Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Top OHL Performers of the Month for regular season games played in January 2019, including Niagara IceDogs teammates Ben Jones and Akil Thomas, Guelph Storm defenceman Sean Durzi and Ottawa 67’s teammates Marco Rossi and Cedrick Andree.
OHL Player of the Month – Ben Jones/Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs):
Riding a stretch of seven straight wins to wrap up the month, Niagara IceDogs teammates Ben Jones and Akil Thomas are the OHL’s C0-Players of the Month. Both players registered 25 points over 13 games, with Jones scoring 12 times, adding 13 assists and recording a plus/minus rating of plus-10 while Thomas finished with 13 goals, 12 assists and a plus/minus rating of plus-6.
The captain of the Central Division-leading IceDogs, Jones had points in 11 of his 13 January contests including a run of nine straight multi-point outings that spanned from Dec. 29th to Jan. 17th. The Vegas Golden Knights prospect had a trio of multi-goal performances including Jan. 3rd against London with two, Jan. 10th against Guelph with two goals and an assist and Jan. 17th against Hamilton when he netted his third hat-trick of the season. An accomplished centreman, Jones also won 58% of his faceoffs in January and finished the month with a goal in Thursday’s 6-1 win over the Soo Greyhounds. Jones earned first star honours twice throughout the month along with receiving second and third star recognition.
A 19-year-old native from Waterloo, Ont., Jones is second in IceDogs team scoring and sits seventh in the OHL with 72 points (29-43–72) over 48 games. Originally Niagara’s first round (7th overall) pick of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection from the OHL Cup champion Toronto Marlboros Minor Midgets, Jones was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Draft and signed a three-year entry level contract with the club in June 2018.
For his part, Thomas was equally impressive, stringing together six straight multi-point performances headlined by four (3-1–4) and five (2-3–5) point outings on Jan. 11th against Kingston and Jan. 19th against Flint. The 6-3 triumph over Kingston included Thomas’ first OHL hat-trick before he put together his fifth five-point contest of the season in a 7-2 win over the Firebirds. The Los Angeles Kings prospect followed-up that effort with two goals and an assist in a 4-3 road win over the Guelph Storm on Jan. 20th. Thomas rounded out the month of January with two goals and an assist in Thursday’s 6-1 win over the Soo Greyhounds. In total, Thomas was named first star of the game twice and second star of the game twice throughout the month of January, capping things off by recording his 200th career OHL point on Thursday.
An 18-year-0ld product of Brandon, Fla., Thomas is third in IceDogs team scoring and eighth in the OHL with 71 points (26-45–71) over 43 games this season. He also leads the IceDogs with a plus/minus rating of plus-31. Thomas is currently in his third season with Niagara after being the club’s first round (12th overall) pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection from the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midgets. He was a second round pick of the Los Angeles Kings last summer.
OHL Defenceman of the Month – Sean Durzi (Guelph Storm):
Los Angeles Kings prospect Sean Durzi of the Guelph Storm is the OHL Defenceman of the Month for January. Durzi, who split the month between the Storm and the Owen Sound Attack, finished tied for the league lead in scoring among defencemen, recording 16 points including five goals and 11 assists over 12 games. The overage rearguard had points in 11 of those outings, ending the month on a nine-game point streak on a Storm club that has won seven of the past 10. Durzi’s lone multi-goal outing came on Jan. 13th as the Storm defeated the Ottawa 67’s by a score of 8-4. He twice recorded three assists, doing so on Jan. 10th in a 6-5 win over the Niagara IceDogs and again this past Wednesday as Guelph defeated visiting Saginaw 8-2. Fourteen of Durzi’s 16 January points came over the course of his nine games in a Storm uniform.
A 20-year-old native of Mississauga, Ont., Durzi joined the Storm alongside former Owen Sound Attack teammates Nick Suzuki, Markus Phillips and Zachary Roberts at January’s OHL Trade Deadline. The right-shot rearguard has 31 points (8-23–31) over an injury-shortened 27 game season to this point, with 15 of his 31 points coming on the man advantage. After being selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft, Durzi was recently dealt to the Los Angeles Kings in a trade that saw OHL graduate Jake Muzzin join the Leafs. Durzi has amassed 134 career points (35-99–134) from the blue line over 172 regular season OHL contests. He was Owen Sound’s 12th round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection from the Mississauga Rebels Minor Midgets.
OHL Rookie of the Month – Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s):
For the third time this season, Ottawa 67’s centreman Marco Rossi is the OHL Rookie of the Month. Rossi finished tied for the January lead in points by a rookie, registering 10 goals, eight assists, 18 points and a plus/minus rating of plus-14 over 11 games. The 17-year-old centre returned from a December injury to record points in nine of his 11 outings including a pair of three-point showings coming on Jan. 6th against Oshawa (0-3–3) and Jan. 11th at Sarnia (1-2–3). Rossi also had two multi-goal contests that came on Jan. 19th against Hamilton and this past Wednesday in a 7-1 win over the Kingston Frontenacs. Rossi ends the month of January with goals in seven consecutive games as the 67’s have wins in each of their past six.
A 17-year-old native of Feldkirch, Austria, Rossi leads OHL rookies with 45 points (23-22–45) over 34 games this season in addition to a plus/minus rating of plus-37. Rossi, who isn’t eligible for the NHL Draft until 2020, has recorded the most points by a 67’s rookie since Travis Konecny (26-44–70) in 2013-14. He was the 18th overall pick of the 2018 CHL Import Draft.
Vaughn OHL Goaltender of the Month – Cedrick Andree (Ottawa 67’s):
For the second time this season, Ottawa 67’s netminder Cedrick Andree is the OHL Goaltender of the Month. Andree played to a 5-0-0-0 record, registering a league-leading 2.17 goals-against average and .925 save percentage along with two shutouts over six January contests. The 18-year-old started the month with a 17-save shutout performance over the Barrie Colts on Jan. 5th. He put together another perfect outing on the latest edition of the Sportsnet CHL Saturday Showcase, making 38 saves in a 4-0 blanking of the Oshawa Generals. Andree also won his latest start, turning aside 33 shots as the 67’s defeated the Saginaw Spirit 5-3 on Sunday.
An 18-year-old native of Orleans, Ont., Andree is currently on a seven-game winning streak with a league-leading 28 victories on the campaign. Overall, he’s played to a 28-4-1-1 record to go with a 2.50 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and three shutouts. Andree is a former 12th round pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection from the Ottawa Jr. Senators Midget AAA team.
2018-19 OHL Performers of the Month:
Player of the Month:
January – Ben Jones/Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs)
December – Tye Felhaber (Ottawa 67’s)
November – Jason Robertson (Niagara IceDogs)
October – Justin Brazeau (North Bay Battalion)
Defenceman of the Month:
January – Sean Durzi (Guelph Storm)
December – Bode Wilde (Saginaw Spirit)
November – Noel Hoefenmayer (Ottawa 67’s)
October – Mac Hollowell (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Rookie of the Month:
January – Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s)
December – Jacob Perreault (Sarnia Sting)
November – Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s)
October – Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s)
Vaughn Goaltender of the Month:
January – Cedrick Andree (Ottawa 67’s)
December – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Sudbury Wolves)
November – Joseph Raaymakers (London Knights)
October – Cedrick Andree (Ottawa 67’s)