He is a big one. And a good one.
Michael Nickolau was a huge presence in the net for the Cochrane Crunch during the abbreviated 2020-2021 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season.
As a first year goalie in the NOJHL, the 6-foot-4, 200 pound Nickolau faced a barrage of shots for Cochrane, which managed to win just four of 21 games.
And not only did Nickolau win all of Cochrane’s games in posting a 4-10-1 record with an .898 save percentage and 4.79 goals against average, he did so while facing a whopping 683 shots in 914 minutes of action.
Do the arithmetic and the now 20-year old Nickolau faced an average of 46 shots per 60 minutes of action — which makes his save percentage all the more impressive and noteworthy.
Nickolau still has a season of junior eligibility left and will return to Cochrane — where his dad, former Ontario Hockey League and Guelph Platers Memorial Cup champion forward Tom Nickolau — is the head coach.
Quite frankly, as the elder Nickolau looks to reverse the fortunes in 2021-2022 of a Crunch team that had a 4-15-2 record in 2020-2021, he shouldn’t have to worry about at least one goalie position.
To be sure, Cochrane is in good hands with the younger Nickolau.
The kid helped to save the day more than once for the Crunch this past season. And he flashed the ability to show even more net worth up in Cochrane for the coming season.