Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Top OHL Performers of the Month for regular season games played in December 2022 including Kitchener Rangers forward Francesco Pinelli and Barrie Colts netminder Anson Thornton along with Saginaw Spirit teammates Pavel Mintyukov and Zayne Parekh.
OHL Player of the Month – Francesco Pinelli (Kitchener Rangers):
Los Angeles Kings prospect Francesco Pinelli of the Kitchener Rangers is the OHL Player of the Month for December, producing eight goals, 13 assists and 21 points in nine games along with a plus/minus rating of plus-12. The Rangers captain guided his team to a December mark of 6-2-2-0, registering points in eight of his nine outings, six of those yielding multiple points. The 6-foot-1, 185 Ib. centre logged three goals and an assist on Dec. 3rd in Guelph as the Rangers defeated the Storm 5-1. Pinelli’s high-scoring contributions continued in three consecutive mid-month contests, recording a goal and two helpers on Dec. 9th as the Rangers defeated the Niagara IceDogs 5-1. He posted a career-high five points with a goal and four assists at home on Dec. 16th as the Rangers shutout Sault Ste. Marie 9-0. His third consecutive multi-point showing came on Dec. 18th in Mississauga as Pinelli recorded a goal and two assists, helping Kitchener skate to a 5-1 win over the Steelheads. Pinelli becomes the first Rangers player to earn OHL Player of the Month honours since Greg Meireles in March 2019.
A 19-year-old native of Stoney Creek, Ont., Pinelli currently sits atop Rangers scoring with 43 points (21-22–43) in 27 games. His 1.59 points-per-game currently sit fourth in the OHL. Now in his third season with the Rangers, Pinelli has produced career totals that include 61 goals, 83 assists and 144 points in 141 regular season games. He was a second round (42nd overall) pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2021 NHL Draft, and signed a three-year entry level NHL contract with the club on Apr. 11, 2022. Pinelli was Kitchener’s first round (13th overall) pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection from the Toronto Red Wings U16 program.
OHL Defenceman of the Month – Pavel Mintyukov (Saginaw Spirit):
For the third straight month, Anaheim Ducks prospect Pavel Mintyukov of the Saginaw Spirit is the OHL Defenceman of the Month, leading all defenders with 16 points including two goals and 14 assists in 10 games along with a plus/minus rating of plus-8. Mintyukov’s continued dominance on the blue line helped the Western Conference-leading Spirit play to a December record of 6-3-1-0 as they roll into the new year with four consecutive wins. His month included five consecutive multi-point showings, starting with a goal and an assist on Dec. 11th as the Spirit fell to the North Bay Battalion 4-2. He recorded four assists the following game at home as the Spirit defeated the Flint Firebirds 5-1 on Dec. 14th. Mintyukov went on to register a goal and two helpers on Dec. 29th against Sault Ste. Marie, scoring the overtime winner as the Spirit defeated the Greyhounds 5-4. He rounded-out December with a pair of assists in a 7-4 win over the Flint Firebirds on Dec. 30th, followed by another three helpers in a 5-3 win over the Birds on Dec. 31st as the Spirit took a 4-1 lead in the I-75 Divide Cup. Mintyukov becomes the League’s first blueliner on record to ever receive three consecutive OHL Defenceman of the Month honours.
A 19-year-old blueliner standing 6-foot-3 and 195Ibs., Mintyukov sits third in OHL scoring with 51 points (14-37–51) in 34 games this season, paired with the League’s second-best plus/minus rating of plus-27. He became the first defenceman to ever lead the Spirit in scoring last season, recording 62 points (17-45–62) in 67 games before being selected 10th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2022 NHL Draft. The Spirit selected Mintyukov with the 52nd overall pick of the 2020 CHL Import Draft. He was voted to the OHL’s third all-star team last season.
OHL Goaltender of the Month – Anson Thornton (Barrie Colts):
Arizona Coyotes prospect Anson Thornton of the Barrie Colts is the OHL Goaltender of the Month for December, playing to a 5-0-0-1 record with a 2.25 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout. Thornton was busy, making at least 36 saves in all six of his December outings. He stopped 38 of the 40 shots that came his way on Dec. 4th as the Colts defeated his former Sarnia Sting teammates 3-2 in overtime. He turned aside 45 shots the following week at home as the Colts defeated the Saginaw Spirit by a score of 5-2 on Dec. 8th. Thornton registered another 40-plus save showing on Dec. 17th as Barrie defeated the Central Division-leading North Bay Battalion 6-3. He closed out December with his first shoutout of the campaign on Dec. 31st, making 38 saves as the Colts defeated the Guelph Storm 8-0. Thornton earned star of the game recognition five times in December, three times being named first star while being named second star twice.
A 19-year-old Oshawa, Ont. native, Thornton owns a 10-6-1-2 record with a 3.40 goals-against average and .906 save percentage through 19 games in his second OHL season. The 6-foot-4, 187lb. goaltender has played to a career mark of 18-22-1-2 with a 3.77 goals-against average and .893 save percentage in 45 regular season games between Barrie and Sarnia. Thornton signed an entry-level NHL contract as a free agent with the Arizona Coyotes after attending the team’s training camp in October 2021. He was originally Sarnia’s first round (3rd overall) pick in the 2020 OHL U18 Priority Selection. Thornton won an OHL Cup championship with the Don Mills Flyers U16 program in 2019.
OHL Rookie of the Month – Zayne Parekh (Saginaw Spirit):
Saginaw Spirit blueliner Zayne Parekh is the OHL Rookie of the Month for December, recording 10 points including six goals and four assists in 10 games along with a plus/minus rating of plus-7. Parekh recorded points in eight of his 10 December contests, finishing the month with points in four consecutive showings. He had a two-point night on Dec. 6th, recording a goal and an assist as the Spirit defeated the Erie Otters 8-3. He did the same on Dec. 30th as the Spirit defeated the rival Flint Firebirds 7-4. Parekh finished the month with his 11th goal of the season on Dec. 31st as the Spirit took another 5-3 win over Flint. Parekh becomes the first rookie defenceman in Saginaw Spirit history to earn OHL Rookie of the Month honours.
A 16-year-old from Nobleton, Ont., Parekh has been an offensive threat from the blue line with 20 points (11-9–20) in 24 games. His 11 goals this season lead all OHL rookie blueliners. Parekh was Saginaw’s first round (19th overall) pick in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection from the Markham Majors U16 program.
2022-23 OHL Performers of the Month:
Player of the Month:
December – Francesco Pinelli (Kitchener Rangers)
November – Sean McGurn (London Knights)
October – Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds)
Defenceman of the Month:
December – Pavel Mintyukov (Saginaw Spirit)
November – Pavel Mintyukov (Saginaw Spirit)
October – Pavel Mintyukov (Saginaw Spirit)
Goaltender of the Month:
December – Anson Thornton (Barrie Colts)
November – Tristan Lennox (Saginaw Spirit)
October – Michael Simpson (Peterborough Petes)
Rookie of the Month:
December – Zayne Parekh (Saginaw Spirit)
November – Oliver Bonk (London Knights)
October – Michael Misa (Saginaw Spirit)
About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.