SUDBURY – A trio of Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League goaltenders have earned 3 Stars of the week honours for the period ending March 9.
Kirkland Lake Gold Miners netminder Kenny Fitzgerand, Elliot Lake Bobcats goalkeeper Alex Bitsakis and Soo Thunderbirds stopper Joel Horodziejczyk picked up the accolades for the final week of the regular season, which came to a close Sunday.
KENNY FITZGERALD, (G) KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – In two road starts last week Fitzgerald won both of them stopping 50 of 53 shots fired his way.
The 19-year-old native of Port Coquitlam, B.C. began by turning aside 29 of 31 attempts he saw in a 4-2 victory in Iroquois Falls vs. the Abitibi Eskimos.
Saturday night he then only allowed one to get by him on 22 shots in an 8-1 triumph over Blind River.
In regular season play Fitzgerald finished fourth overall in goals-against average at 2.06 and third in save percentage at .918. He was also second overall in the NOJHL in wins with 22.
ALEX BITSAKIS, (G) ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – Bitsakis, who turned 20 last week, turned in an impressive performance in his only appearance of the week.
The Montreal product was stellar kicking out 38 of the 39 shots he saw in leading Elliot Lake to a hard-fought 2-1 decision over Kirkland Lake on Friday.
Bitsakis’ efforts allowed him to conclude regular season play with the fourth most victories of any goalkeeper in the league at 16.
He also played the third most minutes of any netminder at just under 1,854.
JOEL HORODZIEJCZYK, (G) SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The second-year goaltender capped off a fantastic regular season by posting a shutout in his final start prior to the playoffs.
His fourth game without giving up a goal, which tied him for the league lead, came Saturday as he shut the door on his hometown Sudbury Nickel Barons by a 4-0 count. In all he finished with 19 saves on the night.
The 19-year-old Horodziejczyk, who was named the NOJHL’s most valuable player and a first team all-star led all league backstops in both goals-against average and save percentage at 1.72 and .935 respectively.
The Soo stopper ended regular season action by going unbeaten in his last 27 starts for the Thunderbirds winning 26 times against no losses and one tie.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)