As the sports league shutdown will continue until at least January 26, this is a perfect time to take a look at how the first half of the 2021-2022 hockey season has gone for some of the local Junior clubs.

Last week I took a look at the Clarence Castors, so we will stick with the National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) this week and feature the Vankleek Hill Cougars and St-Isidore Eagles. Next week we will switch over to Junior A and the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) for a glimpse at the Hawkesbury Hawks and Rockland Nationals.

Cougars bounce back from poor start

The Vankleek Hill Cougars got off to a horrible start this season, with only two wins in the team’s first seven games. But the young team developed and turned things around as the season progressed, finishing out the first half of the season in sixth place with a record of 9-9-1 and closing in on fifth-place St-Isidore.

Forward Justin Chaumont has been a huge bright spot for the Cougars and leads the team in scoring, with 15 goals and 21 assists for 36 points. He sits second overall among the top scorers in the league.

Nathan Sauve ranks second in team scoring with nine goals and 10 assists, while Joshua Renaud is right behind with 10 goals and six assists.

In goal, Charles Paré has posted an outstanding record of 5-2, with a GAA of 2.89. Frederick Duroucher-Bourdon’s record of 2-7 has been due to some tough luck, as he has played more minutes than Paré and also has an excellent GAA of 3.07.

The Cougars have slowly reeled in St-Isidore in the battle for fifth place in the NCJHL and sported a record of six wins and four losses in their last 10 games of the first half.

St-Isidore Eagles feature balanced scoring

The Eagles have used balanced scoring from their top players to post a winning record of 9-7-2, for 20 points and sit alone in fifth place in the NCJHL.

Forward Alexandre Elie leads the way for St.Isidore in points, notching 11 goals and 10 assists in 15 games played. But right behind Elie is Cedric Hughes, with 19 points on seven goals and 12 assists. Alexi Gaudreau sits a close third on the team in points, with nine goals and nine assists.

In net, the team has split time almost equally between its two goaltenders. Joshua Ivanski sports a 5-3-1 record and a 3.34 GAA, while Sebastien Plamondon has 3-4-1-1 record in net, with a 3.20 GAA.

The Eagles stumbled a bit late in the first half, posting a record of 4-5-1 in their last 10 games before the break. They will be looking to come out strong when the season is able to resume.

QMJHL welcomes first female official

From the ‘it’s about time’ file: The Québec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) has hired its first female official. Longueuil native Élizabeth Mantha will be joining the league’s officiating staff for the second half of the 2021-22 regular season schedule – becoming the first woman to officiate in the QMJHL.

Mantha has five seasons of experience with Hockey Quebec’s Elite Officials Provincial Program. She has also officiated at the provincial level for Quebec’s men’s Under-18 and Junior AAA leagues, as well as at the collegiate level.

Former Hawks players shine

For those who have followed the Hawkesbury Hawks over the years, here is an update on how the first half of the 2021-2022 season has gone so far for some former Hawks players who are playing hockey overseas and across North America.

Tyler Boivin has seven goals and nine assists for a total of 16 points in 16 games played with Soderhamn/Ljusne HC Division 2 Sweden this season.

Vincent Crivello has six goals and 5 assists in 12 games with Chambery A France 2. Crivello also has 33 penalty minutes and -4 plus/minus rating.

Nathan Sanderson has played 14 games and recorded five assists and four penalty minutes with with Boro/Vetlanda HC Division 2 Sweden so far this year.

Dovar Tinling, who returned to Junior hockey after leaving the Vermont Catamounts last month, potted two goals in his first game with USHL Des Moines Buccaneers.

Former Hawks metminder Matthew Petizian has played 11 games for the SUNY Geneseo NCAA III squad, posting a stellar 1.40 goals against average (GAA) and recording eight wins against just one loss.

Another former Hawks goaltender, Nick Stofcheck, is with the Milwaukee School of Engineering Raiders NCAA Division III this season. Stofcheck has a 4.08 GAA in eight games, with one win and four losses.

Ryan Bunka is with SUNY-Oswego NCAA Division III this season and has notched a goal and two assists in 11 games, with six penalty minutes.

Finally, Johnny Kovacevic is playing pro hockey with the Manitoba Moose in the American Hockey League this season. The former Hawks defenceman has played in 25 games, scoring five goals with six assists and 14 minutes in penalties.

Known as Vankleek Hill’s Sports Authority, Mackenzie Hinton writes regular sports updates on his popular Facebook page. Mac is the statistician for the Vankleek Hill Cougars and Hawkesbury Hawks Junior hockey clubs. His column appears weekly in The Review.