They are the thriving threesome of the East Division of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League. Timmins Rock, Hearst Lumberjacks and Powassan Voodoos are in an East side race for first place.
To be sure, there are rewards for finishing first in the form of meeting the lowly fourth seed come the first round of the playoffs. And a second place standing will make for the extra home game against the third seed should that opening round playoff series go the distance.
Still, the playoffs are a ways away as the NOJHL regular season is slated to carry through until March 19 of next year. So, in the meantime, let us take a look at the power of Timmins, Hearst and Powassan.
Timmins (23-5-5, 51 points.) NOJHL retread Patrick Boivin has found a home on the Rock as one of the top goalies in the league. Other key performers have been high scoring defensemen Kenyon Nyman and Brandon Rossetti and forwards Nicolas Pigeon, Brady Harroun, Nicholas Frederick and Lucas Piekarczyk. Nyman leads all NOJHL defensemen in scoring, Pigeon is at the top of the league in points and Harroun has the most goals of any player.
Hearst (23-7-2, 48 points.) Forwards Riley Klugerman and Zach Demers are tied for third in league scoring while Mason Svarich, homegrown lad Mathieu Comeau and Tyler Patterson are all point per game performers. Between the pipes, first-year NOJHL’er Ethan Dinsdale has been outstanding in logging plenty of minutes for the Lumberjacks.
Powassan (20-9-1, 41 points.) Alex Little leads the Voodoos in scoring and fellow defenseman Mitch Wilkie is fourth on the Powassan points parade. And the Voodoos have their own top goalie in Kannon Flageolle.
On the bench. It is a rare occasion when 33-year old Brandon Perry of Timmins, 31-year old Marc-Alain Begin of Hearst and 52-year old Peter Goulet of Powassan are out-coached. Of note, both Perry and Begin are coaching their hometown teams. As for Goulet, he brought more than 15 years of coaching in the Central Canada Hockey League and the Ontario Jr. Hockey League to the NOJHL and Powassan this season. And the word is that Goulet is looking at also becoming an owner of a junior hockey team.