Best defense in the Great North

December 1, 2016

If defense ultimately wins championships then the North Bay Trappers of the Great North Midget Hockey League are on the right course.

To be sure, the Trappers have allowed the fewest goals — by far — of any team in the seven-member Great North loop.

The second-place Trappers have allowed 38 goals in 20 games for a goals against average of 1.90. By comparison, the first-place Soo Greyhounds have given up 66 goals in 23 games for a 2.87 GAA.

On paper, the Soo, with 37 points from a record of 17-3-3, is ahead of North Bay, which has 35 points from a record of 17-2-1. But the Trappers have three games in hand on the Greyhounds and have won both head-to-head matchups this season — by 6-5 and 6-3 scores.

North Bay is coached by 57-year old Guy Blanchard, who has been around the game most of his life.

Besides being a minor hockey coach of many years, Blanchard has also coached in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sudbury Wolves and erstwhile North Bay Centennials and Guelph Platers and has multiple Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League championships to his credit from his years with the old North Bay Skyhawks.

The veteran Blanchard — who is a member of the North Bay Hockey Hall of Fame — believes in a defense-first system and it is certainly working with the midget Trappers thus far this season.

“The coaching staff has tried to instill keeping pucks out of our net — that is what keeps you in every game,” Blanchard told “I believe our success in that area is due to our defensemen.

“We have six strong guys back there and a good mix with three born in 2001 and the other three born in 2000,” Blanchard continued. “Our defensemen also generate a lot of offense for us as well. Our goal every game is to keep shots on our net to under 20 and with consistent goaltending, this gives us an advantage.

“We got away from that in a few games, which is normal, but our team knows what we need to do to win.”

Blanchard also pointed out the work of the Trappers penalty killers as a key to keeping the goals against average as low as it is.

“I have to give lots of credit to our penalty killing, which sits at 92 percent,” said Blanchard.

What you think about “Best defense in the Great North”

  1. Good Article!
    It is Good to see the League and in this Case the North Bay Trappers getting some ink.
    Luv it!!!!!

  2. We won’t be seeing the NOJHL version of the North Bay Trappers again, unless North Bay loses their OHL team again….but that’s doubtful. They ended up playing in the tiny West Ferris Arena, which didn’t last a full season as David Beauchamp and his team were kicked out of the arena, and ended in Mattawa.

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