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SIJHL semifinal preview: Thunder Bay North Stars vs. English River Miners

SUPERIOR INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

SIJHL MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Friday, March 31, 2017

SIJHL semifinal preview: Thunder Bay North Stars vs. English River Miners

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Superior International Junior Hockey League’s second semifinal playoff series between the No. 2 seeded Thunder Bay North Stars and the No. 3 English River Miners will commence Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Fort William Gardens.

Here’s a preview of this best-of-seven match-up:

THE SCHEDULE

SIJHL semifinal (Series C)
No. 2 Thunder Bay North Stars vs. No. 3 English River Miners
Best-of-seven series
Game 1: Saturday, April 1 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. (Fort William Gardens)
Game 2: Sunday, April 2 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. (Fort William Gardens)
Game 3: Wednesday, April 5 @ English River 7:30 p.m. (Cochenour Arena)
Game 4*: Thursday, April 6 @ English River 7:30 p.m. (Cochenour Arena)
Game 5*: Saturday, April 8 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. (Fort William Gardens)
Game 6*: Monday, April 10 @ English River 7:30 p.m. (Cochenour Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 12 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. (Fort William Gardens)
*-if necessary

HOW THEY GOT HERE: The North Stars earned the No. 2 seed in the SIJHL playoffs finishing with 68 points, which was just two more than the third place Miners.

Thunder Bay ended up going 31-19-6-0 overall while English River had a franchise-record 31 victories along with 21 defeats, one more setback in overtime and three via the shootout.

SEASON SET: There were 11 meetings between the Miners and North Stars during the course of the regular season with English River winning the set by posting seven wins, against just two losses and two shootout setbacks.

The visiting team also held the upper hand in most of those contests with the Miners going 4-0-0-1 at the Fort William Gardens while Thunder Bay held a 3-2 mark at Cochenour Arena. English River also won the game they played vs. each other at the SIJHL Showcase in Thief River Falls, Minn.

English River outscored Thunder 42-25 overall in the match-ups the squads played.

2ND MEETING: This marks just the second playoff meeting between the North Stars and Miners in SIJHL history.

The two sides also met back in 2015 with Thunder Bay taking a best-of-five quarter-final 3-0 by winning 3-1 and 10-5 at home before securing the series on the road by a 5-3 count.

POINT MEN: Offensively, the leading point getter among the clubs was English River’s Sidney Gladue with 69.

The Miners’ forward, who was a CCM Hockey second team all-star, was fifth in league scoring with 27 tallies and 42 assists to his credit.

Jamie Driedger was next on the Miners with 61 points as he notched 25 markers and added 36 helpers to finish 10th in the SIJHL.

Pacing the North Stars was veteran forward Nicholas Nigro as the Thunder Bay product was 11th in the league with 57 points, including 33 goals.

Nigro and the Miners’ Dante Raposo both notched a team-high five game-winning goals each.

Defensively CCM Hockey first team stars in Ryan Walsh of the North Stars and Trevor Pereverzoff of the Miners were one-two in scoring among league defencemen with 52 and 51 points respectively.

Pereverzoff was also named the SIJHL’s CCM Top Defenceman Award recipient.

Second team all-star Joe Newhouse of Thunder Bay was third in numbers among D-men with 39 that featured 33 assists.

THE TENDERS: Backstopping English River is goaltender Michael Lenko.

He was named a second team CCM selection, tying for the league-lead in wins with 22 while ending up second in save percentage at .920.

Nathaniel Dupuis and Jordan Elliot combined for 27 victories for Thunder Bay during the campaign.

They also shared the SIJHL-lead in shutouts with two apiece.

SPECIAL TEAMS: The two sides were close in terms of power play proficiency during the regular season.

The North Stars were third in the league at 20.1% while the Miners were fourth at 19.5%.

On the penalty kill, Thunder Bay was second at 81.1% and English River was third at 80.7%.

BEHIND THE BENCH: Guiding their respective clubs behind the bench as the head coach is Jeremy Adduono of the North Stars and Derek Sweet-Coulter of the Miners.

WHAT’S NEXT: The winner of this series will move on to meet either the No. 1 Dryden GM Ice Dogs or No. 5 Fort Frances Lakers in the Bill Salonen Cup final.

Dryden currently leads that best-of-seven series 2-0 heading into Game 3 Saturday in Fort Frances.

The league winner will then advance to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. ‘A’ Championship, May 2-6, in Trenton, Ont.

All SIJHL playoff games are streamed live online at HockeyTV.com.