SUDBURY – Taking a look statistically across the 129-team Canadian Junior Hockey League and you’ll find a pair of Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League players rank at the top in a pair of offensive categories.
Kirkland Lake Gold Miners stalwart blueliner Ethan Strong presently leads all CJHL defencemen in power play goals with 10.
The 20-year-old Kinmount, Ont., native, who was a horse on defence for Team NOJHL at the recently held Central Canada Cup Challenge in Toronto, also sits tied for third among league D-men in scoring with 23 points in 25 outings for the defending champion Gold Miners.
Two other NOJHL rearguards also crack the top 10 in this category as Nathan Campbell of the Elliot Lake Wildcats and Brennan Roy of the Abitibi Eskimos share fifth overall with sixth extra man markers with six apiece.
|CJHL leaders: Top 10 Defenceman power play goals (As of Dec. 8/14)|
|1||Ethan Strong||D||Kirkland Lake Gold Miners||NOJHL||25||11||10|
|2||Eric Williams||D||Aurora Tigers||OJHL||28||10||9|
|3||Will Reilly||D||North York Rangers||OJHL||27||10||8|
|4||Francis Levesque||D||Ste-Jerome Panthers||QJHL||28||11||7|
|T-5||Nathan Campbell||D||Elliot Lake Wildcats||NOJHL||26||10||6|
|T-5||Brennan Roy||D||Abitibi Eskimos||NOJHL||28||13||6|
|T-5||Michael Giacometti||D||Stouffville Spirit||OJHL||29||9||6|
|T-5||Guillaume Gelinas||D||Valleyfield Braves||QJHL||24||12||6|
|T-5||Robert Michel||D||Ottawa Jr. A Senators||CCHL||35||12||6|
|T-10||Ryan Walsh||D||Thunder Bay North Stars||SIJHL||19||6||5|
|T-10||Kurt Gosselin||D||Alberni Valley Bulldogs||BCHL||24||9||5|
|T-10||Damien Charette||D||Hawkesbury Hawks||CCHL||25||7||5|
|T-10||Brandon Washer||D||Lindsay Muskies||OJHL||26||11||5|
|T-10||Ian Edmondson||D||St. Michael’s Buzzers||OJHL||28||6||5|
|T-10||Andrew Farny||D||Salmon Arm Silverbacks||BCHL||29||7||5|
|T-10||Niko Kovachis||D||Toronto Patriots||OJHL||29||7||5|
|T-10||Shane Poulsen||D||Merritt Centennials||BCHL||29||6||5|
|T-10||Ben Hull||D||Dauphin Kings||MJHL||30||6||5|
|T-10||Christian Lloyd||D||Trenton Golden Hawks||OJHL||30||10||5|
|T-10||Daniel Fritz||D||Coquitlam Express||BCHL||31||7||5|
|T-10||Jacob Piltzmaker||D||Newmarket Hurricanes||OJHL||31||5||5|
Meanwhile red-hot Cody Gratton of the Cochrane Crunch has been extra tricky while his side has been down a man during games having notched a CJHL-best 10 shorthanded markers so far this season.
Coming off a week where he scored eight times in three games in a trio of Crunch road wins as was tabbed as one of the Eastlink TV 3 Stars, the 20-year-old Sudbury standout also tops the NOJHL in overall tallies (34), points (55) and game-winners (6).
|CJHL leaders: Shorthanded goals (5 or more) (As of Dec. 8/14)|
|1||Cody Gratton||F||Cochrane Crunch||NOJHL||25||34||10|
|2||Karl Léveillée||F||Montreal East Rangers||QJHL||31||48||7|
|3||Andy Sturtz||F||Carleton Place Canadians||CCHL||36||18||6|
|4||Corey Mackin||F||Coquitlam Express||BCHL||31||30||5|
Another offensive category among blueliners has Kirkland Lake veteran Jeremy Picard currently sitting third across the country in assists among defencemen with 31.
The 20-year-old Baurraute, Que., product also leads all NOJHL D-men in total points with 34, which is also good enough to put him in a tie for ninth in league scoring.
|CJHL leaders: Defenceman assists (25 or more) (As of Dec. 8/14)|
|1||Alexandre Gauthier||D||Vaudreuil Mustangs||QJHL||30||35|
|2||Mathieu Roy||D||Ste-Agathe Montagnards||QJHL||30||34|
|3||Jeremy Picard-Fiset||D||Kirkland Lake Gold Miners||NOJHL||27||31|
|4||Jordan McNaughton||D||Truro Bearcats||MHL||24||27|
|5||Kurt Gosselin||D||Alberni Valley Bulldogs||BCHL||24||26|
|T-6||Ryan Bittner||D||Winnipeg Blues||MJHL||28||25|
|T-6||Jeremy Wu||D||Whitby Fury||OJHL||32||25|