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NOJHL Vs SIJHL Crossover Game Summary

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NOJHL vs SIJHL Crossover Game Summary January 7, 2013 8:07 AM

Often times I hear from players that they dont want to go to this league or that league. They dont know enough about the level of play or the have preconceived notions based on what other players have said. Ninety percent of the time the information these players get is incorrect and because of that they make bad decisions.

The NOJHL is becoming more widely known in the United States, while the SIJHL having US based teams is not widely known outside of the Mid West. Both are Tier II Canadian based leagues, and both provide excellent opportunity for players to develop their skills.

Last May TJHN reported that the SIJHL and NOJHL were going to play a limited cross over game schedule. It took a while for them to get it together but this weekend those games took place.

Many in hockey circles were betting on the NOJHL to dominate the cross over play. Here are the results, some that may suprise you.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS 7 FORT FRANCES LAKERS 1 – The defending NOJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion Thunderbirds allowed the game’s opening goal, but rebounded nicely in the triumph over Fort Frances.

MINNESOTA WILDERNESS 9 ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS 0 – Winners of 17 straight games in the SIJHL play the Wilderness continued their winning ways in the SIJHL-NOJHL Showdown by rolling over the Bobcats in front of a large and boisterous pro-Wilderness crowd.

Minnesota, currently ranked No. 2 overall in the 128-team Canadian Junior Hockey League, got three goals in each period en route to the romp while JoJo Jeanetta stopped all 22 shots he faced to register the victory.

FORT FRANCES LAKERS 6 ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS 0 – A five-goal third period blew open as close game as Fort Frances posted the shutout win.

MINNESOTA WILDERNESS 3 SOO THUNDERBIRDS 1 – The marquee match-up of the SIJHL-NOJHL Showdown saw the Wilderness win for a 19th straight time, having recorded 17 consecutive victories in league play as well as two triumphs in this event.

Thats correct, the SIJHL took three out of four games against the NOJHL teams.

So what have we learned from this experiment?

Both leagues can compete with one another. The level of play is not that much different. Fans definitely liked seeing new teams and new competition.

Where this series leads in the future is unknown. With its success, both leagues would do well to consider a full season of cross over play next year. This would help all teams in recruiting and would sell more tickets at the gate.

These two leagues got it right by putting this together. It was a win for the leagues, for the players and for the fans. Its not often you get those three measures of success. Lets hope this is just the beginning of what could be a great working relationship.

By Joseph Kolodziej

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