Through 41 games among the nine Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League teams that have been active thus far in the 2020-2021 regular season, no less 21 goalies have stood between the pipes.
And in a league that features so many good goalies, following is a Hockey News North look at six of the top twine tenders in the NOJHL through the early going of this season.
Our sweet six stoppers are listed in alphabetical order.
David Bowen, Rayside Balfour Canadians. The 2000 birth year puck stopper, who has prior experience with both the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League and the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League, does not have the flashy numbers that he posted with Rayside Balfour over parts of the past two NOJHL seasons. But Bowen’s 2-4-1 record, 3.81 goals against average and .887 save percentage look a lot better when one takes note of the fact that Rayside Balfour, with a 3-6-1 mark thus far this season, has played all 10 of its games against the NOJHL’s two division leaders, the Timmins Rock and Blind River Beavers.
Alex Bugeja, Soo Thunderbirds. Hailing from western Canada, Bugeja has shown to be an exceptional off season acquisition by Thunderbirds general manager Trev Zachary from the Fort Frances Lakers of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League. The 2001 birth year back stop has a 3-1-1 record, 2.42 goals against average and .938 save percentage and has earned extensive praise from Thunderbirds head coach Denny Lambert for games that he has stolen for the Soo.
Gavin Disano, Blind River Beavers. A young rookie with a 2003 birth date, the Sault Ste. Marie product has been a solid stopper on the Beaver dam with a 3-0-0 record, 3.56 goals against average and .908 save percentage.
Ty Masternak, Timmins Rock. The 2000 birth year tender is winding down his splendid NOJHL career in spectacular style with a 7-1-0 record, 1.48 goals against average and .938 save percentage thus far this season.
Liam Oxner, Hearst Lumberjacks. A 4-2-0 record with a 2.82 goals against average and .910 save percentage says a lot about the holdover goalie with the 2001 birth date.
Owen Willis, Espanola Express. An OHL draft pick of the London Knights, the 1-3-1 record and 4.78 goals against average do not tell the story of the net worth that Willis has been to the Express. Rather, the tell tale numbers on the lanky goalie with a 2002 birth date show a very good .909 save percentage while being literally lambasted with 252 shots on goal in 264 minutes of play in the Espanola cage.