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NOJHL Notebook: Five NOJHLers invited to Canada East selection camp

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013
 
NOJHL Notebook: Five NOJHLers invited to Canada East selection camp

SUDBURY – The Canadian Junior Hockey League and Hockey Canada announced Wednesday that five Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League players have been invited to attend the upcoming Canada East selection camp, which is scheduled for Oct. 27-30 at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville, Ont.

There are a total 66 players invited to take part where the participants will be divided into four teams – Black, Gold, Red and White – and will play six intrasquad games, in addition to daily practices.

Among those representing the NOJHL will be Soo Thunderbirds goaltender Joel Horodziejczyk, Sudbury Nickel Barons defencemen Bradley Bell and Jonathon Lavigne along with Kirkland Lake Gold Miners forward Steven Babin and Espanola Rivermen forward Cray Roberge.

After being named NOJHL rookie of the year last season, Horodziejczyk has continued on where he left off a year ago.

He has gone 7-2 to date with a stingy 1.89 goals-against average along with a solid .923 save percentage while also leading all netminders in the league in shutouts with two.

Bell and Lavigne have helped bolster the defensive corps for the Nickel Barons and have also chipped in offensively with seven and five points respectively.

As for Babin he has been an offensive force for Kirkland Lake as he leads the Gold Miners and sits tied for second overall in total points in the league with 22. His 18 assists also lead all NOJHL skaters.

Meanwhile Roberge recently joined the Espanola organization having picked up six points in eight outings. He also had 12 goals and 18 points with the Blind River Beavers is 2012-13.

Of note Kirkland Lake head coach and general manager Marc Lafleur will serve as an assistant coach and video coach of the Canada East squad.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for each of those chosen to represent the NOJHL in what is sure to be a highly skilled event,” stated NOJHL Commissioner Robert Mazzuca.

“We expect the five players from our league to showcase their skill level at a quality pace and we’re sure their efforts are sure to be noticed by the entire Canada East coaching staff, including NOJHL coach of the year Marc Lafleur,” added Mazzuca.

The week-long event will help formulate the Canada East roster that will compete in next month’s World Jr. A Challenge, which goes Nov. 4-10 in Yarmouth, N.S.

This five-nation tournament features both Canada East and Canada West competing against teams from Russia, Switzerland, Czech Republic and the U.S.

Click here to visit the link to the Canada East selection camp roster

GAME TIME: Another busy week in the NOJHL features a total of nine contests on the slate with game action getting underway tonight at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff as the Sudbury Nickel Barons entertain the Blind River Beavers.

Thursday’s lone match-up has Elliot Lake’s Centennial Arena serving as the venue as the hometown Bobcats takes on the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners at 7:30 p.m.

Three more tilts go Friday with Blind River in Sault Ste. Marie, Kirkland Lake at Espanola and Sudbury visiting Elliot Lake with face-off in each outing set for 7:30 p.m.

A trio of games are also on the docket Saturday as Blind River entertains Espanola, North Bay heads to Iroquois Falls to tangle with Abitibi while a highly anticipated match-up has league-leading Sault Ste. Marie squaring off against second place Kirkland Lake at Essar Centre. All three of these affairs also begin at 7:30 p.m.

Weekly play will then conclude Sunday as the Thunderbirds host the Rivermen in a 3 p.m. matinee.

STREAKS: A number of team and individual streaks remain intact heading into game play this week.

First place Sault Ste. Marie continues to soar as the T-Birds have reeled off seven consecutive victories and have also won 11 of the past 12.

Kirkland Lake has also been solid skating to five straight triumphs as part of their 10-1 overall record.

Helping the Gold Miners keep their streak going has been forward Everett Thompson who is currently riding a five-game point streak amassing six goals and five assists in that span.

Between the pipes first year netminders Kenny Fitzgerald (Gold Miners) and Brian Kment (Thunderbirds) have both won consecutive starts to commence the season.

CJHL TOP 20: An unbeaten week by the Soo Thunderbirds and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners among the elite in the latest Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings announced Tuesday.

Winners of seven straight games helped Sault Ste. Marie move up one notch to eighth overall in the CJHL while the Gold Miners maintained their hold on 11th in the listing after they skated to a pair of victories.

The Thunderbirds currently sit in top spot in the NOJHL with 24 points on a 12-2 overall record. They are four points clear of second place Kirkland Lake. The 10-1 Gold Miners do however hold three games in hand on the T-Birds.

The following is the CJHL top 20, which are ranked each week in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.

They are listed in order by team name the league they play in and where they were listed last week.

CJHL TOP 20

1.    Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (1)
2.    Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (3)
3.    Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (5)
4.    Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (10)
5.    Powell River Kings (BCHL) (4)
6.    Les Cougars de Sherbrooke (LHJAAAQ) (7)
7.    La Ronge Ice Wolves (SJHL) (2)
8.    Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (9)
9.    Wellington Dukes (OJHL) (8)
10.   Kindersley Klippers (SJHL) (6)
11.   Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (11)
12.   Penticton Vees (BCHL) (16)
13.   Langley Rivermen (BCHL) (HM)
14.   Titan de Princeville (LHJAAAQ) (HM)
15.   Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) (17)
16.   Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) (NR)
17.   Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) (11)
18.   Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners (MHL) (14)
19.   Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL) (NR)
20.   Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL) (19)
 
Honourable Mention: West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL), Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL), Selkirk Steelers (MJHL), Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL), Hamilton Red Wings (OJHL)

ABOUT THE RANKINGS

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.

NOJHL 3 STARS: The latest NOJHL 3 Stars of the week announced Monday saw Soo Thunderbirds goaltender Joel Horodziejczyk, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners defenceman Ryan Schrer along with Soo Thunderbirds blueliner Owen Headrick all garnering recognition.

JOEL HORODZIEJCZYK, (G) SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds netminder was recognized for a second straight time for his stellar efforts in the Sault Ste. Marie net.

In two starts during the week that was Horodziejczyk won both of them, allowing only one goal against in 120 minutes of work.

The 18-year-old Sudbury native began by stopping all 20 shots he faced as he blanked Espanola 1-0 on the road as he handed the Rivermen their first shutout against in team history.

It also marked the initial time that franchise did not score a goal in a regular season game dating back to Sept. 24, 2011, when they were still located in North Bay. That contest was a 3-0 setback in Sault Ste. Marie.

Less than 24 hours later Horodziejczyk was solid once again as he turned away 23 of 24 attempts fired his way in a 5-1 triumph over visiting Abitibi.

That goal against did not happen until the 11:35 mark of the third period, which ended an impressive goal less streak of 200 minutes and 32 seconds the Thunderbirds netminder had on the go.

Last season’s NOJHL rookie of the year has won his last four appearances allowing only a couple of markers against and now leads all goalkeepers in the league in shutouts with two.

RYAN SCHERER, (D) KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – Recent returnee Scherer was solid on both ends of the ice helping the Gold Miners’ defensive corps hold the opposition to just goals against in a pair of Kirkland Lake victories while also chipping in offensively with three points of his own.

The 20-year-old defenceman from the Illinois community of Elgin started his week by picking up an assist this past Wednesday in a 5-2 road victory at Sudbury.

Scherer then capped things off two nights later by adding a pair of helpers, including setting up the game-winner, in a 2-1 double overtime win over the North Bay Trappers.

OWEN HEADRICK, (D) SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Aiding his club’s current seven-game winning streak, the 16-year-old rookie D-Man, who hails from Garden River, Ont., had points in all three games the Thunderbirds played last week while also helping Sault Ste. Marie allow only a trio of goals against.

The Erie Otters 2013 Ontario Hockey League draft pick began his efforts last week by connecting for a power play marker Friday in a 6-2 victory at Elliot Lake.

Saturday night he struck again with the man advantage blasting home the only goal of the game in a narrow 1-0 road triumph over Espanola then concluded his efforts with an assist as the T-Birds topped Abitibi 5-1 Sunday.

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’s lone contest this week is Saturday as they host North Bay in a 7:30 p.m. start at Jus Jordan Arena. …  The club is tied for fourth in the NOJHL standings with a 5-5-0-2 record. … Brady Clouthier tops the team offensively with 13 points in 12 games. His seven tallies also pace the Eskimos. … Ryan Wildman is next on the squad with 12 points. … Erik Robichaud has eight points in just six games since joining the club. … Goaltender Sylvain Miron has played more minutes and has faced more shots than any goalkeeper in the league.

BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Blind River will look to return to win column tonight as they visit Sudbury. They have come up on the wrong end of the score in seven straight games. … The club’s last victory came back on Sept. 21, a 4-0 triumph over the Nickel Barons. … The Beavers also have contests in Sault Ste. Marie Friday and at home Saturday vs. Espanola. … Team captain Samuel Wilbur continues to produce at over a point-per-game clip with 13 in 12 outings. … Wilbur is tied for second in NOJHL power play markers with three and shorthanded efforts with one. … Tyson MacLeod is second on the squad with 10 points. … Four of Blind River’s next five games will be on the road.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – Two home tilts face the Bobcats this week as they host Kirkland Lake Thursday and then welcome Sudbury to Centennial Arena Friday. … They handed the Gold Miners their only loss of the season so far with a 3-1 result on Sept. 20 on the road. … Brett Wagner continues to lead the way offensively with 16 points in 11 games. That puts him in seventh spot in NOJHL scoring. Wagner shares the league-lead in shorthanded tallies with two. … Dustin Cordeiro is second in team scoring with 11 points in as many games. … Aaron Carmichael is knotted for fifth in the league in assists with nine. … Etienne Roy has faced the fifth most shots among NOJHL netminders at 259. He has played the fifth most minutes at 453:26.

ESPANOLA RIVERMEN – The Rivermen will look to end a season high two-game losing streak Friday when the host Kirkland Lake Friday. The cub also suffered their first shutout in franchise history in their last outing a 1-0 setback against Sault Ste. Marie. … They team is in Blind River Saturday night and Sault Ste. Marie Sunday afternoon. … Espanola has three skaters in the top five in league scoring. Brandon Janke is tied for second overall with 22 points while Brennen Dubchak and Corbin Bean are knotted for fifth in the NOJHL with 19 points. … Dubchak is second in goals with 13 while Bean shares third with 10. … Janke is second in assists with 14. … Forward Cray Roberge will represent the team at the upcoming Canada East selection camp in Oakville. … Netminder Griffin Strain sits second overall in wins with six. He has played the second most minutes in the league at just over 603 and is also second in shots against faced at 315.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – The Gold Miners were tabbed 11th for a second week in a row in the CJHL top 20 rankings. … They lead the NOJHL in winning percentage at .909. … They have allowed the fewest goals in the league at 23. … They trail first place Sault Ste. Marie by four points in the standings, but hold three games in hand. … Kirkland Lake has won five straight and 10 of 11 to begin the year. … Three road games are in store for the Miners this week. They are in Elliot Lake Thursday, Espanola Friday and Sault Ste. Marie Saturday. … Steven Babin’s 22 points leads the team and ties him for second most in the league. He leads the NOJHL in assists with 18… Babin was one of five NOJHLers named to the Canada East selection camp. … Defenseman Jeremy Picard-Fiset is fourth in assists with 10. The Miners are 8-0 to date in games he registers at least one point. … Netminder Kenny Fitzgerald is second in the league in goals-against average at 1.76 and third in save percentage at .917.

NORTH BAY TRAPPERS – The Trappers have gone winless in three straight. … North Bay’s game of the week is on the road vs. Abitibi Saturday. They finish off a home-and-home with the Eskimos Monday at West Ferris Arena. … The Trappers are sixth in the league standings with 11 points. … Jake Staples remains a point-per-game player with 15 in as many outings to lead the team offensively. … Ryan Demyen is next with 13 points. His four power play tallies lead the NOJHL while his none overall efforts top the club. … Rookie netminder Evan Cormier is fourth in the league in save percentage at .915 among those who have seen at least 100 minutes of game action. … Cormier has faced the fourth most shots against at 295. … Dustin Hummel meanwhile has faced the third most attempts against so far this season at 307 while playing the fourth most minutes at 467:54.
 
SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Red hot Sault Ste. Marie has won seven straight contests and 11 of their past 12. … The Thunderbirds sit in first place in the NOJHL standings with a 12-2 record. … They were tabbed eighth in the latest CJHL top 20 rankings this week. … Their dozen wins are the most of any team in the league. … The Sault is 6-0 on Essar Centre ice this season. … They have three more home contests this week as they host Blind River Friday, Kirkland Lake Saturday and Espanola Sunday, in a 3 p.m. matinee. … The Thunderbirds are 11-0 in games so far this season when Anthony Miller records at least one point. … Gavin Burbach leads the team and the entire NOJHL in scoring with 23 points. His 14 tallies also top the league. … Anthony Miller is third in assists with 12. He is also tied for the league-lead in game-winning goals with four. … Joel Horodziejczyk will represent the Thunderbirds and the league at the Canada East selection camp in Oakville at the end of the month. He is third in goals-against average at 1.89 and first in save percentage at .923 among stoppers that have played at least 100 minutes.

SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS – The Nickel Barons have two games on tap this week. They host Blind River tonight and the club is in Elliot Lake Friday. … Four of their next five contests will be on home. … Sudbury is tied for seventh in the league standings with Blind River. … Nickel Barons defencemen Bradley Bell and Jonathon Lavigne will both attend the Canada East selection camp in Oakville at the end of the month. … Ryan Punkari leads the team in scoring with 11 points. … August Jarecki is next with nine points while Brody Brunet sits third with eight. … Sudbury is the only team in the league to date with only one double digit point producer. …The Nickel Barons have a 19.2 % success rate on the power play, which is the fourth best mark in the league.

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