Here and there through two weekends of play on the 2022-2023 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League regular season schedule:
• A pair of 2006 birth year goalies on assignment from their respective Ontario Hockey League teams are minding the fort in a stellar manner. Jacob Brown, a fourth round pick of the Flint Firebirds at this year’s OHL priority selections draft, has a 2-0-0 record with an 0.50 goals against average and .980 save percentage in two starts for the Timmins Rock. And Drew Gaulton, a second round pick of the Sudbury Wolves at this year’s OHL draft, has started all four games for the Espanola Paper Kings and has a 3-1-0 record with a 3.21 goals against average and .912 save percentage.
• A number of other goalies have also stood tall in the early going. Notably, Logan Raffaele, who was the Soo Eagles third string net-minder last season, has started the ’22-23 campaign with a record of 2-0-0 to go with an 0.50 goals against average and .983 save percentage. Meanwhile, veteran Gavin Disano has a 2-0-0 record with a 1.50 goals against average and .956 save percentage for the Blind River Beavers. And rookie Kolton Bourret of the Soo Thunderbirds has a 2-1-0 record with a 2.00 goals against average and .932 save percentage.
• The rebranded Espanola Paper Kings are off to a 3-1-0 start. Previously known as the Express, Espanola missed the West Division playoffs in 2021-2022 with a record of 13-31-4. Second-year forward Atley Gringorten has four goals in four games for the Paper Kings thus far this season and 2006 birth year defender Conor Walton, a fourth round OHL draft pick of the Sudbury Wolves, has already racked up five points.
• A duo of 20-year old dandies acquired in summer breeze trades with the Superior International Jr. Hockey League champion Red Lake Miners are making a major impact for Timmins. Forward Brady Harroun leads the NOJHL in scoring with five goals, seven assists, 12 points in five games. And Kenyon Nyman tops all defensemen with three goals, five assists, eight points.
• Forward Mason Svarich, obtained from the Nipawin Hawks of the Saskatchewan Jr. Hockey League, is off to a sweet start for the Hearst Lumberjacks with two goals, four assists, six points in four games.
• Leaving home from Newfoundland-Labrador all the way to Cochrane to play for the Crunch does not seem to have affected rookie forward Cameron Frost in an adverse manner. Frost has three goals, three assists, six points in five games for the Crunch.