OHL Announces Top Performers of the Month for January

Top Performers January 2019

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)


IceDogs’ Ben Jones named OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Vegas Golden Knights prospect Ben Jones of the Niagara IceDogs is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week for the week ending December 31 scoring twice with five assists for seven points in three games with a plus-minus rating of plus-3.

Ben Jones of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Ben Jones of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Jones helped the IceDogs close 2017 with three-straight victories following the holiday break improving their Central Division record to 19-11-3-2 which ranks third overall in the Eastern Conference.  The Dogs took to the road for their first two games after Christmas with stops in North Bay and Sudbury where Jones contributed an assist on Thursday as part of a 3-2 overtime victory against the Battalion, and scored a goal with two assists on Friday earning first star honours in a 7-4 win over the Wolves.  Back home Sunday for a New Year’s Eve matchup against Hamilton, Jones extended his point-streak to a career-high eight games and reached the century mark for career-points with another goal and two assist performance as second star of a 7-3 win over the East leading Bulldogs.

An 18-year-old from Waterloo, Ont., Jones is playing in his third season with the IceDogs after being chosen by Niagara seventh overall in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection.  He currently leads the IceDogs in scoring and is tied for 19th among all OHL skaters with 41 points in 35 games including a new career-high 14 goals.  His 100 career points includes 32 goals and 68 assists recorded across 159 games.  This past June in Chicago, Jones was a seventh round pick by the Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Watch video highlights of Jones and the IceDogs against the Battalion, Wolves, and Bulldogs.

Also considered for the award this week was Montreal Canadiens prospect Will Bitten who scored two goals and five assists for seven points in three games for the Bulldogs, and Florida Panthers prospect Owen Tippett of the Mississauga Steelheads who scored three goals with four assists for seven points in three games.  In goal, Leo Lazarev of the Barrie Colts made 82 saves while posting a 2-0-0-0 record along with a goals-against-average of 1.50 and save percentage of .965.

2017-18 OHL ‘On the Run’ Players of the Week:

Dec. 25 – Dec. 31: Ben Jones (Niagara IceDogs)
Dec. 11 – Dec. 17: Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Dec. 4 – Dec. 10: Justin Brazeau (North Bay Battalion)
Nov. 27 – Dec. 3: Joseph Garreffa (Kitchener Rangers)
Nov. 20 – Nov. 26: Serron Noel (Oshawa Generals)
Nov. 13 – Nov. 19: Cliff Pu (London Knights)
Nov. 6 – Nov. 12: Ryan Merkley (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 30 – Nov. 5: Albert Michnac (Mississauga Steelheads)
Oct. 23 – Oct. 29: Aaron Luchuk (Windsor Spitfires)
Oct. 16 – Oct. 22: Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting)
Oct. 9 – Oct. 15: Brady Hinz (Sarnia Sting)
Oct. 2 – Oct. 8: Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack)
Sept. 25 – Oct. 1: Jonathan Ang (Peterborough Petes)
Sept. 21 – Sept. 24: Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires)

OHL Announces Academic Players of the Month for January

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the OHL Academic Players of the Month for January 2017, including William Ennis of the Oshawa Generals, Ben Jones of the Niagara IceDogs, Luke Richardson of the Kitchener Rangers and Ryan McGregor of the Sarnia Sting.

East Division: Sixteen year-old defenceman William Ennis of the Oshawa Generals is the East Division Academic Player of the Month for January. A Grade 11 student at Maxwell Heights Secondary School, Ennis has adapted well to his new environment both on and off the ice this season. He is described by his teachers as responsible, conscientious and disciplined. Ennis is currently studying University level Math, Chemistry, High Performance Athletics and Grade 12 International Business, maintaining a 93% average in those courses. On the ice, Ennis has recorded an assist in 29 games as a rookie. The Gloucester, Ont. native was Oshawa’s third round (46th overall) pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection. 

Central Division: Seventeen year-old sophomore forward Ben Jones of the Niagara IceDogs is the Central Division Academic Player of the Month for January. The Grade 12 student at Governor Simcoe Secondary School currently maintains an 87% average in his University-level Advanced Functions, Biology and Chemistry courses. IceDogs Academic Advisor Tim Tope describes Jones as one who exemplifies what it means to be a student-athlete, demonstrating leadership in the classroom. The draft eligible centreman has 10 goals, 23 assists and 33 points in 43 games this season. The Waterloo, Ont. native was Niagara’s first round (7th overall) pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection.

Ben Jones of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Ben Jones of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Midwest Division: Seventeen year-old goaltender Luke Richardson of the Kitchener Rangers is the Midwest Division Academic Player of the Month, achieving high grades in Grade 12 International Business, Business Management and Earth and Space Sciences courses at Grand River Collegiate Institute. Richardson is described as a student who demonstrates a thorough knowledge of all subject content while adding unique insights to presented challenges. He also shows exceptional attention to detail in his work. The Barrie, Ont. native has played in five games with the Rangers this season, going 4-0 with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. He was Kitchener’s fourth round (79th overall) pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection.

West Division: Eighteen year-old sophomore forward Ryan McGregor of the Sarnia Sting is the West Division Academic Player of the Month for January. McGregor currently maintains an 82% average over Grade 12 Functions, Kinesiology and Biology courses at Northern Collegiate Institute. On the ice, the draft eligible Burlington, Ont. native has 13 goals, seven assists and 20 points in 45 games. He was Sarnia’s second round (24th overall) pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection.

2016-17 OHL Academic Players of the Month:

East Division:
January – William Ennis (Oshawa Generals)
December – Nathan Dunkley (Kingston Frontenacs)
November – Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs)
October – Zach Gallant (Peterborough Petes)

Central Division:
January – Ben Jones (Niagara IceDogs)
December – Adam McMaster (North Bay Battalion)
November – Kyle Heitzner (Barrie Colts)
October – Jacob Ingham (Mississauga Steelheads)

Midwest Division:
January – Luke Richardson (Kitchener Rangers)
December – Nick Deakin-Poot (Guelph Storm)
November – Cade Robinson (Erie Otters)
October – Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack)

West Division:
January – Ryan McGregor (Sarnia Sting) 
December – Damien Giroux (Saginaw Spirit)
November – Hunter Holmes (Flint Firebirds)
October – Cole Purboo (Windsor Spitfires)

During the 2015-16 season, the OHL centrally administered Scholarship Program facilitated scholarships for 315 OHL graduates attending 57 different academic institutions with a total scholarship payment in excess of $2.9 million.  Click here for more information about ‘OHL Players First’ programs.

Ben Jones – Niagara Ice Dogs – Player Profile

Height: 6’0”

Weight:  187 pounds

Date of birth:  February 26,1999

Hometown: Waterloo, Ontario

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 7th overall, 2015 Priority Selection

The Niagara Ice Dogs selected Ben Jones seventh overall at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection. Jones is a graduate of the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA squad from the 2014-2015 season where he scored 27 goals and 42 assists in 74 games. His 69 points were second only to Ryan McLeod for the Marlboros, who went on to win the GTMMHL Championship.

Jones went on to add one goal and fours assists in seven OHL Cup games as the Marlboros took that championship as well. Jones also participated in the OHL Gold Cup, scoring three goals in five games.

Ben Jones of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Ben Jones of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Last season, Jones made the Ice Dogs lineup and scored five goals and four assists in sixty-one games while playing on a deep Ice Dogs squad that went to the OHL Finals and eventually lost to the London Knights.

There is no consensus when it comes to Jones, and depending on which scouting service you subscribe to, he’s liked by some and not on the radar of others. I’m in the camp that believes Jones can play in the NHL and that an NHL teams sees the same at perhaps a very late second round or early third round pick in the National Hockey League Draft.

To date this season, Jones has appeared in thirty-six games for the Ice Dogs and has ten goals and twenty-one assists making his thirty-one points rank third among Ice Dogs.

Jones projects as a two-way center who can provide some offense. He’s good on face-offs at 52.2%. He has very good speed and decent size to play an energy role for his squad. He doesn’t shy away from the physical game, but he also doesn’t go out seeking it. At the same time, he doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas and will score most of his goals directly in front of the opposition net. He does possess a hard, accurate shot with a very good release.

Jones is a good skater with good speed and very good vision. He handles the puck extremely well and uses his teammates exceptionally well.

Jones’ biggest need is to add strength and he’s aware of that, taking part in strength building. And having played most of his hockey life to date as a defenceman, he’s aware of the defensive game, which is probably why he’s such a good two-way player.

Jones was ranked 32nd among OHL skaters, 99th among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting mid-term rankings.

Ben Jones (b.1999) hockey statistics and profile at hockeydb.com

Statistics of Ben Jones, a hockey player from Waterloo, ONT born Feb 26 1999 who was active from 2014 to 2017.