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NOJHL Notebook: Busy week 12 resumes tonight

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013
 
NOJHL Notebook: Busy week 12 resumes tonight

SUDBURY – A total of 10 games are on the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League docket this week with action having begun Monday in North Bay with the Trappers topping Blind River 4-1.

Weekly action resumes tonight at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff as the Sudbury Nickel Barons entertain the Elliot Lake Bobcats at 7:30 p.m.

Two more 7:30 p.m. tilts go Friday with Elliot Lake at home to Abitibi while Espanola hosts Kirkland Lake.

Saturday sees another trio of 7:30 p.m. starts with the Eskimos paying a visit to the Nickel Barons, the Bobcats at Essar Centre to take on the Thunderbirds while the Gold Miners and Beavers will meet in Blind River.

Rounding out the week will be three Sunday matinees as Blind Rivers is in Espanola at 2 p.m. followed by Kirkland Lake at Sault Ste. Marie at 3 p.m. in a battle between the top two teams in the league standings while Abitibi and North Bay conclude things at 3:30 p.m. at West Ferris Arena.

NOJHL THIS WEEK

Monday
North Bay 4 Blind River 1
Tonight
Elliot Lake @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m.
Friday
Abitibi @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m.
Kirkland Lake @ Espanola 7:30 p.m.
Saturday
Abitibi @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m.
Elliot Lake @ Sault Ste. Marie 7:30 p.m.
Kirkland Lake @ Blind River 7:30 p.m.
Sunday
Blind River @ Espanola 2 p.m.
Kirkland Lake @ Sault Ste. Marie 3 p.m.
Abitibi @ North Bay 3:30 p.m.

CJHL TOP 20: The top two clubs in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League continue to earn recognition in the Canadian Junior Hockey League top 20 rankings.

Both the Soo Thunderbirds and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners cracked the listings once again this week with the Sault Ste. Marie being slotted fifth overall and Kirkland Lake 14th in the 128-team CJHL.

The T-Birds currently hold down top spot in the NOJHL standings with 40 points on a 19-4-0-2 record along with a .800 winning percentage.

As for the 19-2-0-1 Gold Miners, they are currently the hottest team in the league at the moment as they are presently riding a franchise-record eight-game winning streak to move within one point of the Sault in the league table while also holding three contests in hand. Kirkland Lake also sports the best win mark in the NOJHL at .886.

Continuing to top the CJHL rankings are the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League as they come in at No. 1 once again.

Moving up to No. 2 nationally is the Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL), who are 15-0-0-1 in their past 16 outings.

Rounding out the top four are the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) and Powell River Kings (BCHL) in third, fourth respectively.

CJHL TOP 20
RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) LAST WEEK)

1.  Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (1)
2.  Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (3)
3.  Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (4)
4.  Powell River Kings (BCHL) (5)
5.  Soo Thunderbirds (NOHL) (6)
6.  Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) (8)
7.  Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) (7)
8.  Portage Terriers (MJHL) (12)
9.  Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (2)
10. Melville Millionaires (SJHL) (9)
11. Weeks Crushers (MHL) (11)
12. Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL) (10)
13. Selkirk Steelers (MJHL) (16)
14. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (13)
15. Yorkton Terriers (SJHL) (18)
16. Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (15)
17. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (17)   
18. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (NR)
19. Dieppe Commandos (MHL) (NR)
20. Les Titans de Princeville (LHJAAAQ) (20)

Honourable Mention: Vernon Vipers (BCHL), Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL), Kindersley Klippers (SJHL), St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL), Pembroke Lumber Kings (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 NOJHL’s latest “3 Stars ”of the week were Kirkland Lake Gold Miners forward Samuel Wilbur along with goaltender Kenny Fitzgerald and Abitibi Eskimos forward Brady Clouthier.

SAMUEL WILBUR, (F) KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – Wilbur was recognized for playing a part in each of the three victories the surging Gold Miners recorded last week accumulating six points in total.

He began with an assist in a 4-3 triumph at Sudbury on Wednesday, followed that up with another helper in a 3-0 shutout of Elliot Lake Friday and wrapped up his run by tallying twice, including notching the game-winner, and setting up two others helping his club defeat Espanola 6-2 Saturday while extending the team’s franchise-record winning streak to eight games.

In 11 outings since being acquired by the Gold Miners in a deal with Blind River, the 20-year-old native of Saginaw, Mich., has 19 points including getting on the score sheet in eight consecutive games.

His 32 total points in the NOJHL this season currently ranks him seventh overall in the league.

BRADY CLOUTHIER, (F) ABITIBI ESKIMOS – An force all season for the Eskimos, Clouthier continued his offensive prowess helping Abitibi skates to wins in both of their contests during the week that was.

He began by scoring once and assisting on another in a 4-3 neutral site victory over Espanola in Timmins on Friday then went on to bury the game-winner Saturday while setting up another tally to lift the Eskimos to their seventh straight triumph on Jus Jordan Arena ice, a 6-4 decision over Elliot Lake.

In leading Abitibi in offensive production, the 19-year-old forward who hails from Arnprior, Ont., has points in three straight games as well as in 15 of his last 17 contests to move into fifth overall in the NOJHL with 34 points overall.

Clouthier’s five game-winning markers also tie him for the second most in the league.

KENNY FITZGERALD, (G) KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – In two starts last week Fitzgerald won both of them aiding in Kirkland Lake’s latest winning streak.

A 19-year-old native of Port Coquitlam, B.C., Fitzgerald started with a 30-save performance to back stop the Gold Miners to the 4-3 road victory at Sudbury this past Wednesday.

Three nights later he turned aside 23 of 25 attempts he faced in keeping the highest scoring team in the league, the Espanola Rivermen, to just two goals in a 6-2 decision on home ice.

Fitzgerald has won his last five starts and has a 10-2 record in 13 appearances overall while sitting second in the NOJHL in goals-against average at 2.12 and third in save percentage at .917.

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: The NOJHL will compete in Central Canada Cup Challenge showcase event Dec. 27-29 in Terrebonne, Que.

Sudbury Nickel Barons general manager Oscar Clouthier will serve as director of operations for Team NOJHL while Marc Lafleur of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners is the head coach.

Joining Lafleur behind the bench as assistant coaches will be Jordan Smith of the Soo Thunderbirds, Trevor Blanchard of the Sudbury Nickel Barons and Zane Neily of the North Bay Trappers.

Also named to the staff as team trainers are Carla Vine of Kirkland Lake and Sudbury’s Lisa Parise.
 
The 2013 Central Canada Cup Challenge will feature six competing teams, including one from both the NOJHL and the Central Canada Hockey League along with two squads from the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League.

Each of the six participating clubs will play a five-game round robin with the length of games being two 20-minute periods.

After round robin competition the top two squads in the standings will compete in the Central Canada Cup Challenge championship contest on Dec. 29.

The NOJHL player roster for this event will be announced in early December.

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

ABITIBI ESKIMOS – Winners of three straight the Eskimos will look to continue their streak as they hit the road for three games this weekend with stops in Elliot Lake, Sudbury and North Bay Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. … In leading Abitibi in offensive production 19-year-old forward Brady Clouthierwho has points in three straight outings as well as in 15 of his last 17 contests to move into fifth overall in the NOJHL with 34 points overall. Clouthier’s five game-winning markers also tie him for the second most in the league. … Goaltender Sylvain Miron has played the second most minutes (876:28) and has faced the second most shots (554) than any goalkeeper in the league. … Abitibi has won seven games in a row on Jus Jordan Arena ice and eight in succession as the home team, which includes a Nov. 15 victory in Timmins.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – The Beavers continue to struggle having gone winless in their past 11 outings and only have one win to their credit in their last 19 games. … Having begun the week Monday with a 4-1 setback in North Bay Monday, Blind River will look to break out of their slump with contests this weekend as they host Kirkland Lake Saturday before heading to Espanola Sunday afternoon. … Tyson MacLeod’s 17 points leads the team. He also has a modest three-game point streak on the go.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – The Bobcats saw a franchise-best five-game win streak come to an end last week. … The club takes to the ice three times this week starting this evening in Sudbury. They also host Abitibi Friday before heading to Sault Ste. Marie Saturday. … Elliot Lake remains fourth in the NOJHL standings at 11-8-0-3. … Brett Wagner’s 29 points tops the team. He has points in seven of his past eight contests. … Wagner’s 19 tallies put him in a tie for the league lead in that department. He is also tied for the NOJHL lead in shorthanded markers with three. … Netminder Etienne Roy has faced the fourth most shots against in the league to date at 425.

ESPANOLA RIVERMEN – The Rivermen line of Brandon Janke, Corbin Bean and Brennen Dubchak remain among the top scores in the NOJHL.  Bean leads the way with 40 points followed by Dubchak in second with 39 while Janke is knotted for third with 38. Dubchak is also tied for the top spot in goals with 19 while Bean sits third with 18 tallies and Janke share fourth with 17. The trio are also in the top three in assists while Bean paces the NOJHL in game-winning goals with six. … Espanola sits third in the league standings with a 15-10 record and are the only team in the league so far without a loss in overtime. … The Rivermen have a scored a league-high 100 goals to date. … Two home games this week have the squad hosting Kirkland Lake Friday night and Blind River Sunday afternoon. … Eight of Espanola’s next 11 games will be at home.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – Winners of a franchise-record eight consecutive games, Kirkland Lake also boasts the best winning percentage in the NOJHL at .886. They trail first place Sault Ste. Marie by just one points and also hold three games in hand on the Thunderbirds. … The Gold Miners will get a good test this weekend with three road games on the slate. They take on third place Espanola Friday before heading to Blind River Saturday before rounding out play Sunday afternoon in Sault Ste. Marie with a highly anticipated match-up with the T-Birds. … Steven Babin’s 38 points leads the team and ties him for third overall in the NOJHL. His 26 assists are the most of any player in the league. …Mathieu Lecompte’s five power play markers are the third most in the league. He is also tied for second in shorthanded goals with two and knotted for fourth in game-winning tallies with three. … Kenny Fitzgerald sits second in goals-against average (2.12)  and third in save percentage. (.917) … Fitzgerald has also won his past five starts in net.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers have still played the most games of any NOJHL club to date at 26. … North Bay is sixth in the standings with a 9-13-0-4 record. … They kicked off their week with a 4-1 triumph at home Monday vs. Blind River. They’ll wrap-up the week Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. against Abitibi. … Ryan Demyen currently leads all NOJHL skaters in power play goals with seven. Demyen is also pacing the Trappers offensively averaging a point-per-game with 24 in as many outings, including a team-high 14 goals. … Eric Champagne, who sits second on the squad in scoring has points in four of his past five outings. … Dustin Hummel has played more minutes (911:23) and faced more shots (595) than any goaltender in the league. … The Trappers have won three straight on home ice.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds were tabbed fifth in the latest CJHL weekly top 20 rankings. … Sault Ste. Marie, which has not lost on home ice so far this season having gone 11-0 to date and 14-0 dating back to last season, will look to keep that streak intact this week as they host Elliot Lake Saturday evening before entertaining surging Kirkland Lake Sunday afternoon. The T-Birds boast two skaters among the top 10 in NOJHL scoring. Captain Gavin Burbach is sixth in the league with 33 points in just 25 games while Anthony Miller is tied for seventh with 29. … Burbach is knotted for fourth in goals with 17 while Miller is tied for second in game-winning tallies with five. … The club leads the NOJHL in points with 40 and sit second in winning percentage at .800. … Netminder Joel Horodziejczyk leads all goaltenders in both goals-against average and save percentage at 1.64 and .937 respectively while winning his last nine starts in the Soo net. He also leads the way in shutouts with two.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – Sudbury is winless in three straight heading into tonight’s game at home vs. Elliot Lake. They are also at home Saturday to Abitibi. … August Jarecki’s 23 points lead the team. He has a four-game point streak on the go and has seven multi-point nights to his credit. … Ryan Punkari sits second in Sudbury’s line-up with 19 points. … Khadyn Butterfly tops the team in points among defencemen with 15. He is currently on a six-game point streak… Six of Sudbury’s last seven setbacks have been by only one goal. The other was only by two. … With a record of 6-13-0-3 the Nickel Barons sit in seventh place in the NOJHL standings with 15 points. … Sudbury is tied for sixth in the league in goals scored with 76 for a per-game average of 3.5. Last season the club scored the third most markers for in the league at 186 for a per-game average of 3.8.

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