Early going in the NOJHL

Randy Russon
September 25, 2018

We go here and there through the first three weeks of the 2018-2019 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League regular season.


Powassan Voodoos (7-0-1, 15 points.) Third year forward Cade Herd is scoring at a goal-per-game clip with eight tallies in eight outings. Between the pipes, 2002 birth year rookie Joe Vrbetic, a second round pick of the North Bay Battalion at the 2018 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft, has a 4-0-0 record to go with a 2.70 goals against average and sparkling .941 save percentage.

Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (4-1-0, 8 points.) Rookie goalie Gregory Brassard has been a find for coach Ryan Wood’s Gold Miners. Brassard has a 4-0-0 record, 1.50 goals against average and .941 save percentage.

Hearst Lumberjacks (3-3-0, 6 points.) New goalie Nick Tallarico has been in net for all three Hearst victories. He has a 3-1-0 record, 2.66 goals against average and .918 save percentage. Goal-tending was the downfall for coach Marc Lafleur’s Lumberjacks in 2017-2018 but Tallarico has been an upside thus far in 2018-2019.

Timmins Rock (2-2-1, 5 points.) Local product Derek Seguin has four goals in five games and has been a solid as a Rock forward for second-year coach Corey Beer.

Cochrane Crunch (2-4-0, 4 points.) The good news is that Cochrane has allowed only 17 goals in six games. The bad news is that the perennially high-scoring Crunch has tallied only 14 times.

French River Rapids (1-5-1, 3 points.) Rookie goalie Kevin Donaghey has stood tall in the Rapids net with a 1-2-0 record, 2.72 goals against average and .920 save percentage.


Soo Thunderbirds (5-0-0, 10 points.) Second year bench boss John Parco has the T-Birds off to a flying start. And veteran junior forward Lucas Theriault is soaring with 10 points, including five goals, in five games.

Blind River Beavers (4-3-0, 8 points.) The Beavers dropped a home-and-home set with the Soo Eagles on the weekend which might have Blind River coach Kyle Brick feeling a tad grouchy. 2002 birth year rookie Justin Mauro, an OHL draft pick of the Erie Otters, has 10 points in seven games for the Beavers.

Soo Eagles (4-4-0, 8 points.) The American Eagles have played six of eight games on the road to start the season. Rookie forward Caleb Wood, who hails from Soo, Ontario, has seven goals in eight games for the Michigan-based Eagles.

Rayside Balfour Canadians (3-2-1, 7 points.) Fearsome forward Evan Krassey has three goals in only four games for the Canadians. Goalie David Bowen, an OHL draft pick of the Sudbury Wolves, has been in net for two of the Rayside victories.

Elliot Lake Wildcats (2-5-0, 4 points.) After scoring only three goals in 47 games for the Wildcats last season, forward Connor Taylor has already found the back of the net five times in seven outings this season.

Espanola Express (1-5-0, 2 points.) 2002 birth year rookie Chase Lammi has four goals in six games to lead the Express.

PHOTO: Forward Evan Krassey of the Rayside Balfour Canadians gets into position in front of Timmins Rock goalie Nicholas Dicks in recent NOJHL action. (Photo by Timmins Daily Press.)

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