SUDBURY, Ont. – As tightly-contested semifinal action in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League gets set to resume this evening on two fronts, a number of NOJHL players have already, or will be, making commitments to both compete at the next level as well as further their education in 2018-19.
Be it the NCAA, U-Sports or the Canadian Hockey League ranks, the NOJHL will look to increase its ever-growing list of alumni who have made the next step in their careers, both on the ice and scholastically.
Last season the NOJHL had 40 of its players move on with college or CHL commitments.
The following is an initial list of those in the league this season who committed or signed with schools or teams for 2018-19:
Jackson Heacock, (F) – Anna Maria College (NCAA)
The 20-year-old Rochester Hills, Mich., product saw action in 54 games under coach Tom McCarthy in Espanola this season.
In those outings, he tallied three times and added eight assists, which included a two-goal night at the Soo Eagles back on February 23.
Anna Maria College in located in Paxton, Mass., and the AMCATS will begin their first season of men’s hockey in 2018-19 and will compete as an independent in their inaugural campaign.
From there they will look to be accepted into an established conference in time for the 2019-20 season.
FRENCH RIVER RAPIDS
Levi Siau, (F) – Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
As a rookie forward with French River, the soon to be 17-year-old from Thunder Bay, Ont., led the Rapids in both goals and points with 22 and 48 respectively to go along with 26 assists.
His totals tied him for third in tallies among rookies while also ending up ninth in offensive production among first-year skaters.
Having earlier committed to the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League, who selected him in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, Siau saw action with the club during the year by dressing nine times and picking up one assist.
He was one of a number of NOJHL alumni who played for the Wolves at various points of the season.
Jacob Partridge, (F) – Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Playing at nearly a point-per-game pace for Rayside-Balbour, Partridge picked up 50 in 54 contests with 17 goals and 33 helpers to his credit to lead all rookies on the Canadians.
Heading into Game 3 tonight vs. the Soo Thunderbirds in the West Division Final, the 16-year-old from Barrie, Ont., has two playoff assists to his credit.
Partridge signed with Peterborough of the OHL earlier in the campaign and made four appearances with the Petes this season but was held off the scoresheet in his brief initial tenure.
MacKenzie Savard, (G) – Laurentian University (OUA)
Savard was stellar in net for the Canadians in the first half of the season where he produced 12 wins in 19 appearances and had a 2.34 goals-against average along with a solid .936 save percentage.
Having an opportunity to make the jump up to the OUA ranks with the Laurentian Voyageurs, the 20-year-old from Dowling, Ont., Savard made his first university appearance back on January 6 against Nipissing and had a 36-save performance in a 2-1 victory in his debut.
In all he went 6-5 for the Voyageurs with a 3.10 average and a .915 save mark.
Giordano Finoro, (F) – Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Finoro’s NOJHL debut was a memorable one as he proceeded to score five times in his first league contest back on September 29 in a road win at Espanola.
Following one more game, he signed on with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
In the QMJHL, the 19-year-old Guelph, Ont., native picked up 39 points on 16 goals and 23 assists and was also a plus-15 along the way.
He had one helper in five postseason match-ups.
Owen Kipke, (D) – Trine University (NCHA)
The Eagles first NCAA commitment is forward Owen Kipke.
He will be off to Trine University in Indiana where the school just completed their first season in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association.
The now 21-year-old defenceman had an injury-shortened season and was limited to 32 games for the Eagles where he scored five times and helped set-up nine others.
One of the Northville, Mich., product’s markers was a game-winner for the Soo.
Alex Acosta, (F) – Northland College (NCHA)
The 20-year-old from Etobicoke, Ont., will be off to Ashland, Wis., in the fall to attend school at Northland College and skate for the Lumberjacks’ men’s program.
In 54 regular season games with the Thunderbirds, Acosta collected 37 points that featured 16 goals and 21 assists.
Three of his tallies were game-winners, which tied him for fourth in that department on his club while his overall goal total was third-best on the team.
Camaryn Baber, (F) – Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
A third-round selection of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit, Baber skated in 11 games with that team in 2017-18 and had a goal and two assists in his time there.
In NOJHL play, skating for his hometown team, Baber, who turns 17 today, was a point-per-game performer with 46 in as many outings.
He scored 15 times and doled out 31 assists to finish second on the squad in offensive numbers with the Thunderbirds
Baber also had a goal and set-up another in four playoff contests prior to being injured.
Further NOJHL commitments will be announced by the league once they are submitted by the league’s member clubs and confirmed.