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NOJHL announces 2016-17 award recipients

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL NETWORK MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Thursday, March 9, 2017

NOJHL announces 2016-17 award recipients
Powassan’s Nate McDonald named MVP

SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Thursday its regular season award winners for the 2016-17 campaign as well as its CCM Hockey first and second all-star team recipients.

Earning the NOJHL’s Carlo Cattarello Trophy as league most valuable player is Powassan Voodoos goaltender Nate McDonald.

Among the other league award winners was Connor Lovie of the Cochrane Crunch, who was named the best defenceman, Rayside-Balfour’s Kyle Liinamaa earning rookie of the year accolades, Parker Bowman of Powassan securing top defensive forward honours and Blind River bench boss Kyle Brick being tabbed NOJHL coach of the year.

The following is the list of the 2016-17 NOJHL award winners:

CARLO CATTARELLO TROPHY – NOJHL MVP: NATE MCDONALD, POWASSAN VOODOOS – The 17-year-old North Bay, Ont., product was instrumental in leading Powassan to their first place finish in the overall NOJHL standings and their initial league regular season title in franchise history. … McDonald led all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 2.159 and wins with 30. He was also third in save percentage at .923 and finished tied for second in shutouts with three while playing the fourth-most minutes in the league at 2,112. McDonald was also a member of Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Cup Challenge and has committed to attend Niagara University and play NCAA D-I hockey on scholarship for the Purple Eagles in the fall.

NOJHL TROPHY – BEST DEFENCEMAN: CONNOR LOVIE, COCHRANE CRUNCH – Turning in a solid 2016-17 campaign on both ends of the ice, Lovie helped lead the Crunch to their second straight 35-plus win season. The 19-year-old London, Ont., native also serves as Cochrane’s captain. … Lovie produced single-season highs in goals, assists and points with six, 21 and 27 respectively, while providing a leadership and a strong presence on the Crunch blueline.

JOHN GRIGNON TROPHY – ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (1ST YEAR PLAYING JR. HOCKEY): KYLE LIINAMAA, RAYSIDE-BALFOUR CANADIANS – Suiting up in his first year in the NOJHL with Rayside-Balfour, the 18-year-old forward led the Canadians offensively averaging nearly a point-per-game with 53 in 56 outings on 12 goals and 41 assists. … He provided offensive contributions to 28% of the goals Rayside-Balfour scored this season. … Liinamaa also led all league rookies in assists and was second in points among first-year Jr. players.

GILLES LAPERRIERE TROPHY – MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: JAKE SAXTON, SOO EAGLES – The 2016-17 campaign saw Saxton easily surpass his offensive totals from a year ago. … Saxton, who turns 20 Friday, doubled his points from last season finishing up with 53 in 56 games. The Interlochen, Mich., native also set personal bests in goals with 22 and assists at 31.

MITCH TETREAULT MEMORIAL TROPHY – TOP DEFENSIVE FORWARD: PARKER BOWMAN, POWASSAN VOODOOS – Playing a strong two-way game on both ends of the ice, Bowman helped the Voodoos allow a league-low 121 goals against. … The 17-year-old, who hails from Bracebridge, Ont., also registered 30 points in 45 games as a rookie by scoring 16 times, including a shorthanded marker, and doling out 14 assists. … He also played for Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup.

WAYNE CHASE MEMORIAL AWARD – BEST GOALS-AGAINST AVERAGE: NATE MCDONALD, POWASSAN VOODOOS – The 17-year-old McDonald finished up with the best goals-against average in the NOJHL by the narrowest of margins posting a GAA of 2.159. He also led the league in wins with 30 was third in save percentage at .923 and finished tied for second in shutouts with three while playing the fourth-most minutes in the league at 2,112. McDonald was also a member of Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup and has committed to attend Niagara University and play NCAA D-I hockey on scholarship for the Purple Eagles in the fall.

NOJHL TEAM GOALTENDING AWARD (FEWEST GOALS ALLOWED) – POWASSAN VOODOOS  The Voodoos tandem of Nate McDonald and Andrew Suriano combined to allow the fewest goals against in regular season action at 121, which was just 2.16 given up per contest.

DAVID HARRISON TROPHY – MOST GENTLEMANLY PLAYER: ANTHONY BASTIANELLO, BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Earning the David Harrison Trophy as the NOJHL’s Most Gentlemanly Player is Blind River Beavers’ rookie forward Anthony Bastianello. …. In 54 games played, the 16-year-old Nobleton, Ont., native incurred just two minor penalties in total.  … He also contributed offensively with 18 points by scoring four times and helping set-up 14 others.

NOJHL TROPHY – BEST OVERALL TEAM PLAYER: MATTHEW CARUSO, SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds captain played a pivotal role in the club’s success all season long. … The 19-year-old Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., product also led the T-Birds in scoring for a second straight year. … In 54 games he scored 29 times and doled out 41 helpers for 70 points. … Caruso’s efforts saw him finish tied for seventh in league offensive numbers. … The Thunderbirds forward was 11th in tallies, tied for sixth in assists and shared fifth overall in game-winning markers with six while also playing extremely well in all areas of the ice. … Caruso also skated for Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup.

JIMMY CONNORS MEMORIAL TROPHY – NOJHL SCORING CHAMPION: BRAEDEN CROSS, COCHRANE CRUNCH – In the final league regular season statistics, Cross paced all NOJHL skaters in offensive production with 82 points after scoring 37 goals and supplying 45 assists. … The Sechelt, B.C., product, who is in his final year of junior hockey, was also named a league CCM Hockey second team all-star at left wing. … Earlier this season Cross participated at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup in Cornwall, Ont., as a member of Team NOJHL.

MIRL “RED” MCCARTHY MEMORIAL AWARD – NOJHL COACH OF THE YEAR: KYLE BRICK, BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – The first-year Blind River bench boss led the Beavers to a franchise record for wins in a season with 32. …Under Brick’s guidance the Beavers posted 22 more victories and 44 more points than the club did in 2015-16. … Blind River also placed second in the league’s West Division and fifth overall in the 12-team NOJHL with a solid 32-20-4-0 mark. … Brick earlier served as an assistant coach for Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup.

THE JOE DRAGO TROPHY – NOJHL EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR: BRUNO BRAGAGNOLO, SOO EAGLES – Bragagnolo was recognized with the Joe Drago Trophy as NOJHL Executive of the Year for his efforts with the Soo Eagles organization. … Off the ice, his efforts and preparations helped the Eagles finish second in the league in average attendance with over 600 fans visiting Pullar Stadium on a per-game basis. … Bragagnolo also played a pivotal role in the formation of the Eagles roster that raised both their win and point totals from a year ago.

JAMES ASPIN TROPHY – NOJHL REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONS: POWASSAN VOODOOS – The Voodoos captured their first-ever regular season crown finishing with a league-best 95 points along with a 46-7-2-1 record.

GARY HALL MEMORIAL AWARD – NOJHL EAST CHAMPION: POWASSAN VOODOOS – The season totals also helped Powassan claim the NOJHL East Division title.

WILLIAM SIDNEY JONES MEMORIAL TROPHY – NOJHL WEST CHAMPION: SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds claimed their fourth straight West Division crown by finishing with 43-11-1-1 overall record. Sault Ste. Marie also concluded the regular season with 12 consecutive victories and was unbeaten in 16 by picking up 15 triumphs and one tie.

T.B.A. AWARDS

NOJHL SCHOLASTIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR

NOJHL PLAYOFF MVP

NOJHL PLAYOFF CHAMPION

The NOJHL also announced Thursday its CCM Hockey first and second all-star team recipients with the players and team staff members being recognized for their achievements, efforts and contributions with their respective clubs this season.

CCM HOCKEY 1ST ALL-STAR TEAM

CENTRE: ANDY BAKER, POWASSAN VOODOOS – After playing Jr. C last season, the 17-year-old Baker made an impressive jump to the Jr. A ranks where he starred for the Voodoos. … The Port Carling, Ont., product led all NOJHL skaters in goals with 45 and finished fourth overall in scoring with 75 points. … Baker also tied for the league-lead in power play markers with 14 and finished second in game-winning tallies with 10. … He posted a nine-game goal streak at one point during the season. … Baker was previously a member of Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup.

LEFT WING: YIANNI LIARAKOS, BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – An impressive force in the resurgence of the Blind River franchise can be attributed to the on-ice efforts of Liarakos. … The 20-year-old from Toronto paced the Beavers offensively and also finished tied for second in league scoring with 78 points. … Liarakos led the league in game-winning goals with 11 and was second overall in total markers with 39. … His 29 power play points topped all NOJHL skaters. … He also contributed to 36% of Blind River’s offensive numbers during the course of the regular season. … Also among his contributions was a 16-game point streak earlier in the year.

RIGHT WING: GARY MANTZ, POWASSAN VOODOOS – Mantz made his mark throughout the season helping Powassan finish first overall in the standings. … He was fifth in the league in point-per-game average at 1.50 while accumulating 32 goals and 37 assists for 69 points. … Mantz also registered an eight-game goal streak along with a league season-high 20-game point run earlier in the campaign. … He also suited up at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup for Team NOJHL.

DEFENCE: CONNOR LOVIE, COCHRANE CRUNCH – Turning in a solid 2016-17 campaign on both ends of the ice, Lovie helped lead the Crunch to their second straight 35-plus win season. The 19-year-old London, Ont., native also serves as Cochrane’s captain. … Lovie produced single-season highs in goals, assists and points with six, 21 and 27 respectively, while providing a leadership and a strong presence on the Crunch blueline.

DEFENCE: JOSH DEJULIO, IROQUOIS FALLS ESKIS – Dejulio led all NOJHL defencemen in scoring this season, averaging over a point-per-game with 56 in 54 outings on 11 goals and a league-best 45 assists. … Skating for his hometown Iroquois Falls side, Dejulio also supplied 24 power play points along with two game-winning efforts. The 20-year-old D-man also shattered personal single-season totals in goals, assists, points and man advantage markers.

GOALTENDER: NATE MCDONALD, POWASSAN VOODOOS – The 17-year-old North Bay, Ont., product was instrumental in leading Powassan to their first place finish in the overall NOJHL standings and their initial league regular season title in franchise history. … McDonald led all NOJHL netminders in goals-against average at 2.159 and wins with 30. He was also third in save percentage at .923 and finished tied for second in shutouts with three while playing the fourth-most minutes in the league at 2,112. McDonald was also a member of Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Cup Challenge and has committed to attend Niagara University and play NCAA D-I hockey on scholarship for the Purple Eagles in the fall.

GENERAL MANAGER: CHRIS DAWSON, POWASSAN VOODOOS – Dawson garners CCM Hockey first team all-star accolades for a second consecutive season.  … He continues to be a vital cog to the overall success of the Powassan Voodoos organization. … Dawson remains hands-on in many areas for the club and has done a tremendous job in boosting the club’s success, which saw them register franchise highs in wins and points in 2016-17 and finishing first overall in the league standings. … He was also recognized for his tremendous efforts in team management, player recruitment, media relations, day-to-day operations, video work and generating additional exposure for both the team and the NOJHL.

COACH: KYLE BRICK, BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – The first-year Blind River bench boss led the Beavers to a franchise record for wins in a season at 32. …Under Brick’s guidance the Beavers posted 22 more victories and 44 more points than the club did in 2015-16. … Blind River also placed second in the league’s West Division and fifth overall in the 12-team NOJHL with a solid 32-20-4-0 mark.

TRAINER/EQUIPMENT MANAGER: J.J. JOHNSON, POWASSAN VOODOOS – Earns CCM Hockey first team all-star laurels for his work with league-leading Powassan. …Johnson also served as one of the trainers/equipment managers for Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup this past November in Cornwall, Ont.

CCM HOCKEY 2ND ALL-STAR TEAM

CENTRE: MATTHEW CARUSO, SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The Thunderbirds captain played a pivotal role in the club’s success all season long. … The 19-year-old Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., product led the T-Birds in scoring for a second straight year. … In 54 games he scored 29 times and doled out 41 helpers for 70 points. … Caruso’s efforts saw him finish tied for seventh in league offensive numbers. … The Thunderbirds forward was 11th in tallies, tied for sixth in assists and shared fifth overall in game-winning markers with six while playing extremely well in all areas of the ice. … Caruso was  a member of Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup.

LEFT WING: BRAEDEN CROSS, COCHRANE CRUNCH – In his final year of junior hockey and first with Cochrane, Cross collected 82 points to lead the NOJHL in offensive production. … From Sechelt, B.C., the Crunch forward scored 37 times and assisted on 45 others. … Cross also recorded 27 power play points and three game-winning goals. … He too was a member of Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup.

RIGHT WING: SHADOW REUBEN, IROQUOIS FALLS ESKIS – A sensational sophomore season in the league saw the 18-year-old from Moosenee, Ont., shatter his offensive totals from a year ago. … Reuben ended up tied for second in NOJHL scoring with 78 points, which included 33 tallies and 45 helpers. … The Iroquois Falls forward boasted a 13-game point streak during the season.

DEFENCE: COLE PECK, BLIND RIVER BEAVERS – Anchoring the Blind River defensive corps, Peck played a big part in the club’s success in both ends of the ice in 2016-17. … The 20-year-old Ottawa, Ont., native led the Beavers in scoring among D-men with 31 in 49 games by scoring four times, including one game-winner, and assisting on 27 others. … Peck was sixth in scoring among all league rearguards. … He was one of the Team NOJHL defencemen at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup.

DEFENCE: JAKE BEHSE, SOO THUNDERBIRDS – A stalwart on the Thunderbirds blueline, Behse contributed to the overall success of his team in all areas. … While helping anchor Sault Ste. Marie from the back-end, Behse, who turned 20 earlier this year, had career single-season numbers with the T-Birds. … Hailing from Thunder Bay, Ont., the Soo D-man scored six times and helped set-up 21 more for 27 points. … Behse was previously a member of Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup.

GOALTENDER: AL ROGERS, TIMMINS ROCK – The veteran 20-year-old netminder played the most minutes of any goaltender in the league in 2016-17 at 2,221. … After starting the season with the French River Rapids, Rogers was acquired by the Timmins Rock where he went on to post 16 victories and a tie. … The North Haven, Conn., native also went 11-4-0-1 since January 1. … Rogers had a .911 save percentage and one shutout since joining the Rock.

GENERAL MANAGER: PAUL GAGNE, TIMMINS ROCK – A staple in the NOJHL, Gagne is the longest serving general manager and head coach in the league. … His contributions off the ice in recruiting the Rock roster as well as leading them behind the bench helped Timmins improve their win totals from a year ago by seven as well as raise their point totals by 17.

COACH: SCOTT WRAY, POWASSAN VOODOOS – In his third year as head coach of the Voodoos, Wray guided his club to the best record in the NOJHL and a second straight 40-plus-win season… His efforts as bench boss with Powassan saw his side improve their point totals for another year. … Wray also served as head coach for Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Cup Challenge Cup.

TRAINER/EQUIPMENT MANAGER: CARLA VINE, KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – A key component to the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners success is through the efforts of Vine. … She continues to be one of the top team trainers in the league and is a multiple league all-star team award recipient.

ABOUT CCM HOCKEY: CCM is the legendary hockey brand that has been rooted in performance for over a century. CCM Hockey offers the innovation and performance that will help write the next chapter in the history of the game. Your legend starts here. For more information on CCM Hockey, visit their website at ccmhockey.com or on social media at twitter.com/CCMHockey or facebook.com/CCMHockey.

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