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NOJHL Notebook: All eight teams in action Saturday to highlight week 9 play

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013
 
NOJHL Notebook: All eight teams in action Saturday to highlight week 9 play

SUDBURY – Week No. 9 in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League will include four games on Saturday night where for the first time this season all eight member clubs will be in action.

Weekly competition gets underway tonight as play in October winds down with the North Bay Trappers heading to Sudbury to take on the Nickel Barons in a 7:30 p.m. start at McClelland Arena.

A trio of tilts Friday will then kick off November as Espanola hosts Abitibi, North Bay travels to Elliot Lake and Sault Ste. Marie entertains Sudbury with all three games getting underway at 7:30 p.m.

As mentioned, Saturday will be the busiest night of the 2013-14 NOJHL campaign with each team in the league taking to the ice.

It begins with the Trappers squaring off against Kirkland Lake at West Ferris Arena at 7 p.m. followed by three 7:30 p.m. face-offs with the Thunderbirds at home to Espanola, the Eskimos visiting Centennial Arena in Elliot Lake to take on the Bobcats and the Blind River Beavers welcoming Sudbury.

CJHL TOP 20: The surging Soo Thunderbirds and their torrid play of late continues to earn them recognition at the national level.

The latest Canadian Junior Hockey League top 20 rankings released this week saw the NOJHL leaders maintain their hold on fourth spot overall in the listings compiled in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.

Despite having an 11-game winning streak snapped in overtime Sunday by Espanola, the Thunderbirds picked up a point in that contest allowing them to record 23 out of a possible 24 points during their torrid run.

Meanwhile the second place Kirkland Lake Gold Miners earned honourable mention status in this week’s rankings.

Holding down the No. 1 ranking once again were the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons.

The two clubs ahead of Sault Ste. Marie in this week’s listings were the Powell River Kings (BCHL), Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) tabbed second and third respectively.

CJHL TOP 20

RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) (LAST WEEK)
1.  Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (1)
2.  Powell River Kings (BCHL) (7)
3.  Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (2)
4.  Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (4)
5.  Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (6)
6.  Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (5)
7.  Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (14)
8.  Kindersley Klippers (SJHL) (3)
9.  Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL) (18)
10. West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL) (13)
11. Wellington Dukes (OJHL) (9)
12. Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) (12)
13. Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (15)
14. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (8)
15. Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) (17)
16. Yorkton Terriers (SJHL) (20)
17. Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) (NR)
18. Melville Millionaires (SJHL) (NR)          
19. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (NR)
20. Titan de Princeville (LHJAAAQ) (11)

Honourable Mention: Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL), Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL), Okotoks Oilers (AJHL), Selkirk Steelers (MJHL), Nepean Raiders (CCHL).

ABOUT THE CJHL TOP 20

The CJHL Top 20 weekly rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the team plays, winning percentage, win-loss record, total points accumulated, goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc.

ABOUT THE CJHL

The Canadian Junior Hockey League is a national organization comprised of all 10 Junior A hockey leagues in Canada.

The CJHL represents 128 teams and over 2,500 players and has over 2,800 alumni furthering their hockey careers at the professional, major junior and college level across North America.

For latest CJHL news and features, visit www.cjhlhockey.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/cjhlhockey or @cjhlhockey.

NOJHL 3 STARS: The latest NOJHL “3 Stars” of the week saw Abitibi Eskimos forward Erik Robichaud, North Bay Trappers netminder Dustin Hummel and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners forward Steven Babin all garner recognition for their respective on-ice achievements.

ERIK ROBICHAUD, (F) ABITIBI ESKIMOS – It was an impressive week that was for Robichaud as he was an offensive force racking up seven goals, including back-to-back hat-tricks, along with five assists in four outings.

The 20-year-old Timmins product began doling out a pair of assists in a setback at North Bay last Monday and then notched a marker in a road loss at Sudbury Wednesday.

Three nights later Robichaud figured in four of the five tallies the Eskimos netted featuring a natural hat-trick and setting-up another in a 5-4 overtime triumph over visiting Elliot Lake at Jus Jordan Arena.

He then took it a step further Sunday afternoon by picking up a point on all five markers Abitibi scored by supplying another three-goal effort along with a pair of assists in a 5-1 win over Blind River.

Robichaud is currently riding a five-game point streak and has etched his name on the score sheet in nine of his past 10 outings to move into second spot in team scoring with 21 total points in just 11 games, which also knots him for eighth in league offensive production.

His 1.91 point-per-game average is currently the best mark in the entire NOJHL.

DUSTIN HUMMEL, (G) NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – For Hummel, his time on the ice last week was memorable as he came away victorious in both of his starts and contributed offensively as well by being credited with a goal in one of those games.

Victory No. 1 came Oct. 21 as he made 35 saves in a 9-3 triumph over Abitibi on West Ferris Arena ice.

On Friday the 19-year-old North Bay native then turned aside another 21 shots and was also given credit with an empty net goal as the Trappers topped Espanola 5-3 to earn the club’s third road victory of the season.

It was the second goal in as many campaigns by a North Bay netminder as the 2013 postseason saw Hummel’s goaltending partner, Greg Dodds, score into an empty net in a playoff victory over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.

Hummel, who sits third in minutes played in the league at just under 628, has faced the second-most shots at 390.
 
STEVEN BABIN, (F) KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – In the two games last week Babin, who hails from Val d’Or, Que., played a part in both of them helping the Gold Miners skate to a pair of triumphs.

Friday evening vs. Elliot Lake he assisted on a second period power play goal then buried the game-winner in the final frame as Kirkland Lake edged the Bobcats 3-2.

The next night the Gold Miners forward got into the act once again adding another tally and setting up another is a 5-4 victory over Blind River.

Entering play this week Babin, 19, sits second in NOJHL scoring with 29 points that includes a league-best 21 assists.

He also ranks second in overall point-per-game average at 1.81.

ONLINE ACTION: Each and every NOJHL game this season is available online on a pay-per-view basis via FASTHockey.

Fans can view the games through the FASTHockey link on the league website at www.nojhl.com.

NOJHL SHOWCASE: The NOJHL is slated to host a league Showcase Weekend Jan. 10-11 in Espanola.

A total of four league regular season games, which will count in the NOJHL standings, will be played at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.

The goal is to further showcase the players of the NOJHL in one location to further assist NCAA, CIS, CHL and NHL scouts allowing them access to all league members clubs in one venue.

NOJHL SHOWCASE GAMES

Friday, Jan. 10
Elliot Lake vs. Espanola 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 12
Kirkland Lake vs. Blind River 1:30 p.m.
Abitibi vs. Soo 4:15 p.m.
Sudbury vs. North Bay 7:15 p.m.

CENTRAL CANADA CUP: Over the Christmas break the NOJHL will be sending an all-star team that will compete in the Central Canada Cup Challenge Dec. 27-29 in Terrebonne, Que.

There the NOJHLers will go up against similar all-star squads from the Maritime, Quebec, Central Canada and Ontario Jr. Hockey Leagues.

This marks the second time in three years the league will take part in the event.

DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP: The NOJHL champion will move on to represent the league at the 2014 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A Championship.

That four-team event will be hosted by the OJHL’s Wellington Dukes and will run April 29 – May 3 at the Essroc Arena in the Wellington and District Community Centre.

ROYAL BANK CUP: The DHC title holder will then move on to represent the region at the 2014 RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship with that tournament being hosted by the BCHL’s Vernon Lakers May 10-18 in Vernon, B.C.

TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES

ABITIBI ESKIMOS – The club enters play this week fourth in the NOJHL standings with an 8-7-0-2 overall record. … Winners of two straight the Eskimos will look to extend their streak with road games in Espanola and Elliot Lake Friday and Saturday. … Brady Clouthier has a five-game point streak on the go and points in 11 of his past 12 to maintain the team scoring lead with 25 points, including a team-best 12 tallies. He sits fifth in NOJHL offensive production. … Erik Robichaud has been even hotter of late racking 12 points alone just last week in four games. He also tops the league in point-per-game average at 1.91 moving up into a tie for eighth in NOJHL scoring with 21 points in just 11 games. … Goaltender Sylvain Miron has played more minutes (816:28) and has faced more shots (520) than any goalkeeper in the league.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – The Beavers sit in eighth spot in the league standings with a 4-13 mark. … Blind River has struggled mightily the past month or so picking up only one win in their last dozen games. … Their lone game of the week  goes Saturday as they host Sudbury. … With Samuel Wilbur being dealt to Kirkland Lake Scott Marshall was named the new team captain while Ryan Logan is a new assistant captain. … Tyson MacLeod tops the team offensively with 13 points followed by Tyler Shanush with 10. … Blind River has four games scheduled next week.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – With a 7-6-0-3 record the Bobcats sit fifth in the NOJHL standings. … Elliot Lake will take to Centennial Arena ice twice this weekend as they host North Bay Friday and Abitibi Saturday. … Etienne Roy registered his first NOJHL shutout in his last start, a 2-0 triumph over North Bay Sunday. … He sits fifth in the league in both minutes played (573:26) and shots faced (338). … Brett Wagner continues to lead the team in scoring with 21 points, including a team-high 13 goals. His tally total is the third-best mark in the league and he shares eighth in overall points. Wagner also leads allskaters with three shorthanded markers. … Dustin Cordeiro is second in team scoring with 16 points in as many games.

ESPANOLA RIVERMEN – The team will be without the services of head coach Tom McCarthy Nov. 8-10 as he’ll be coaching Team East at the CJHL Prospects games in Yarmouth, N.S. … Brandon Janke leads all NOJHLers in scoring with 30 points while teammate Corbin Bean is tied for third overall with 27 points. … Brennen Dubchak tops all shooters in goals with 16 and is tied for top spot in power play tallies with five. … Beans is presently pacing the NOJHL in game-winning goals with five. … Espanola sits third overall in the standings with an 11-7 record. … The club is at home to Abitibi Friday before heading to Sault Ste. Marie Saturday. … The Rivermen have nine games scheduled in November, including four on home ice.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – The Gold Miners once again earned honourable mention in the latest CJHL rankings. … The team will be without head coach and general manager Marc Lafleur for the next 10 days or so due to his assistant coaching duties with Canada East at the World Jr. A Challenge Nov. 4-10 in Yarmouth, N.S. … They trail first place Sault Ste. Marie by six points in the standings, but do hold three games in hand.  … Winners of two straight the Gold Miners’ lone contest of the week will be Saturday in North Bay. … Steven Babin continues to pace the squad offensively with 29 points, which also leaves him second overall in NOJHL scoring. … Babin also leads the league in assists with 21. … Mathieu Lecompte is tied for fourth in the league in goals with 12. He is also knotted for third in man advantage markers with four. … Defenseman Jeremy Picard-Fiset is tied for fifth in NOJHL assists with 13. … Netminder Kenny Fitzgerald is third in the NOJHL in goals-against average at 1.95 while Marc Audet is fourth at 2.97. … Fitzgerald sits second in save percentage at .920.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers are 6-10-0-3 so far this season and sit sixth overall in the standings. … North Bay starts a stretch of four games in six nights this evening in Sudbury.  … Ryan Demyen leads the team in both goals and points with 10 and 18 respectively. Demyen is tied for the league lead in power play markers with five. … Rookie netminder Evan Cormier is fifth in the league in goals-against average at 3.18 and third in save percentage at .919 among those who have seen at least 250 minutes of game action. … Cormier has faced the fourth most shots against at 345. … Dustin Hummel meanwhile has faced the second most attempts against so far this season at 390 while playing the third most minutes at 627:54. Hummel has won his last two starts and was also credited with an empty net goal in a victory over Espanola last Friday.
 
SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The surging Thunderbirds have picked up points in 12 straight games accumulating 23 out of a possible 24 points in that span. … The Thunderbirds sit in first place in the NOJHL standings with a 16-2-0-1 record. … They maintained their hold on fourth in the latest CJHL top 20 rankings. … Their 16 wins are the most of any team in the league and they are 9-0 on Essar Centre ice this season. … They’ll look to add to that total this weekend as they host Sudbury Friday and Espanola Saturday. … The Thunderbirds are 13-0 in games so far this season when Anthony Miller records at least one point. … Gavin Burbach leads the team and is tied for third in NOJHL scoring with 27 points. His 14 tallies are the second most scored in the league … Anthony Miller is fourth in assists with 14. He is also second in game-winning goals with four. … The T-Birds duo of Joel Horodziejczyk and Brian Kment are 1-2 in goals-against average in the league at 1.75 and 1.81 respectively. … Horodziejczyk is also tops in save percentage at .932 while Kment is fourth at .911.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – With a 4-10-0-2 record Sudbury sits seventh in the league standings. … The Nickel Barons are fifth in the NOJHL in goals scored with 58 while their 71 against ties them for the second most given up overall. … A three-game week for the club begins tonight as they host North Bay at 7:30 p.m. They then hit the road this weekend with stops in Sault Ste. Marie Friday and Blind River Saturday. … Ryan Punkari is averaging just over a point-per-game with 17 in 16 outings to lead the team in scoring. His eight tallies also pace the Nickel Barons and he currently has a four-game point streak on the go. Punkari also has at least one point in eight of his past nine contests. … August Jarecki is next on the squad with 15 points. … Of Dylan Callaghan’s three goals so far this season, two have been game-winners. … Netminder Michael Muzyka has faced, on average, over 43 shots against in his past five starts for the Nickel Barons.

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