A small market team is making a big time splash one-fifth of the way into the 2022-2023 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League regular season.
Blind River Beavers have a record of 10-1-0 and a league best winning percentage of .909 through 11 games.
Spectacular play between the pipes by 19-year old veteran Gavin Disano and 16-year old rookie Charlie Burns — who are step brothers from Sault Ste. Marie — and all round play from a corps of forwards and defensemen have Blind River off to its best start in a Beavers NOJHL history that dates back to 2001.
Disano has a 6-0-0 record with a 1.66 goals against average and .943 save percentage. And Burns — a 2022 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft pick of the Niagara Ice Dogs — has sparkled as well with a 4-1-0 record, 1.80 goals against average and .934 save percentage, along with two shutouts.
Offensively, Caleb Minns has two goals, 11 assists, 13 points while Jesse Dupuis has 7-7-14 numbers, Evan Fraccaro has 5-8-13 totals, Mike Gallagher has 4-5-9 statistics and defenseman Ethan Pegg has a 3-6-9 production. Meanwhile, forward Josh Tomasi has three goals in four games for the Beavers since being acquired in a trade with the Elliot Lake Red Wings.
A pair of rookie forwards with northern Ontario roots have also pitched in offensively. Kaeden McArthur has three goals, four assists, seven points in just eight games while Noah Aboflan has 4-1-5 totals in nine outings. Another northerner, rough and ready defenseman Matthew Kallo, has also played well as a rookie and contributed offensively with two assists in nine games. All three youngsters are 17-year olds.
Meanwhile, 16-year old defenseman Henry Attard, a 2022 OHL priority selections draft pick of the Hamilton Bulldogs, has clicked for three assists in six games since arriving in Blind River.
It wasn’t always this way in Blind River. In fact, the year before current Beavers coach and general manager Kyle Brick was hired, Blind River had a 2015-2016 regular season record of 10-40-4. But since Brick came on board in Blind River for the 2016-2017 campaign, the Beavers have never had a losing record over the course of a full season.
And as mentioned, they have never had a start like this one either.