SUPERIOR INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Game 7 tonight between Lakers and Iron Rangers
THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The two greatest words in hockey … Game 7.
That’s what’s in store tonight as the Superior International Junior Hockey League will crown a new Bill Salonen Cup champion this evening at Ice for Kids Arena in Fort Frances as the hometown Lakers host the Minnesota Iron Rangers in a seventh and deciding game of this hard-fought series. The opening face-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Fort Frances has battled back from a 3-1 series deficit to force game 7 and will look to complete the comeback this evening while Minnesota looks to capture their first-ever SIJHL title.
THE SERIES: The series has been tightly contested from the on-set with four of the games having been decided by just one goal, including one in overtime and two others in double OT.
Minnesota holds a slight edge in total goals scored, 14-13, through the opening six games.
The top six point producers in the playoffs are comprised of skaters from these two teams.
Miles Nolan, Brent Aiken and Kevin Kurm lead the Lakers offensively with 15, 14 and 12 points respectively.
Pacing the Iron Rangers has been Evan Erickson, Trevor Hoth and Jason Reynolds with Erickson having 13 points and the other pair 12 apiece.
Alex Recihle has played every game in net in the series for Minnesota and sits third overall in playoff goals-against average at 2.39 and is second in save percentage at .930.
Jordan Cartney has started the last two contests for Fort Frances and is 3-0 overall in the postseason.
His 2.00 average tops all goaltenders and he sports a .917 save mark.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Bill Salonen Cup champion will advance to represent the SIJHL at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A championship April 29 through May 3 in Wellington, Ont.
They will join the host Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League along with the OJHL Buckland Cup champion Toronto Lakeshore Patriots and the recently crowned Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League title holders, the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, at the five-day event.
Kirkland Lake claimed the NOJHL crown Tuesday with a narrow 2-1 triumph over the top seeded Soo Thunderbirds in game 6 of that series to win it 4-2 overall.
An ex-SIJHLer in Dan Morin is the captain of the Gold Miners.
Former Thunder Bay North Stars head coach Jordan Smith was in his first year at the helm of the Thunderbirds where he guided them to a first place finish in the regular season standings and also the No. 1 ranking in the Canadian Junior Hockey League. Smith was also named NOJHL coach of the year.
THIRD TIME: Tonight’s game 7 marks the third time in league history the Bill Salonen Cup final has gone the distance.
The Schrieber Diesels defeated the Fort William North Stars, on the road in Thunder Bay, in the 2007 BSC deciding game while the Wisconsin Wilderness got past Fort Frances in game 7 of the 2012 final in Spooner, Wis.
SIJHL CONNECTION: An SIJHL alumnus helped his new team sweep their way to a British Columbia Hockey League crown.
Goaltender Gordie Defiel, who backstopped the Wilderness to SIJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup titles last season, has won another championship as he helped lead the Coquitlam Express to the Fred Page Cup, emblematic of BCHL champions.
The Express swept the RBC Cup host Vernon Vipers in four games while Defiel making 35 stops in the finale.
Defiel, who was named the SIJHL’s goaltender of the year in 2012-13 and was last year’s Dudley-Hewitt Cup MVP, will now help lead his Coquitlam side to the Cresent Point Energy Western Canada Cup, April 25-May 3 in Dauphin, Man.
The winner and finalist at that five-team event will both advance to the RBC Cup in Vernon, May 10-18.
SIJHL finals for the Bill Salonen Cup
No. 1 Fort Frances Lakers vs. No. 3 Minnesota Iron Rangers
Best-of-seven series tied 3-3
Game 1: Fort Frances 1 Minnesota 0 (2 OT)
Game 2: Minnesota 3 Fort Frances 2
Game 3: Minnesota 5 Fort Frances 4 (2 OT)
Game 4: Minnesota 3 Fort Frances Lakers 0
Game 5: Fort Frances 2 Minnesota 0
Game 6: Fort Frances 4 Minnesota 3 (OT)
Game 7: TONIGHT @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m. (Ice for Kids Arena)
NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Photo credit: Jean-Rene Daoust
Kirkland Lake Gold Miners crowned NOJHL champions
KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – An Everett Thompson power play tally late in the second period proved to be the difference as the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners edged the Soo Thunderbirds 2-1 Tuesday evening to capture the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Copeland Cup McNamara trophy as NOJHL champions in six hard-fought games.
The Gold Miners now advance to represent the league at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A championship, April 29 through May 3 in Wellington, Ont.
In Tuesday’s contest Kirkland Lake opened the scoring two and a half minutes in as Steven Babin beat a Thunderbirds defender to the puck on a dump in that was left behind the net by goaltender Joel Horodziejczyk and fed a wide-open Damon MacEachern in front who slipped the night’s first tally into a yawning cage.
Sault Ste. Marie, playing without the captain and the NOJHL’s leading scorer Gavin Burbach due to injury, notched the equalizer midway through the contest as Tyler Jones made a crisp cross-ice pass from the right point to the stick of the Nicolas Tassone, who wristed a shot past Gold Miners’ starter Jeremy Pominville from the left face-off dot.
The home side retook the lead late in the second stanza during a man advantage as Babin neatly chipped a puck past Jones just into Sault territory where McEachern sent it over to Thompson, who beat Horodziejczyk from in close at 18:18.
Kirkland Lake had another good opportunity in the final seconds of the frame only to see Samuel Wilbur’s backhand stopped by Horodziejczyk.
Neither side would score in the final 20 minutes with Pominville and Horodziejczyk making a number of key saves in thwarting opposing shooters.
The Thunderbirds pulled their netminder in the late going in an effort to notch the equalizer, but could not dent the Gold Miners’ defence.
Final shots on goal were 26-25 in favour of the victors.
Joining the Gold Miners in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup will be the host Wellington Dukes along with Ontario Junior Hockey League champion Toronto Lakeshore Patriots.
The Superior International Junior Hockey League rep at the Dudley-Hewitt will be determined Wednesday as the Fort Frances Lakers host the Minnesota Iron Rangers in game 7 of the Bill Salonen Cup final, which is knotted at three wins apiece.
NOJHL final for the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy
Soo Thunderbirds vs. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Gold Miners win best-of-seven series 4-2
Game 1: Soo 2 Kirkland Lake 1 (2 OT)
Game 2: Kirkland Lake 5 Soo 3
Game 3: Kirkland Lake 4 Soo 3 (OT)
Game 4: Kirkland Lake 4 Soo 1
Game 5: Soo 5 Kirkland Lake 1
Game 6: Kirkland Lake 2 Soo 1
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