-riddled line-up returning to the ice. They have won back-to-back game for the first time since mid-September.
Goaltender Michael Muzyka, in each of his last five starts, has allowed the Nickel Barons to pick-up eight of a possible 10 points.
BLIND RIVER @ KIRKLAND LAKE 7:30 P.M.: The season series to date has been once-sided in favour of the Gold Miners as they have won the first five get togethers outscoring the Beavers 34-9 in the process.
WHO TO WATCH: Kirkland Lake netminder Kenny Fitzgerald has a 5-0 record in his past half dozen appearances.
In that span he has only allowed nine goals registering a nifty 1.59 goals-against average along with a solid .933 save percentage.
While it has been tough sledding for the Beavers for most of the season defenceman Scott Marshall has been having a decent 2013-14 campaign.
The 19-year-old Blind River product leads all blueliners on the squad in points with 22. That also ranks him second on the team as a whole in offensive production.
NORTH BAY @ ABITIBI 7:30 P.M.: This contest will be a neutral site affair held at McIntyre Arena in Timmins.
This will be just the fourth meeting of the season between the two sides with the Eskimos taking two of the first three.
WHO TO WATCH: For Abitibi, goaltender Brody Wagner is coming off a week where he won all three of his starts helping his club make a charge towards third place in the NOJHL standings while earning a place in the weekly three star awards.
Among his efforts was posting his first shutout in the league against Kirkland Lake as well as an incredible 60-save performance in a double overtime triumph over Elliot Lake.
On the North Bay side of the ledger the special teams’ prowess of Ryan Demyen has allowed the Trappers to remain competitive on most nights.
He leads all shooters in the league in power play goals with 11.
SUDBURY @ SOO 7:30 P.M.: Sault Ste. Marie is 5-0 vs. Sudbury to date having already secured the eight-game season set between the two rivals.
WHO TO WATCH: All eyes will be on the entire Thunderbirds squad as they are red-hot having won 17 games in a row.
The No. 3 ranked side in the 128-team Canadian Junior Hockey League has also yet to lose on Essar Centre ice this season.
Netminder Joel Horodziejczyk is also rolling having won his last 19 starts while topping all NOJHL stoppers in goals-against-average and save percentage at 1.62 and .938 respectively.
Offensively for Sudbury August Jarecki is coming off a two-goal performance in a win over North Bay at the Showcase in Espanola over the weekend as currently leads the Nickel Barons in scoring with 28 points in 29 games.
BLIND RIVER @ ABITIBI 7:30 P.M.: The Eskimos will look to build on the success they’ve had over the Beavers so far this season having won each of the first six meetings between the two teams.
WHO TO WATCH: Offensively Ryan Tront picked up points in all four games he played in last week helping the Eskis go 3-1. In that time frame he scored once and dished out seven assists, including setting up a pair of game-winning tallies.
Tyson MacLeod has led Blind River entering play this week with a team-high 13 goals along with 28 total points, which also paces the squad.
ESPANOLA @ ELLIOT LAKE 7:30 P.M.: The Rivermen have held the edge in the first four outings between the two sides to date winning three times against just one defeat.
WHO TO WATCH: There will be plenty of attention paid to Espanola’s Brennen Dubchak.
The veteran forward leads the NOJHL in scoring with 62 points and is presently riding a successful 19-game point streak having not been held off the scoresheet since back on Oct. 25 vs. North Bay.
Bobcats’ defenceman Bryan McFarlane leads all rearguards on the Elliot Lake roster in points with 21. Of the seven goals he has scored, four have come on the power play.
NORTH BAY @ KIRKLAND LAKE 7:30 P.M.: The Gold Miners will look to make it seventh straight victories over the Trappers this season as the two sides tangle at The Joe.
WHO TO WATCH: Kirkland Lake forward Steven Babin continues to top the team offensively with 58 points. That ties him for third in league scoring and he also leads all NOJHL players in assists with 39.
Rookie netminder Evan Cormier sits fifth in the NOJHL in save percentage at .912 while playing the third-most minutes (1,230:16) and facing the second-most shots. (808)