SUDBURY, Ont. – The final two Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League clubs to see postseason action in 2022 will be the Soo Eagles and Greater Sudbury Cubs.
Those two sides will commence their best-of-seven West Division semifinal Friday night at Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., with Game 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s a glance at the two competing teams:
Eagles: 33-11-2-1 (2nd NOJHL West/4th overall)
Cubs: 27-17-3-1 (3rd NOJHL West/6th overall)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Eagles and Cubs met six times during the season, with each club collecting three victories apiece.
One game was decided in overtime and another via a shootout with each squad collecting one road triumph each.
In all, Greater Sudbury held the edge in goals scored by an 18-13 count.
Oct. 3: @ Greater Sudbury (5-3 Cubs)
Oct. 28: @ Greater Sudbury (4-1 Cubs)
Dec. 18: @ Soo (4-3 Eagles – OT)
March 15: Greater Sudbury (4-3 Eagles – SO)
March 25: @ Soo (2-1 Eagles)
April 1: @ Soo (2-0 Cubs)
NOJHL West Division semifinal
Soo Eagles vs. Greater Sudbury Cubs
Game 1: Friday, April 8 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 2: Saturday, April 9 @ Soo 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 3: Monday, April 11 @ Greater Sudbury 7 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Game 4: Tuesday, April 12 @ Greater Sudbury 7 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Game 5*: Wednesday, April 13 @ Soo 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 6*: Friday, April 15 @ Greater Sudbury 7 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Game 7*: Saturday, April 16 @ Soo 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
THE EAGLES: Sault Ste. Marie boasts five skaters who collected 40, or more points, during the course of the regular season.
Leading the Eagles was talented forward Chase Tallaire. He had a team-best 27 tallies, to go along with 29 assists and 56 points, which also paced the Michigan Soo.
Of those 27 goals Tallaire scored, nine proved to be game-winners, which was the most of any player in the entire NOJHL.
Next in offensive production for the team was rookie forward Seth Ferguson.
He picked up 44 points on 22 markers, and as many helpers.
Then the Eagles’ duo of Marc Lafrance and Brian Fiddes chipped in with 43 points each as they both scored 18 times and helped set-up 25 others while Jack Mortson was close behind them with 41, featuring 15 tallies.
A trio of Soo defencemen also paid dividends at both ends of the ice.
Trevor Davis notched 10 goals and 28 assists with Dylan Bachalo and Nicholas Castillo supplying 22 and 20 points respectively.
Eagles’ goaltender Gabe Rosek had a record of 16-6-1-0 and was eighth in the league in goals-against average at 2.90 and sat fourth-best in save percentage at .912.
Ryan Gilmore chipped in with 13 wins, two of which were shutouts, between the pipes in 21 appearances.
THE CUBS: Up front, the Cubs had eight players who recorded two or more game-winning goals, led by Ben Harris, with four.
Their leading point-getter was Kyler Campbell as his 46 led the way as did his 28 goals.
Next on the squad was second team NOJHL All-Star defenceman Seth Coulter as the veteran D-man proved to be a quality play-maker for the Cubs.
From the back-end he provided 39 points while featuring a team-high 34 assists.
Rookies Billy Biedermann and Pierson Sobush both had solid first seasons in the league, combining to score 39 times and assisting on 36 others.
Goaltender Joel Rainville saw the bulk of the work between the pipes for Greater Sudbury during the year.
He went 18-12-3-1 in 35 games, finishing third overall in goals-against average at 2.36 while his .921 save mark was second-best in the league.
Rainville also shared the NOJHL-lead for shutouts in 2021-22 with six.
UP NEXT: The series will move on to meet either the Soo Thunderbirds or Blind River Beavers in the best-of-seven West Division Final.
WHERE TO WATCH: All games in this series can be viewed online at HockeyTV.com, with Scott Nason providing all the play-by-play action for Eagles’ home games at Pullar Stadium and Thomas Mercier doing likewise for the Cubs at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex in Sudbury.
Photo credit: Sudbury Light Event Photography