Undefeated after five games, Thunder Bay North Stars currently find themselves in a position not seen for quite some time. It has been six years since the team last won a SIJHL championship in 2010, their fifth league title overall. After back-to-back victories over defending champion Fort Frances Lakers, optimism is high.
A young roster last season saw many ups-and-downs, finishing third in the league standings behind Dryden and Fort Frances. Many of the key contributors are back this season and their experience is showing.
Nicholas Nigro led the team in scoring last year and is off to a great start so far scoring seven goals and three assists for a team-high 10 points. Other veteran returners include Brad Arabia, Kris Hamlin, Joe Newhouse, Jesse Talakoski and Brad Thrower.
Tyler Minoletti is another veteran who was acquired in the off season from the Cochrane Crunch. Former North Stars forward Ryan Walsh is also back after one season with the Elmira Sugar Kings.
Several newcomers have contributed already, including Thunder Bay Kings AAA alumni Jett Leishman, Shayne McKay, Carter Pellerin and Hayden Johnston among others in the nearly all-Thunder Bay born roster.
In net the North Stars lost two top performers in Riley Corbin and Eric Mann, but with the return of Nathaniel Dupuis (3-0; 2.67 GAA, .923 save%), who played Junior B last season, and addition of American Dan Demaria (2-0; 2.88 GAA, .918 save%) Thunder Bay seemed to have reloaded.
Next up for the North Stars is a Wednesday night clash with Dryden Ice Dogs, who were preseason favorites to win the league. Game time at Fort William Gardens is scheduled for 7:30 PM.
— TBay North Stars (@TBNorthStars) October 3, 2016