March 06, 2012

67's Annual Awards Wrapup

by Alex Quevillon
On Monday Night, the Ottawa 67's players joined a number of fans as the team handed out their annual awards. Here were the winners:

Top Forward: Tyler Toffoli
Well, you’d figure it’s hard to name anyone else Forward of the Year when you have a guy who leads the league in goals and points. But it wasn’t necessarily a guaranteed prize for Toffoli. Shane Prince recently had his 22-game point streak snapped, as he sits fifth in the OHL in scoring. Sean Monahan was also a top-five scorer earlier in the year. But 48 goals and 44 assists in 59 games was simply too good for the 67’s to award anybody else this honour.

Top Two Way Player: Sean Monahan
Monahan has been one of Ottawa’s most prolific scorers all year despite a bit of a recent struggle. He’s also one of the 67’s top penalty killers, and if the OHL counted ice time, he would probably be hovering just under 30 minutes some nights. Perhaps the closest runner-up for this award could have been Nicholas Foglia, who has found a bit of a scoring touch and is without a doubt Ottawa’s best defencive forward. But then again, this is two way play, and Foglia’s 8 goals and 8 assists just don’t compare to Monahan’s 72 points.

Foglia did, however, get his own award, although he had to share it. He, along with Shane Prince and Shayne Campbell, were given the Brian Smith Award for Community Service.

Rookie Of The Year (Bill Patterson Award): Brett Gustavsen
Well, if Gustavsen counts as a rookie, then he certainly deserves it. Called up in February of last season, the 5’7 forward is pure heart. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in grit. He’s gone from a call-up/injury-fill in, to top-line left winger some nights, playing alongside Toffoli every now and then, in a span of a year. Gustavsen beats out a pair of true first-year players, defencemen Mike Vlajkov and Sean Callaghan.

Top Defenceman: Cody Ceci
Not enough good things can be said about Ceci’s draft year to this point. His game has improved mightily at both ends of the ice, as he’s added 15 goals and 41 assists. One of the last cuts from Team Canada’s Junior Squad, Ceci has been no slouch in his own end either. He may not be the biggest or most physical defenceman, but his stellar play has earned him this honour and a lot of attention heading into June’s draft. The next best candidates, arguably, were Ceci’s d-partner and Captain Marc-Anthony Zanetti, currently nursing an ankle injury, or Jake Cardwell, who played some of the best hockey of his OHL career in December and January.

I’ve said many times, and heard the same comment from numerous fans, that the Ottawa native should be the Captain next season if he returns from the NHL camp of whichever teams drafts him. It seems as though the players feel the same way, too, awarding Ceci the Player’s Choice Award, over Captain Zanetti and assistants Toffoli and Dalton Smith.

And the Booster Club Fan Favourite went to Petr Mrazek.

As enjoyable as the Awards Ceremony was for 67's players, it's back to business as they head to Kingston tomorrow night for the final matchup of the season against the Frontenacs. The schedule doesn't get any easier as the Barberpoles take on the Niagara Ice Dogs at home on Friday, a game which could decide the Eastern Conference.

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