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      Dudley-Hewitt Cup team preview: Fort Frances Lakers (HOST-SIJHL)

      04/28/2015, 10:00am CDT
      By SIJHL Communications

      DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP

      DHC MEDIA UPDATE

      Release Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

      Dudley-Hewitt Cup team preview: Fort Frances Lakers (HOST-SIJHL)

      FORT FRANCES, Ont. – The Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A Championship in Fort Frances begins today with the first two round robin contests.

      The opener Tuesday afternoon at Ice for Kids Arena at 2 p.m. CT features the Dryden GM Ice Dogs of the Superior International Junior Hockey League take on the champions of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Soo Thunderbirds.

      Game 2 of the day features the two-time SIJHL Bill Salonen Cup title-winning Fort Frances Lakers meeting the defending Dudley-Hewitt Cup and back-to-back Ontario Junior Hockey League champion Toronto Patriots.

      Th following is a preview on the event host Fort Frances Lakers.

      TEAM: FORT FRANCES LAKERS
       
      LEAGUE: SIJHL

      HEAD COACH/GENERAL MANAGER: Wayne Strachan

      THE LAKERS: Fort Frances is back in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup for a second straight year having won back-to-back Bill Salonen Cup SIJHL championships.

      In their run to last season’s title the rallied from a three games to one deficit to take the final three contests to win it all vs. the Minnesota Iron Rangers. This year they trailed Dryden 2-1 and reeled off another three straight triumphs to claim the title.

      The Lakers also finished first overall in the SIJHL standings in 2014-15 going 43-11-2 to take top spot going away.

      Semifinal action saw Fort Frances dispose of the Thunder Bay North Stars in five games winning the best-of-seven 4-1 before defeating Dryden in six hard-fought games to capture the Bill Salonen Cup.

      In last year’s Dudley-Hewitt Cup the Lakers finished third overall falling to the Toronto Patriots in the semifinal, with Toronto going on to defeat the host Wellington Dukes in the title game.

      THE PLAYERS: The Lakers had three forwards finish in the top 10 in league scoring in regular season play.

      Leading the way was Wyatt Cota, who was fifth overall picking up 68 points on 28 goals and 40 assists.

      He was followed by Lucas DeBenedet and Mason Meyer, with the duo registering 58 and 57 points respectively.

      Team captain Miles Nolan led the club in power play markers with 14, which was third best in the league. Cota chipped in with 10 man advantage efforts while Meyer had eight.

      Colton Spicer shared the SIJHL lead in game-winning tallies with seven. Bowen Alcock was fourth in that department with five with Meyer and Cota fifth overall with four apiece.

      A trio of defencemen shared the club lead in offensive production among blueliners with Sam Schultz, A.J. Kapcheck and Nick Minerva having 26 points each.

      Goaltender Nathan Park led the SIJHL in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts at 1.92, .931 and three respectively.

      He was also named a CCM first team all-star in net and went on to be named the league’s top goaltender award recipient. Park also led the way in the playoffs winning eight times and was chosen postseason MVP.

      In postseason play, Cota paced the Lakers with 14 points, which was also the second best total among all players.

      Meyer finished tied for third overall in SIJHL playoff scoring with 14 points, with his nine goals topping all players.

      Cota was right behind him with eight, which included a hat trick and the championship winning tally in the final contest.

      Minerva led all SIJHL defencemen in scoring with 10 points on five goals and as many assists.

      The Fort Frances power play went at a 23.1% success in the playoffs while their penalty kill rate was 83.3%. In the regular season they were even better at 26.2%, but slipped on the P.K. at 79.1%.

      FASTHOCKEY: Each Dudley-Hewitt Cup contest will be available online via pay-per-view at fasthockey.com.

      DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP WEBSITE: More information on the 2015 Dudley-Hewitt Cup, including ticket packages, can be found on the official event website at www.centralcanadianchampionship.com.

      Additional news, statistics, schedules and other relevant material is also posted on the website with other relevant information being added leading up to the event.

      RBC CUP: The Dudley-Hewitt Cup winner will advance to represent the central region at the 2015 RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship, May 9-17, in Portage la Prairie, Man.

      Serving as host will be the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

      Joining the Terriers and Dudley-Hewitt title holders will be the champion and finalist of Crescent Energy Western Canadian Championship as well as the winner of the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian Championship.

      More information on the RBC Cup can be found at www.hockeycanada.ca/rbccup.

      Dudley-Hewitt Cup
      April 28 - May 2
      Ice for Kids Arena
      Fort Frances, Ont.

      Competing teams
      HOST: Fort Frances Lakers (Bill Salonen Cup champion)
      SIJHL: Dryden GM Ice Dogs (Bill Salonen Cup finalist)
      NOJHL: Soo Thunderbirds (Copeland Cup - McNamara Trophy champion)
      OJHL: Toronto Patriots (Buckland Cup champion)

      Schedule (All start times Central Standard Time)
      Tuesday, April 28
      Soo vs. Dryden 2 p.m.  
      Toronto vs. Fort Frances 7:30 p.m.  
      Wednesday, April 29
      Toronto vs. Dryden 2 p.m.
      Fort Frances vs. Soo 7:30 p.m.
      Thursday, April 30
      Soo vs. Toronto 2 p.m.
      Dryden vs. Fort Frances 7:30 p.m.
      Friday, May 1
      Semifinal: 2nd Round Robin vs. 3rd Round Robin 7:30 p.m.
      Saturday, May 2
      Final: 1st Round Robin vs. Semifinal Winner 7:30 p.m.

      DHC champion advances to RBC Cup May 9-17 in Portage la Prairie, Man.

       

      Dudley-Hewitt Cup team preview: Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)

      04/26/2015, 7:00am CDT
      By SIJHL Communications

      DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP

      DHC MEDIA UPDATE

      Release Date: Sunday, April 26, 2015

      Dudley-Hewitt Cup team preview: Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)

      FORT FRANCES, Ont. – The second of four Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A Championship team previews is on the winners of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Soo Thunderbirds.

      Sault Ste. Marie’s initial contest at the Dudley-Hewitt will be at 2 p.m. CT/3 p.m. ET Tuesday vs. the Dryden GM Ice Dogs of the Superior International Junior Hockey League.

      The Soo and Dryden will joined by the host and two-time SIJHL Bill Salonen Cup title-winning Fort Frances Lakers along with the defending Dudley-Hewitt Cup and back-to-back Ontario Junior Hockey League champion Toronto Patriots.

      Here is a look at the Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy champion T-Birds.

      TEAM: SOO THUNDERBIRDS
       
      LEAGUE: NOJHL

      GENERAL MANAGER: Kevin Cain

      HEAD COACH: Jordan Smith

      THE THUNDERBIRDS: Representing the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League at this year’s Dudley-Hewitt Cup in Fort Frances are the Soo Thunderbirds.

      It is nothing new for Sault Ste. Marie to be competing in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup having been a NOJHL representative at five of the past seven Central Canada Jr. A Championships.

      Ironically this also marks the third straight occasion that the Thunderbirds will play in the DHC when the Superior International Junior Hockey League has served as host of the four-team tourney.

      They finished fourth in 2009 in Schreiber, Ont., before rebounding to win it all in 2012 as they captured their first Dudley-Hewitt Cup crown in Thunder Bay.

      Guided by two-time NOJHL coach of the year Jordan Smith, Sault Ste. Marie secured their second consecutive NOJHL regular season title and from there were all but dominant in the 2015 NOJHL playoffs rolling through three postseason series winning 12 times while only losing twice.

      In quarter-final play they blasted the Blind River Beavers in four straight outscoring them 41-1 in the process.

      Moving on the NOJHL West Division final they met an impressive Elliot Lake Wildcats and proceeded to tame them in five games.

      Advancing to their fourth straight league Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy final, Sault Ste. Marie took on an upstart first-year Cochrane Crunch.

      After the high-scoring Crunch took the series opener, the Thunderbirds reeled off four consecutive victories to win the best-of-seven final 4-1.

      THE PLAYERS: Leading the Thunderbirds in the postseason were forward Matt Caruso and defencemen Owen Headrick as they shared the team point lead with 20 each.

      Caruso had a league-best 14 goals along with six assists while Headrick topped all NOJHL defencemen with 12 tallies and eight helpers.

      Picking up at least one point in his last 10 outings, Headrick also went on to be named the league’s most valuable player in the playoffs.

      Thunderbirds captain Anthony Miller and Jaren Bellini were next on the squad in offensive production with 17 points apiece. Matt Pinder picked up 16 points followed by rookies Nicolas Sicoly and Boris Katchouk, who were both 15-point men.

      Caleb Bowman led all T-Birds defencemen in scoring during the course of the regular season with 32 points in 49 outings scoring nine times and setting up 23 others.

      David Radke was next with 27 points, including a pair of goals, which were both game-winners.

      Despite missing most of the first four-plus months due to an upper-body injury, Headrick still averaged a point-per-game for his club with 13 in as many outings and followed that up with his impressive MVP run in the playoffs.

      Headrick (Lake Superior State, WCHA) and Radke (Colorado College, NCHC) have both committed to NCAA D-I programs.

      Goaltending was also a key to the Soo’s success as netminders Mario Culina and Brian Kment combined to register a NOJHL-leading seven shutouts along the playoff trail.

      Culina topped all league netminders in both average and save percentage at 1.23 and .945

      Kment finished second with a goals-against average of 1.73 along with a .925 save mark.

      During the course of the regular season, the Thunderbirds connected at a 20.7% clip on the power play while going 81.7% while on the penalty kill.

      In the playoffs they upped both percentages firing at a 26.8% success rate while on a man advantage and had an 84.4% rate while shorthanded.

      FASTHOCKEY: Each Dudley-Hewitt Cup contest will be available online via pay-per-view at fasthockey.com.

      DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP WEBSITE: More information on the 2015 Dudley-Hewitt Cup, including ticket packages, can be found on the official event website at www.centralcanadianchampionship.com.

      Additional news, statistics, schedules and other relevant material is also posted on the website with other relevant information being added leading up to the event.

      RBC CUP: The Dudley-Hewitt Cup winner will advance to represent the central region at the 2015 RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship, May 9-17, in Portage la Prairie, Man.

      Serving as host will be the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

      Joining the Terriers and Dudley-Hewitt title holders will be the champion and finalist of Crescent Energy Western Canadian Championship as well as the winner of the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian Championship.

      More information on the RBC Cup can be found at www.hockeycanada.ca/rbccup.

      Dudley-Hewitt Cup
      April 28 - May 2
      Ice for Kids Arena
      Fort Frances, Ont.

      Competing teams
      HOST: Fort Frances Lakers (Bill Salonen Cup champion)
      SIJHL: Dryden GM Ice Dogs (Bill Salonen Cup finalist)
      NOJHL: Soo Thunderbirds (Copeland Cup - McNamara Trophy champion)
      OJHL: Toronto Patriots (Buckland Cup champion)

      Schedule (All start times Central Standard Time)
      Tuesday, April 28
      Soo vs. Dryden 2 p.m.  
      Toronto vs. Fort Frances 7:30 p.m.  
      Wednesday, April 29
      Toronto vs. Dryden 2 p.m.
      Fort Frances vs. Soo 7:30 p.m.
      Thursday, April 30
      Soo vs. Toronto 2 p.m.
      Dryden vs. Fort Frances 7:30 p.m.
      Friday, May 1
      Semifinal: 2nd Round Robin vs. 3rd Round Robin 7:30 p.m.
      Saturday, May 2
      Final: 1st Round Robin vs. Semifinal Winner 7:30 p.m.
       

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      Upcoming Events

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      October: Cole Golka, Dryden


      January: Lucas DeBenedet, Fort Frances


      November: Evan Erickson, Minnesota


      February: Nathan Park, Fort Frances


      December: Cole Golka, Dryden


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