And the NOJHL’s best team is…?

October 29, 2015

As the schedule turns towards November a case might be made for any of the six teams that are among the best in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

Having held the no. 1 ranking in the nation via the Canadian Jr. Hockey League poll over a multiple-week period, the Powassan Voodoos get due mention as the top team in the NOJHL.

But is Powassan any better than the reigning NOJHL champion Soo Thunderbirds or, for that matter, the Cochrane Crunch, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, Timmins Rock and Elliot Lake Wildcats?

As Powassan has skated to a 13-0 start to the 2015-2016 season, let us not forget that three of the Voodoos 13 wins have come in overtime and two more have been by a one-goal margin in regulation.

Still, it takes a good team to win the close games and there is no doubt that the Voodoos are a very good team.

As for having so many teams that are title contenders — four in the East Division and two in the West Division — the boss of the defending champion Thunderbirds from the Soo is of the notion that all six clubs are legitimate threats.

“In all of my years in the NOJHL, I can’t recall a season in which there were so many really good teams who can all be called legitimate contenders,” said Kevin Cain, who is the Thunderbirds president-director of hockey operations.

Appearing as a guest on a recent edition of the Hockey North Show on ESPN 1400 Radio, Cain opined that “there is very little to choose from when talking about Powassan, Cochrane, Kirkland Lake, Timmins, Elliot Lake and us.”

Bruno Bragagnolo, the coach-general manager of the Soo Eagles, has seen all six of the top teams this season and right now, he thinks the Thunderbirds are the best of the best.

“They are all very good teams, there is no question about that,” Bragagnolo said evenly. “But to me, the Thunderbirds are a powerhouse. That is one tough team to try to play against.”

What you think about “And the NOJHL’s best team is…?”

  1. We played Powassan even and we only lost to the Soo TBirds by a goal when we played them in there Barn. The Rock are as good as any of the Top teams.

  2. I have seen all the Teams that are mentiond here axcept for Powassen. Timmins played a great game when they played the Eagles which ended in a Tie Game. Elliott Lake defeated the Eagles by 4 Goals if I remember correct the Eagles could not get many chances to score. Kirkland Lake were just in Town Last Weekend and they looked real good to but and I say that I cant stand this Team .. How ever the “Zoo Birds” are the best Team that I have seen so far with 4 Lines that keep on comming at you and non stop with the hussle and the enreregy. Coach Bruno has bring in a few good players since the last time the Eagles played the “Zoo Birds” so we shall see what happen’s the next time they play. Great topics and Articles all a the time RR!

  3. Peachy say Manitoolin Islanders the Best ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  4. After seeing all of the top teams, I’ll say the TBirds are by far the best team in the NOJHL. I’m a huge Hunter Atchison/Seamus McGuire fan and I think the high scoring Crunch are a very good team, however, they may a tad top heavy. Powassan is very solid and is ran by a wonderful hockey man in Chris Dawson.

    Kirkland Lake and Elliot Lake are again poised to upset one of the top 3 teams in the playoffs, and Timmins is quickly becoming very dangerous with the likes of Zack Kercz, Ryan Theriault and Tristan Salesse.I just don’t know about the teams’ defence. Only Cochrane amongst the top 6 have given up more goals…but they also have scored 30 more times at this point in the year.

    Soo TBirds
    Elliot Lake
    Kirkland Lake
    Soo Eagles
    Iroquois Falls
    Blind River
    French River

  5. Soo are the most impressive. Their passing, puck possesion and team play a e sublime. Powassan, then Elliot Lake, not far behind.

  6. I would say until proven otherwise the Soo T Birds are the top dogs. Brad I hope your order of teams listed isn’t where you have them ranked,must be a little something extra in your brownies if it is. There are teams near the bottom of the league that have shown well at times against the top teams. Espanola’s last road trip to the north proved if they can out together a full 60 minute game they can hang and or beat most teams.

    1. Ross, the brownies aren’t special if that’s what your asking.

      I rank Espanola that low right now because they have no goal scoring whatsoever. I’ve seen them play numerous times, and the one thing that astounds me is how many decent chances they get a game and plainly miss the net on. Add to it they struggle breaking out of their own zone and own the NOJHL’s worst powerplay…sorry I just cannot rank them that high right now…

      The game against Timmins was a strong game for the most part…just sad the NOJHL’s worst referee had to be reffing that game and called a pretty brutal game. nine powerplays and three 5 on 3’s for Timmins? Actually amazed the game wasn’t worse.

      Maybe in due time with a few new additions and a set breakout or two…I just can’t rank them high. If I was a betting man…I’d say by the end of the year, they’ll be ahead of the Rapids/Beavers/Eskis.

  7. I think K L are starting to make a move in the last couple of weeks or so with adding a player here and there, last week they lost against the Soo by a Goal playing their third game on the road in as many nights, last night they tied the 1st place Team (Crunch) away from home, don’t be surprise if they are responsible for Powassan ‘s first defeat of the season on Sunday.

  8. Kirkland has a good team but they are the most dirtiest team I have watched thus far. Stick to playing hockey and you may get better results. Cheap shots all game long and after whistles. WOW

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