The 2019-2020 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season ended unexpectedly due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the NOJHL’s communications department, along with esteemed league historian David Harrison, have compiled a by-the-numbers look at the season.
0: As in goals allowed during a game. Timmins Rock goalie Tyler Masternak did that eight times during the season to set a new NOJHL single-season record in shutouts.
That eclipsed the previous mark of six that Masternak set last year with the Rock.
1: That’s where Blind River Beavers’ captain Caleb Serre was in nearly every offensive category among all skaters, No. 1.
The NOJHL’s most valuable player was tops in goals (47); assists (66); points (113); power play tallies (17); man advantage helpers (26) and game-winning goals (10).
Overall, Serre played in 210 regular contests during his four-year NOJHL career and collected 269 points on 117 goals while helping set-up 152 others.
2: For the past two years, Tomas Yachmenev of the Powasaan Voodoos earned the league David Harrison Trophy, emblematic of the NOJHL’s Most Gentlemanly Player.
Named in honour of the NOJHL’s long-time statistician and historian, Yachmenev garnered the laurels by finishing fifth in NOJHL scoring this season with 63 points, in only 53 games, while only incurring two minor penalties throughout the entire 2019-20 campaign.
3: The regular season crown Powassan claimed was No. 3 for its trophy case in the Voodoos six years in the league as they also earned the honours in 2016-17 and 2017-18 as well.
Since entering the league back in 2014-15, the Voodoos have won 224 times in 330 outings while picking up at least one point in 25 others.
With that, they boast a solid .717 winning percentage as members of the NOJHL.
Only the Soo Thunderbirds boast a better win mark in the same time frame at .755.
The Thunderbirds also have a trio of regular season titles to their credit in this span while collecting a league-best 238 victories.
4: There were four members from the league that represented the NOJHL at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge in Dawson Creek, B.C., this past December and helped their side win a silver medal at the international event.
Timmins Rock head coach Corey Beer served as the assistant on the Canada East coaching staff while J.J. Johnson of the Voodoos was the equipment manager with forward Nicholas DeGrazia from the Rayside-Balfour Canadians and netminder Owen Say of Powassan playing on the team.
5: This was the number of shorthanded goals that both Hunter Buzzi of the Cochrane Crunch and Tomas Yachmenev of the Powassan Voodoos scored this season to share the league lead in that department.
6: The NOJHL saw players provide six assists in a game twice this season with Caleb Serre doing it for Blind River on Nov. 24 while Powassan’s Seiji Martone accomplished the feat on Jan. 29.
7: No. 7 was where the league-leading Powassan Voodoos were tabbed in the final Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 rankings for 2019-20. The Timmins Rock also cracked the last national listings at No. 15 while the Rayside-Balfour Canadians earned honourable mention.
8: The Soo Eagles posted a NOJHL-best eight victories in extra time this season, winning five times in overtime and earning three more triumphs via the shootout.
9: The league high this season for scoring in consecutive games was nine, provided by Caleb Serre of the Beavers.
He had 12 tallies in that span.
10: Picking up 10 game-winning markers on the year, Blind River’s Caleb Serre led the league in this category and was among the 21 he collected overall in his stellar NOJHL career.
11: This was the number of power play markers Matthew Minichiello of the Cochrane Crunch collected to pace all league rookies.
12: An overall disciplined side saw the Hearst Lumberjacks end up 12th in total penalty minutes on the year with a league-low of 644.
13: Sporting No. 13 on the back of his jersey, Connor Taylor led the Elliot Lake Wildcats in scoring this season with 47 points in 54 games on 18 goals and 29 assists.
14: This was the number worn by Ryan Smith of the French River Rapids, who went on to lead his side in offensive production by averaging a point-per-game with 42 in as many outings on 13 goals and 29 assists.
15: We saw Rayside-Balfour lead the NOJHL in shorthanded goals this season with 15 while Cochrane had a dozen to sit second.
16: This marked the point improvement the Espanola Express had in the league standings this season under NOJHL coach of the year Dave Clancy.
Guiding the Express seven more victories as well, along with a playoff berth for first time since the 2015-2016 seasaon, Clancy’s club has increased its win and point totals in each campaign he has led the squad.
17: The 17 triumphs Espanola posted in 2019-2020 is its most in a single year since returning to the league back in 2015.
18: With 18 assists, David Gobeil of the Hearst Lumberjacks topped all league rookies in man advantage helpers.
19: Another Hearst player, Max Griffioen wore the No. 19 on his sweater. He paced the Lumberjacks in scoring on the year with 57 points, including a team-high 26 tallies and wrapped up his NOJHL career with 180 points to his credit in 165 outings, scoring 76 times and helping set-up 104 others.
20: This marked the number of penalty shots that were awarded during the regular season.
Of those 20 attempts, only four players scored while net-minders thwarted 16 others.
Scoring on their penalty shots where Sam Ellwood, (F) Powassan; Zachary Snow, (D) Rayside-Balfour; Casey Gerstein, (F) Kirkland Lake and Caleb Serre, (F) Blind River.
Both the Voodoos and Canadians had a league-high four opportunities.
21: This was the number of consecutive victories the Voodoos posted at one point during the season, which was a league high.
22: Reaching this number was Connor Van Weelie of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners to lead his club in this category.
23: Rayside-Balfour had the most victories on the year, as the road side, with 23.
24: On 24 occasions this season, goalie Jonathan Lemaire of the Elliot Lake Wildcats made 39, or more, saves in a single game.
This helped him lead all NOJHL netminders in stops during the campaign with 1,559.
25: Powassan boasted the most wins as the home team this season with 25.
26: A club-best 26 goals, including 11 on the power play, aided rookie Matthew Minichiello leading the Cochrane Crunch in goals, with 26, and points with 58.
27: A strong rookie year saw Jacob Kovacs score 27 times to pace the Soo Thunderbirds in goals.
28: Getting 28 tallies this season was Soo Eagles captain Dominic Skrelja, which topped his team, as did his 54 points.
29: This number was worn by Soo Eagles goaltender Shane Brancato. He went on to lead all league goaltenders in minutes played during the 2019-2020 campaign at 2,536.
30: Only twice since 2012-13 have NOJHL goaltenders provide 30 victories of more in a season.
The Voodoos’ Owen Say had 31 this year while former Powassan stopper Nate McDonald had 30 in 2016-2017.
31: This was the total wins Owen Say supplied for Powassan to pace all league netminders.
32: NOJHL rookie of the year Nicholas DeGrazia of Rayside-Balfour tallied 32 times to lead all first-year players.
33: This featured the number of wins the Timmins Rock had when leading after one period of play, which was the highest number in the 12-team loop.
34: The lone goaltender to wear No. 34 in the league this season was David Bowen of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians.
He set personal single-season bests in wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts with 18, 2.65, .924 and two respectively.
35: The 35 points that Devon Savignac of the Beavers and Ty Chambers from the Rapids both led their respective clubs in rookie scoring and tied them for 11th overall among all first-year players.
36: This is the number of assists Mitchell Martin totalled to lead all NOJHL rookies in that category.
37: Eight different players in the league this season picked up 37 or more assists.
38: This was number of goals Parker Bowman scored for Powassan this season to finish second among all league skaters. His club was also 38-0 when leading after 40 minutes.
39: Timmins won 39 times this season when out-shooting its opponents, which was the best in the league in this category as the Rock went 39-10-2.
40: Getting 40 goals in a season has only been reached 10 times since 2013-14, including the 47 Caleb Serre notched this year.
Cody Gratton had the most in that span as he connected 52 times for Cochrane back in 2014-15 while Logan Fredericks lit the lamp on 51 occasions with Kirkland Lake in 2015-16, the same year Hunter Atchison bagged 50 for the Crunch.
41: Leading the league in scoring first in games on the year was Powassan.
They accomplished that feat 41 times, which was the highest of any club as was the 35 wins they secured when picking up the opening tally in a contest.
42: After joining the Soo Eagles in mid-October, Joel Brandinger played at a point-per-game clip for the Michigan side with 42 in as many outings while scoring 19 times and assisting on 23 more.
43: Did you know Caleb Serre of the Beavers registered 43 points on the power play this season to lead the league in man advantage proficiency?
44: Blind River blueliner Nathan Balkwill’s 44 assists on the season were the second-most among NOJHL defencemen this season. It’s also the second-highest helper total since 2016-17 when former Iroquois Falls Eskimos D-man, now league linesman, Josh Dejulio had 45.
45: Powassan led the NOJHL in wins this season with 45, which matched the number they had in 2017-18.
The 46 triumphs recorded in 2015-16 is the most in league play since 2013-14 when the Soo Thunderbirds had 48.
46: In just 46 games this season, the Voodoos’ Gregory Trudeau-Paquet picked up 82 points. This saw him finish second in the league in point-per-game numbers at 1.83.
47: The Timmins Rock trio of Josh Dickson, Derek Seguin and defenceman Josh Anderson combined for 47 points via the power play this season by scoring 13 times and assisting on 34 others.
48: There were a total of 48 goals scored in shootouts in 2019-2020.
Rayside-Balfour led the way in markers with eight followed by the Soo Eagles with seven while Espanola, Powassan and Hearst all had six.
49: Game No. 49 on the season was the final league contest in September where Timmins edged the Soo Thunderbirds 3-2 at McIntyre Arena in front of 768 fans which was part of the Rock leading the NOJHL in overall attendance once again on the year.
50: This was the total number of assists Mattias Salem of Espanola racked up to lead all NOJHL defencemen in that category.
A first team all-star on defence and the NOJHL’s dop D and best overall team player honouree, Salem topped all league blueliners in offensive production with 66 points, including 16 goals.
Salem also finished fourth in overall league scoring, marking the first time in two decades a defenceman finished in the Top 5, among all skaters, in that department.
PHOTO: Scoring sensation Caleb Serre of the Blind River Beavers figured in big on the NOJHL’s numbers game for the 2019-2020 season.