Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the recipients of four of the league’s annual awards following the conclusion of the 2016-17 regular season.
Offensively, Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters captured the league’s scoring title earning the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy along with the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy presented to the Top Scoring Right Winger. The other two awards recognize defensive efforts including the Dave Pinkney Trophy for the goaltending tandem of the team with the fewest goals against won by Owen Sound Attack netminder Michael McNiven and Emanuel Vella, and the F.W “Dinty” Moore Trophy awarded to Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds as the rookie with the best goals-against-average.
Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy (Scoring Champion) and Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy (Top Scoring Right Winger): Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters:
Alex DeBrincat recorded 65 goals and 62 assists for 127 points in 63 games to lead all OHL players in regular season scoring.
The 19-year-old from Farmington Hills, Michigan, delivered a multitude of scoring records over the course of the 2016-17 campaign helping the Otters capture their second straight Hamilton Spectator Trophy, third straight Midwest Division crown, and record fourth straight 50 win season.
His 65 goals represent a new Erie Otters single season record after cementing his position as the first player since Dale McCourt (1974-77) to record three-straight 50-goal seasons and matching Mike Ricci’s 1988 mark with goals in 19 consecutive games. DeBrincat also became just the eighth player in the league’s modern era to record three-straight 100-point seasons, and the third Otter to reach the prestigious 300 career-point milestone. In 191 career games over three seasons, the undrafted free agent signee has scored 167 goals and 165 assists for 332 points. He is the Otters all-time leading goal scorer and the leading American goal scorer in OHL history.
The second round pick of the Blackhawks in the 2016 NHL Draft is the third Otter to earn the league’s scoring title doing so in a span of four years following Dylan Strome (2014-15) and Connor Brown (2013-14). In addition to the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy, Brown was also the club’s first Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy recipient.
The Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy was donated by the Toronto Marlboro Athletic Club in memory of Eddie Powers and was first awarded in 1945-46 to Tod Sloan of St. Michael’s who scored 79 points in 25 games. Kevin Labanc of the Barrie Colts was last year’s recipient with 127 points in 65 games including 39 goals and 88 assists. Other notable winners include Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin who tied for the league’s scoring title before being chosen first and second overall respectively in 2010, while fellow first overall NHL picks John Tavares (2009), and Patrick Kane (2007) are also recent winners.
The Jim Mahon Trophy was first presented following the 1971-72 season by the players and management of the Peterborough Petes in memory of their right winger Jim Mahon who was accidentally killed that summer. Labanc was also the 2015-16 recipient.
Dave Pinkney Trophy (Lowest Team Goals Against): Michael McNiven and Emanuel Vella, Owen Sound Attack
The Owen Sound Attack allowed the fewest goals in the OHL this season with just 177 against, backstopped by the tandem of Michael McNiven and Emanuel Vella.
McNiven, a 19-year-old from Georgetown, ON, led the league with a 2.30 goals-against-average and finished the 2016-17 campaign with a .915 save percentage in 54 games. The Montreal Canadiens prospect carried a record of 41-9-2-2 which led the league in wins and also set an Attack single season record. His six shutouts were tied for a league-high and brought his career total to 11 which is also a new franchise mark. Vella, an 18-year-old from Toronto, ON, played eight games for the Attack posting a 5-2-0-0 record with a goals-against-average 3.21 and save percentage of .863 after being acquired from the London Knights in November.
2016-17 marks the best season in franchise history for the Attack with a 49-15-2-2 record for 102 points surpassing their previous best of 46 wins and 97 points set in their 2011 OHL Championship season.
The Dave Pinkney Trophy is awarded annually to the goaltending tandem from the team that allows the fewest goals against during the regular season. Last season, the London Knights allowed 182 goals against with the award presented to Tyler Parsons and Brendan Burke.
The 2012-13 Attack tandem of Jordan Binnington and Brandon Hope allowed just 165 goals against to claim the club’s only other Dave Pinkney Trophy in Owen Sound history.
F.W. “Dinty” Moore Trophy (Best Rookie GAA): Matthew Villalta, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Matthew Villalta had the best goals-against-average among OHL rookie goaltenders in 2016-17 with a mark of 2.41 for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds who captured their third West Division title in four years.
Not only did his 2.41 GAA lead all rookies, it was the fifth lowest across the entire league, and set a new Greyhounds record besting Kyle Gajewski’s 2.44 mark in 2007-08.
A 17-year-old from Godfrey, ON, Villalta committed to the Greyhounds prior to the 2016-17 campaign after competing last season as a member of the Greater Kingston AAA Midget Hockey Club. The rookie played in 33 games this season carrying a record of 25-3-0-0 including one shutout with a save percentage of .918 while posting 16-straight victories from September 24 to February 10. His 25 wins are the most by a 17-year-old OHL rookie in 10 years following Mississauga’s Andrew Loverock (31) and Guelph’s Thomas McCollum (26) in 2006-07.
The trophy is named after F.W. “Dinty” Moore of Port Colborne, ON, who served as OHA President from 1942-45. In order to qualify for this rookie award, a goaltender must play a minimum of 900 minutes. Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires won the award last season with a 2.45 goals-against-average.
Villalta is the fifth Greyhound to win the award following Gajewski (2004-05), Kevin Hodson (1990-91), Gerry Iuliano (1983-84), and John Vanbiesbrouck (1980-81).