The 12 member teams of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are slated to return to game activity within the next few days following an extended Christmas holiday hiatus.
Following are the standings, complete with a few notes, by team and division.
Soo Thunderbirds (25-7-1, 51 points.) With the best winning percentage in the league at .773, coach John Parco’s Thunderbirds feature a triple threat of high-scoring forwards in Lucas Theriault (24 goals, 23 assists, 47 points), Noah Boman (13-27-40) and Nick Smith (18-20-38.)
Rayside Balfour Canadians (21-13-3, 45 points.) Goalies Sebastien Plamondon (8-3-0 record, 2.32 goals against average, .933 save percentage) and David Bowen (10-6-1, 3.04, .920) have been money in the bank for RBC.
Blind River Beavers (19-11-5, 43 points.) Forwards Brendan Young and hometown hero Caleb Serre are the Beavers 1-2 scoring stars with respective point totals of 45 and 44.
Soo Eagles (15-19-2, 32 points.) A trio of Eagles are among the league’s top rookie scorers. They are Riley Jensen with 10-15-25 numbers, Raf Praysner at 9-16-25 and Caleb Wood with 15-9-24 totals.
Elliot Lake Wildcats (13-20-3, 29 points.) Rookie forward Noah Minns leads the Wildcats in scoring with 9 goals, 20 assists, 29 points.
Espanola Express (7-30-0, 14 points.) The Express is likely to miss the playoffs again but veteran NOJHL coach Dave Clancy, who is in his first season in Espanola, has the franchise steered in the right direction with a strong support staff led by president and general manager Chad Clarke.
Timmins Rock (22-14-2, 46 points.) Goalie Tyler Masternak, an Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Saginaw Spirit, has been a Rock between the pillars with a 19-8-2 record, 2.24 goals against average and .915 save percentage.
Cochrane Crunch (22-14-2, 46 points.) Coach Ryan Leonard’s Crunch bunch is 4-0-1 in its last five outings and is led by 22-goal scorer Austin Whelan.
Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (22-10-1, 45 points.) KL has five games in hand on both Timmins and Cochrane and coach Ryan Wood’s Gold Miners have the best winning percentage on the East side at .682.
Hearst Lumberjacks (18-12-5, 41 points.) Lumberjacks forward Jake Desando has been splitting wood with 17 goals, 26 assists, 43 points. And coach Marc Lafleur’s Lumberjacks have a 7-0-2 record over their last nine outings.
Powassan Voodoos (19-14-2, 40 points.) The Voodoos are slumping with a 2-7-1 record in their last 10 games.
French River Rapids (12-22-3, 27 points.) Two of the NOJHL’s top rookie scorers are riding the Rapids. They are Philippe Daoust with 14 goals, 22 assists, 36 points and 16-year old Oshawa Generals OHL draft pick Hunter Brazier, who has 16-8-24 totals.
PHOTO: Tanner Mayne (12) and Nick Smith (22) of the Soo Thunderbirds in recent NOJHL action against the Espanola Express.