NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
NOJHL Spotlight: McCarthy reflects on league’s success at CJHL Prospects games
SUDBURY – Buoyed by the success of its representatives at the recently staged Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Prospects games in Nova Scotia, the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League can boast their contributions were instrumental in the President’s Cup victory earned by Team East.
Espanola Rivermen head coach Tom McCarthy, who guided Team East behind the bench to a pair of 4-2 triumphs to over their Team West counterparts to take the two-game, total-goal series 8-4, reflected on the experience as well as the accomplishments in being selected by the CJHL to represent the NOJHL.
“Naturally the experience was one to remember,” offered McCarthy as he prepared to lead Espanola into a neutral site contest vs. Abitibi at McIntyre Arena in Timmins this evening.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to be part of such an event that ties in with your country and the game of hockey, it’s an honour,” McCarthy added.
Making the experience even more impactful was the on-ice achievements by the players from the NOJHL that were chosen to be part of Team East.
Sudbury Nickel Barons forward Ryan Punkari, who lead all skaters on both sides in goals with three, tallied twice in the opening victory, which included notching the game-winner before adding another in game No. 2 to send the East on their way to claiming their first President’s Cup title since 2010.
Espanola’s Cray Roberge also contributed offensively dishing out three assists in the two contests to join Punkari as part of the group that topped the table among the leading point producers at the Prospects event.
Helping cap the Team East title was Soo Thunderbirds netminder Joel Horodziejczyk as he turned in a stellar 36-save performance in game No. 2 to show why he is not only one of the top goaltenders in the league, but the entire CJHL as well, as his NOJHL-leading 1.69 goals-against average and stingy .934 save percentage will attest.
Discussing the accomplishments made by the NOJHLers at the CJHL Prospects, McCarthy was extremely pleased that those from the league contributed in a big way.
“The representation from the NOJHL, along with the performances, was very complimentary to the outcome of the East’s success this year.”
One other player from the league, in Sudbury’s Bradley Bell, was also selected to the Team East roster, which were compiled in conjunction with the CJHL and NHL Central Scouting, but was unable to compete due to be being injured.
“The absence of Bradley Bell was missed and only would have made the North’s representation stronger,” stated McCarthy.
“We’re hoping for a speedy recovery for Brad as injury prevented him from participating on Canada East’s team this year.”
Knowing what it takes to win, having posted an 87-42-3-6 overall record in two-plus seasons in the NOJHL that includes a coach of the year award, along with regular season and playoff titles in 2012-13, McCarthy knows that the players, coaches and management staff have the skill set to perform well at the elite level, be it in league play or on the national stage.
“Hockey players come from all places in Canada and yes even the North,” beamed the Rivermen and Team East bench boss, who couldn’t be more thrilled on his team’s accomplishments.
“Great job guys; you made all of us in the NOJHL proud and continued success.”