Sunday, April 15, 2007


The Soo Indians have put a title touch to an improbable first season in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

The Indians will represent the NOJHL as league champs at the Dudley Hewitt Cup Central Canada Championships, scheduled for April 24-28 in Iroquois Falls, Ontario.

Purchased by Charles Perdicaro last summer just as the former Northern Michigan Black Bears franchise was about to be mothballed, the all-new Indians eventually had a strong finish to the '06-07 NOJHL regular season, which resulted in them snaring first place on the final night of the schedule.

Then, after a first-round playoff bye, the Indians defeated the North Bay Skyhawks in seven games in the semi-finals before ousting the defending champion Sudbury Kal Tire Jr. Wolves in five games in the finals, culminating with a 5-4 home-ice win at Big Bear Arena on Saturday night.

Trailing 4-3 after two periods, the Indians tied the game early in the third and then won it on Sean Farley's timely tally with just under five minutes to play.

The Indians started to come together with 20 games left in the regular season when Kevin Cain took over as head coach from the fired Jim Capy. Under Cain's steady hand, the Indians posted a 14-6 record, including a 9-2 mark down the stretch to vault from third place to first.

"The best move I ever made as owner of this team was the day I decided to make the coaching change and to bring Kevin aboard," Perdicaro said evenly.

On a team without stars, the Indians do have leaders, including former Black Bears Farley, Isaac Viau, Pete Landem and J.D. King.

Farley is the team's main goal-scoring threat, Viau, the captain is all about hustle and desire, Landem is arguably the Indians' top defenceman and King, a defender, is one of the more-popular players in the dressing room.

In winning the NOJHL title, the Indians did so with a top-notch goaltending tandem of Elliott Hogue and Brennan Poderzay. Hogue is another holdover from the Northern Michigan franchise.

"We are who we are because we work hard and play as a team," said Cain, who gets considerable help behind the bench from assistants Al DiPasquo and Warren Lavoy.

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