Nickel Barons end regular season with loss to Soo Thunderbirds

By: Randy Pascal – Playback

 | Mar 09, 2014 - 11:57 AM |
With their first round playoff match-up already cast in stone, the Sudbury Nickel Barons took advantage of their regular season finale in Sault Ste Marie to rest a few of the walking wounded, dropping a 4-0 decision to the league-leading Soo Thunderbirds.

Call-ups Nathan Shane, Sheldon Lalonde and Denver Ghent all dressed for the Barons as the local NOJHLers prepare for their quarter-final best of seven set with the Espanola Rivermen.

Joey Miller drilled a hat-trick for the T-Birds, with former Baron Darcy Haines adding a solo effort as league MVP Joel Horodziejczyk recorded his fourth shutout of the year.

Michael Muzyka turned aside 33 of the 37 shots he faced at the other end of the rink, taking the loss between the pipes for the Nickel Barons. Sudbury finished 6th in the NOJHL this year with a record of 19-30-0-7, drawing the third place Rivermen (32-22-0-1) as their post-season opponent.

While final details confirming the dates, times and locations of the playoff match-up have not yet been released, it is already a given that the Barons will not be at home this Wednesday (March 12th).

The 2014 OFSAA Girls Hockey Championships are utilizing four local ice pads, including the McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff, during the customary home night slot for the Sudbury junior crew.

In other league news, Barons' defenceman Khadyn Butterfly was among the players honoured as the NOJHL unveiled the 2013-2014 individual award winners yesterday. Butterfly garnered the Gilles Laperrière Most Improved Player Trophy after increasing his offensive production six-fold with the Sudbury squad this year.

Registering just five assists in 2012-2013, Butterfly completed his second year with the team with 10 goals and 20 assists, good for fourth place in team scoring. Butterfly, who hails from Moosonee, played his Midget AAA hockey with the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves, also seeing action in three OHL games with the Sudbury Wolves earlier this year.

For his part, Horodziejczyk, a native of Sudbury, closed off a stellar campaign with a personal undefeated stretch that now spans no less than 26 games. The acrobatic puckstopper has posted a record of 25-0-0-1 in his starts over that span, leading the NOJHL in both goals against average (1.77) and save percentage (.933).

Remaining NOJHL hardware recipients confirmed over the weekend included:

- Gavin Burbach (Soo Thunderbirds) - NOJHL Trophy as Best Overall Team Player
- Tyler Jones (Soo Thunderbirds) - NOJHL Trophy as Best Defenceman
- Owen Headrick (Soo Thunderbirds) - John Grignon Trophy as Rookie of the Year
- Brad Edwards (Espanola Rivermen) - Mitch Tetreault Memorial Trophy as Top Defensive Forward
- Brett Wagner (Elliot Lake Bobcats) - Onaping Falls Huskies Trophy as Most Gentlemanly Player
- Jordan Smith (Soo Thunderbirds) - Red McCarthy Trophy as Coach of the Year
- Kevin Cain (Soo Thunderbirds) - Joe Drago Trophy as Director of the Year

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