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Beavers’ Balkwill; Thunderbirds’ Young; Lumberjacks’ Oxner earn Eastlink TV 3 Stars of the Week laurels

SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Monday that defencemen Nathan Balkwill (Blind River Beavers) and Warner Young (Soo Thunderbirds) along with goaltender Liam Oxner (Hearst Lumberjacks) have been named its Eastlink TV 3 Stars of the Week for the period ending Dec. 8.

NATHAN BALKWILL, (D) BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Appearing in both of Blind River’s match-ups over the weekend, Balkwill recorded five assists helping the Beavers secure two wins and move back into first place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.

The 19-year-old defenceman from Coldwater, Ont., had a season-high three helpers in a victory over Elliot Lake then finished up with two more assists, that featured setting up the game-winner, as Blind River went on to skate past the Soo Eagles.

Balkwill is presently playing at a point-per-game pace for the Beavers on the campaign with 33 in as many contests with his 29 assists lead all NOJHL rearguards.

WARNER YOUNG, (D) SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Suiting up in all three Thunderbirds games over the time frame, Young produced points in each outing, while his defensive zone play helped Sault Ste. Marie skate to a trio of triumphs.

A native of Newberry, Mich., the 19-year-old blueliner began with an assist in an overtime win over Rayside-Balfour Wednesday.

Two nights later he notched his first NOJHL goal in a decision over the rival Soo Eagles.

Young then capped off his efforts by tallying twice more, including picking up the game-winner, and dished out a helper as the Thunderbirds topped Elliot Lake.

He’s currently fifth in offensive production among league D-men with 23 points on three markers and 20 assists.

LIAM OXNER, (G) HEARST LUMBERJACKS – Getting the starting nod for Hearst in both of their contests last week, the 18-year-old from Halifax, N.S., picked up victories in both of them.

Following a triumph over Espanola on Friday, he turned aside 30 of the 31 shots he faced to backstop the Lumberjacks to a triumph over the league-leading Powassan Voodoos Saturday at Claude Larose Arena.

Having won each of his past five appearances, Oxner sits second among all NOJHL goaltenders in wins with 16 and sports a 2.39 goals-against average along with a .918 save percentage and one shutout.

Eastlink TV 3 Stars

Week 1
Stephen Minichiello, (F) Cochrane Crunch
Owen Say, (G) Powassan Voodoos
Caleb Serre, (F) Blind River Beavers

Week 2
Gabinien Kioki, (F) Powassan Voodoos
Lucas Adams, (F) Blind River Beavers
Max Griffioen, (F) Hearst Lumberjacks

Week 3
Caleb Serre, (F) Blind River Beavers
Shane Brancato, (G) Soo Eagles
Matthew Belanger, (F) Rayside-Balfour Canadians

Week 4
Parker Bowman, (F) Powassan Voodoos
Mitchell Martin, (F) Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Landis Antonic, (F) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners

Week 5
Blake Vaca, (F) Soo Eagles
Gregory Trudeau-Paquet, (F) Powassan Voodoos
Derek Seguin, (F) Timmins Rock

Week 6
Nicholas DeGrazia, (F) Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Matais Salem, (D) Espanola Express
Liam Oxner, (G) Hearst Lumberjacks

Week 7
Rahul Bola, (G) Hearst Lumberjacks
Tyler Savard, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Tomas Yachmenev, (F) Powassan Voodoos

Week 8
Owen Say, (G) Powassan Voodoos
Connor Taylor, (F) Elliot Lake Wildcats
David Bowen, (G) Rayside-Balfour Canadians

Week 9
Nick Smith, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Spencer Silver, (F) Hearst Lumberjacks
Jackson Hjelle, (G) Blind River Beavers

Week 10
Gregory Trudeau-Paquet, (F) Powassan Voodoos
Joel Brandinger, (F) Soo Eagles
Chase Johnson, (G) French River Rapids

Week 11
Caleb Wood, (F) Soo Eagles
Jacob Kovacs, (F) Soo Thunderbirds
Alex Cannon, (F) Hearst Lumberjacks

Week 12
Caleb Serre, (F) Blind River Beavers
Phil Caron, (D) Timmins Rock
Joel Brandinger, (F) Soo Eagles

Week 13
Brady Maltais, (F) Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Max Griffioen, (F) Hearst Lumberjacks
Seiji Martone, (F) Powassan Voodoos

Week 14
Nathan Balkwill, (D) Blind River Beavers
Warner Young, (D) Soo Thunderbirds
Liam Oxner, (G) Hearst Lumberjacks