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NOJHL names its Eastlink TV 3 Stars of the week

SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Monday that goaltenders Joseph Benedetto of the Soo Eagles and Joe Vrbetic of the Powassan Voodoos along with Soo Thunderbirds defenceman Steven Bellini have been named its Eastlink TV 3 Stars of the Week for the period ending Sept. 23.

JOSEPH BENEDETTO, (G) SOO EAGLES – In three appearances last week he came away victorious in both of his starts and was spotless in relief in the other helping the Eagles record a pair of victories.

The 20-year-old netminder, who hails from Eliot, Maine, started with 23 stops in a triumph vs. Blind River, then handled all eight shots he saw in 23 minutes of work against Elliot Lake before posting his first NOJHL shutout, a 28-save performance, Sunday afternoon at the Beavers.

His combined efforts saw him record a 1.28 goals against average for the week while sporting a .952 save percentage.

JOE VRBETIC, (G) POWASSAN VOODOOS – Vrbetic, who turns 16 in another month, came up big for the Voodoos on the squad’s weekend road swing by winning both his starts.

The Dunvegan, Ont., native began by turning in an impressive 55-save effort Friday in backstopping Powassan to a 3-2 win at Cochrane.

Sunday afternoon he made another 31 stops in his side’s 4-3 overtime triumph at Timmins.

In all he finished his run during the time frame with a 2.40 GAA along with a save mark of .945.

Verbetic is currently 4-0 early in his tenure with Powassan, who were slotted 12th overall in the initial Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 rankings of the regular season.

STEVEN BELLINI, (D) SOO THUNDERBIRDS – Bellini picked up four points in two victories for the Thunderbirds over the weekend while also helping bolster the back-end for the No. 2 ranked club in the 133-team CJHL.

Skating for his hometown Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., side, the 18-year-old blueliner notched a pair of tallies, including notching the game-winner, and added an assist as the Thunderbirds won at Espanola Friday.

He then helped set-up the difference maker in the Soo’s home win vs. Elliot Lake Sunday.

Bellini enters play this week tied for the league lead in points among defenceman with seven as he has three goals and four assists to his credit.

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Eastlink TV 3 Stars

Week 1
David Campbell, (F) Powassan Voodoos
Mihali See, (F) Soo Eagles
Shayne Battler, (G) Cochrane Crunch

Week 2
Cade Herd, (F) Powassan Voodoos
Gregory Brassard, (G) Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Brendan Young, (F) Blind River Beavers

Week 3
Joseph Benedeto, (G) Soo Eagles
Joe Vrbetic, (G) Powassan Voodoos
Steven Bellini, (D) Soo Thunderbirds