By Matt Stefano
With the NOJHL officially on Christmas break until January 2nd, there are three members of the Soo Thunderbirds hockey club who will be heading into the new year with different jerseys on until the World Juniors Hockey Tournament is complete.
Goaltender Brian Kment is currently serving as a backup to Hounds rookie net-minder Joseph Raaymakers who is filling in for starting goaltender and New York Rangers 2014 second round pick Brandon Halverson who is playing for team USA. The eighteen year old Traverse City, Michigan native is the first Soo Greyhound member to suit of for the Americans since goaltender and Dallas Stars 2010 first rounder Jack Campbell in 2012. Kment, who is a Hounds free agent, currently has nine wins and four losses this season with the T-Birds along with a 2.91 goals against average and a .899 save percentage.
Hounds 2014 second round pick Boris Katchouk has played three games so far with the Greyhounds and is filling in upfront for Sergey Tolchinsky who is currently playing for Team Russia and Tim Gettinger who is at the Four Nations Tournament for Team USA. Also to mention Hounds captain and defenseman Darnell Nurse who is playing for Team Canada. Tolchinsky, who is in his third season with the Hounds currently has 191 career points making the Moscow, Russia product the highest scoring import player in Hounds history ahead of the late Josef Vasicek who had 128 career points. Sergey also becomes the first Russian in Greyhound history to suit up for his home country while Edmonton Oilers 2013 first rounder Darnell Nurse becomes the first Greyhound to suit up for Team Canada since Wayne Simmonds, Josh Godfrey and former head coach Craig Hartsburg back in 2008.
Katchouk, who was selected thirty third overall by the Hounds before Raaymakers who went thirty seventh in this year’s OHL Priority Selection has put up five goals and twelve points through thirteen games since being reassigned to the T-Birds. During his trio of games with the Hounds, the Vancouver, BC native has nine penalty minutes including one fight.
The other T-Bird who will be seeing more OHL action until January 4th is rookie forward Nick Sicoly. The sixteen year old Soo native who doesn’t turn seventeen until January 5th, currently leads all NOJHL 1998 birth year players in scoring with thirteen goals and thirty one points through twenty nine games. Sicoly suited up for his first game on November 29th, 2014 with Guelph as they took on his home team Soo Greyhounds at the Essar Centre. With Robby Fabbri currently with Team Canada at the World Juniors, Sicoly is expected to log more minutes with the Storm as the OHL officially resumes action tomorrow on December 28th.
So with Kment, Katchouk and Sicoly called up by their OHL clubs, the Thunderbirds have one 2013-2014 graduate who is currently in his first full Ontario Hockey League season. After spending last season with the Thunderbirds during 2013-2014 scoring four goals and ten points through thirty one games, defenseman Medric Mercier has one goal and seven points this season through twenty three games. On the other hand T-Birds grad Nick Pastorious is currently in his second full OHL season and first full one with the Barrie Colts. Pastorious spent one season with the Thunderbirds during 2012-2013 scoring four goals and eleven points along with thirty penalty minutes through twenty games.