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NOJHL playoff preview: West quarter-final – Blind River Beavers vs. Elliot Lake Wildcats

SUDBURY, Ont. – The 2019 Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs begin tonight as the Blind River Beavers host the Elliot Lake Wildcats in Game 1 of their best-of-three West Division quarter-final play-in series at 7 p.m. at the Blind River Community Centre.

With files courtesy of NOJHL statistician/historian David Harrison, here’s a look at the match-up.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: The two sides met a total of 10 times during the course of the regular season with the Beavers coming away victorious on six occasions.

Four of those were decided by just one goal, including one via the shootout, which the Wildcats won 4-3 back on Jan. 26. Every game saw a different skater produce the game-winning marker with the Beavers holding the edge in total goals scored by a 36-26 count.

SCORING: Pacing Blind River offensively in their meetings with Elliot Lake was the duo of Caleb Serre and Brendan Young, who both produced 13 points each. Serre had a team-high seven tallies while Young notched six.

Lucas Adams had eight points while Andrew Warhotig had seven.

Overall, Young led his club in scoring with 70 points, which was fifth-best in the NOJHL while Serre was with 61.

As for Elliot Lake, the foursome of Connor Taylor, Carson Andreoli, Noah Minns and Josh Bifolchi collected seven points apiece against the Beavers with Bifolchi’s five goals leading his squad in that category.

Rookie forward Noah Minns led Elliot Lake in offensive production in 2018-19 with 58 points, including 20 goals.

GOALTENDING: Of the club’s current goaltenders, Garret Boyonoski of the Beavers was 2-2-1 with a 3.24 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage while Jackson Hjelle won both of his starts against the Wildcats and had a 1.67 GAA along with a save mark of .932.

As for Elliot Lake, Dominic Boily saw the bulk of the action between the pipes for his team vs. Blind River, appearing in nine of the outings while producing four victories against five defeats. He posted a solid .922 save percentage vs. the Beavers and a 3.41 average.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Special teams saw the Beavers go 5-46 on the power play while the Wildcats went 5-45 with Blind River also striking once while shorthanded.

WHAT’S NEXT: The winner of this series will me meet the No. 1 seeded Soo Thunderbirds in a West Division semifinal.

All NOJHL playoff games are streamed online at HockeyTV.com.

West Division quarter-final
No. 4 Blind River Beavers vs. No. 5 Elliot Lake Wildcats
Best-of-three series
Game 1: Friday, March 8 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Blind River Community Centre)
Game 2#: Sunday, March 10 @ Blind River 2 p.m. (Blind River Community Centre)
Game 3*: Monday, March 11 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Blind River Community Centre)
*-if necessary
#-Elliot Lake home team