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NOJHL West Division quarter-final series preview: Soo Eagles vs. Espanola Express

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL NETWORK MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Friday, March 11, 2016

NOJHL West Division quarter-final series preview: Soo Eagles vs. Espanola Express

SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs will commence Friday evening in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., as the Soo Eagles host the Espanola Express in Game 1 of their West Division quarter-final series at 7:30 p.m. at Pullar Stadium.

Game 2 in the best-of-three affair goes Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. with the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex serving as the venue.

Should a third and deciding contest be required, it is scheduled for Monday evening at 8 p.m. back at Pullar Stadium.

Here’s a breakdown on how the two teams match-up.

The Eagles and Express met four times during the course of the regular season with Sault Ste. Marie winning three times while Espanola captured one contest.

Their first meeting was back on Oct. 25 with the Eagles winning 2-1 in Espanola.

The Soo also won again at the Express on Jan. 15 by a 9-3 count.

The two sides then split their two meeting at Pullar Stadium with Espanola coming away victorious by a 5-3 margin on Feb. 13 before the Eagles capped off the season set with a 6-2 triumph on March 1.

Landon Hubbard paced the Soo in scoring vs. the Express with five points while Roman Gaudet had four.

Joel Grandbois and Dominick Lavergne were the top point producers for Espanola with five apiece. All five of Grandbois’ points were goals while Lavergne scored once and dished out four assists.

All three Eagles netminders, in Jack Deines, Jack Hickey and Cam Bruggrabe picked up victories over the Express.

Kevin Labelle had the lone triumph for the Express.

In overall regular season action, the Eagles finished fourth in the NOJHL West with a 22-30-0-2 record while Espanola was fifth at 12-39-3-0.

Gaudet paced the Soo in points with 42 in just 29 outings on 17 tallies and 25 assists.

The offensive leader for the Express was Grandbois as the rookie forward picked up 38 points, including a team-high 21 goals.

In net, Labelle had 10 victories for Espanola while Deines paced the Eagles in triumphs with 11.

The winner of this series will meet the NOJHL regular season title holder and No. 1 seeded Soo Thunderbirds in West Division semifinal play in a best-of-seven series.

NOJHL quarter-final playoff schedule
West Division
No. 4 Soo Eagles vs. No. 5 Espanola Express
Best-of-three series
Game 1: Friday, March 11 @ Soo Eagles 7:30 p.m. (Pullar)
Game 2: Sunday, March 13 @ Espanola 2 p.m. (Recreation Complex)
Game 3*: Monday, March 14 @ Soo Eagles 8 p.m. (Pullar)
*- if necessary