STORM’S NICO DAWS NAMED INAUGURAL RECIPIENT OF JIM RUTHERFORD TROPHY AS OHL GOALTENDER OF THE YEAR

Daws, Nico 2

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Nico Daws of the Guelph Storm is the inaugural recipient of the Jim Rutherford Trophy awarded annually to the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year.

The top-ranked North American goaltender on NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings, Daws led the League with a .924 save percentage and five shutouts, posting a 2.48 goals-against average and 23-8-3-3 record over 38 games for the defending OHL champions. He was named the OHL’s Goaltender of the Month for November as part of a span that included nine consecutive wins. The third-year netminder was recognized with three star of the game honours on 15 different occasions, including a total of eight first star distinctions. His impressive numbers as a 19-year-old came as he stepped into the Storm’s starting role after getting into just 20 games during the 2018-19 season. Daws was a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning National Junior Team that claimed world supremacy at the 2020 IIHF World Juniors in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.

Announced last August, the Jim Rutherford Trophy is presented by the League in honour of former OHL goaltender, General Manager, Chairman of the Board and two-time Executive of the Year Jim Rutherford. The current General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Rutherford played 13 seasons as an NHL netminder and was the architect behind Stanley Cup championships for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November 2019.

“I’m honoured to be the first recipient of the Jim Rutherford Trophy and am truly humbled to have my name associated with not only a world class goaltender, but an influential builder of the game,” said Daws. “I’d like to thank my family for always supporting me and also my billet family for giving me a home away from home. Lastly, thank you to my coaches and teammates. I wouldn’t be able to achieve this without their help.”

A 19-year-old product of Burlington, Ont., Daws’ .924 save percentage is the highest in Storm history by goaltenders having spent a full season with the club. His 2.48 goals-against average is the lowest by a qualified goaltender since Tom McCollum’s 2.39 mark in 2006-07. The 6-foot-4, 202Ib. Daws rounded out his third OHL season with a record of 34-20-5-6, a 2.94 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and six shutouts over 72 career regular season games. He was recognized in the 2019-20 OHL Coaches Poll as the Western Conference’s Most Improved Player, Best Puckhandling Goaltender and second-best Shootout Goaltender. Daws was Guelph’s seventh round pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection from the Burlington Eagles minor midgets.

“Following our playoff run last spring Nico recognized the potential for opportunity and went to work,” said Storm head coach and general manager George Burnett. “His decision to make substantial adjustments with his nutrition, overall fitness and daily routine both on and off the ice was life changing. His total recommitment and outstanding work in all areas has led to this very special story he is currently writing and the opportunities which will result. Nico deserves all of the credit and we could not be more proud of him.”

The Jim Rutherford Trophy is awarded to the league’s most outstanding goaltender as selected by OHL General Managers.  Teams were not permitted to vote for a goaltender from their own hockey club.

While becoming the first to formally receive the Jim Rutherford Trophy, Daws follows Craig Anderson (2001) as the second goaltender in Storm history to win OHL Goaltender of the Year honours. The award was first presented in 1987-88 to Rick Tabaracci (Cornwall) with other notable winners including Manny Legace (Niagara Falls 1993), Steve Mason (London 2007), the league’s only back-to-back winner Mike Murphy (Belleville 2008 and 2009), Jordan Binnington (Owen Sound 2013), Alex Nedeljkovic (Plymouth 2014), Lucas Peressini (Kingston 2015), Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie 2016), Michael McNiven (Owen Sound 2017), Michael DiPietro (Windsor 2018) and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Sudbury 2019).

Daws is also the OHL’s nominee for CHL Goaltender of the Year to be announced in the coming weeks.

2020 OHL Awards announcements continue on Wednesday when the OHL recognizes its Max Kaminsky Trophy recipient as the League’s Defenceman of the Year presented by Real Canadian Superstore.

For full coverage of the 2020 OHL Awards, be sure to visit ontariohockeyleague.com or follow along on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.

Owen Bennett – Guelph Storm – Player Profile

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 202 Pounds

Date of birth: April 11, 2002

Hometown: Georgetown, Ontario

Position: Goaltender

Catches: Left

OHL Draft: Round 4, 67th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
N.R. C Prospect 13 N.A. Goalies

24 N.A. Goalies

Guelph Storm netminder Owen Bennett played his Minor Midget hockey during the 2017-2018 season, strapping on the pads for the Halton Hurricanes. In 19 games, Bennett posted a 2.61 goals-against-average. The Storm would select Bennett with the 67th overall pick at the 2018 Priority Selection, making him the eighth goaltender selected.

During the 2018-2019 season, Bennett would play Tier 2 hockey with the Carlton Place Junior Canadians of the Central Canada Hockey League. Bennett would go on to post a 2.48 goals-against-average and .909 save percentage in 29 games, finishing second and first respectively among rookies, and tenth and fourth respectively overall.

Owen Bennett of the Guelph Strom. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Owen Bennett of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images

Bennett is ranked second among OHL Goaltenders by NHL Central scouting as of their mid-term rankings. The question surrounding Bennett coming into the season was “How much playing time would he get?” considering the top ranked goaltender is teammate Nico Daws, who was passed over at the 2019 NHL draft and is re-entering the draft.

A World Junior Championship appearance and an injury to Daws opened the door for Bennett and he appeared in 27 games for the Storm, fourth most by first time draft eligible goaltenders. He finished ninth in goals-against-average at 3.92 and eighth in save percentage at .881.

Bennett has the size that seems to draw scouts at 6’3” – he pretty much has the same frame as Daws. But he does have some areas that need work. Not a major concern however as with good coaching, those areas can be improved. And pairing with Daws, who went through similar things can only be beneficial for the young netminder.

Working on his positioning is one area Bennett needs to work on. He doesn’t get out to the top of the blue paint as far as he should in some situations. His post-to-post movement isn’t exactly slow, but I think with an adjustment to his technique and “pushing off”, he can improve in that area. Consistency can be an issue as he sometimes looses the net and can be beat by poor coverage of the cage. I don’t think it’s due to a lack of concentration. He seems to never get rattled, even when he gives up a softie.

Bennett fights through traffic to keep his eyes on the puck extremely well. And when things are in tight, he plays the butterfly position well and keeps himself big to take up a lot of the net. His rebound control is actually pretty good. He has an active blocker and his glove is above average for a goaltender of his age.

We like the tools Bennett has and the concerns over areas that need working on don’t scare us away. Bennett is in a good situation in Guelph with coaching and Daws as his partner. And we’re confident in saying that he’s willing to put in the necessary work.

FIREBIRDS’ TYLER TUCKER NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Tucker

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that St. Louis Blues prospect Tyler Tucker of the Flint Firebirds is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week with 11 points in four games including three goals and eight assists along with a plus/minus rating of plus-4.

Tucker joins Firebirds teammate Riley McCourt as the second defenceman to claim the honour this season, marking the fifth different occasion that a Flint player has been recognized. Tucker’s 11 points over an extended week that included a Family Day holiday on Monday led the League as Flint’s club record-setting winning streak reached 15 games. Tucker set a new Firebirds record for points by a defenceman in a single game on Monday, racking up seven consisting of two goals and five assists in a 12-7 road win over the Sarnia Sting. He chipped in with an assist in Thursday’s 4-0 road win over the Niagara IceDogs before scoring his 16th goal of the season and picking up a helper in Friday’s 6-3 victory over the Mississauga Steelheads. Tucker and the Firebirds saw their 15-game winning streak snapped back at home on Saturday as the defender collected an assist in a 4-1 loss to the Kitchener Rangers.

A 19-year-old product of Longlac, Ont., Tucker sits seventh among OHL defencemen with 53 points (16-37–53) over 49 games between Flint and Barrie this season. The fourth-year veteran has registered 24 points (8-16–24) over 21 games since being acquired by the Firebirds on January 7th. A former first round (14th overall) pick of the Barrie Colts in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, Tucker has recorded 149 points (34-115–149) over 238 career regular season contests. He was a seventh round (200th overall) pick of the St. Louis Blues in the 2018 NHL Draft. Tucker made his professional debut last spring, appearing in two regular season games with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.

Two goaltenders were also in the running for this week’s award including Guelph Storm netminder Nico Daws who went 3-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .932 save percentage along with Oshawa Generals puckstopper Zachary Paputsakis who won a pair of games while posting a 1.50 goals-against average and .951 save percentage.

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2019-20 OHL ‘On the Run’ Players of the Week – Regular Season:
Feb. 17 – Feb. 23: Tyler Tucker (Flint Firebirds)
Feb. 10 – Feb. 16: Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit)
Feb. 3 – Feb. 9: Evgeniy Oksentyuk (Flint Firebirds)
Jan. 27 – Feb. 2: Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Jan. 20 – Jan. 26: Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds)
Jan. 13 – Jan. 19: Mitchell Hoelscher (Ottawa 67’s)
Jan. 6 – Jan. 12: Philip Tomasino (Oshawa Generals)
Dec. 30 – Jan. 5: Jacob Ingham (Kitchener Rangers)
Dec. 16 – Dec. 29: Joseph Garreffa (Ottawa 67’s)
Dec. 9 – Dec. 15: Jacob Ingham (Kitchener Rangers)
Dec. 2 – Dec. 8: Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds)
Nov. 25 – Dec. 1: Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s)
Nov. 18 – Nov. 24: Riley McCourt (Flint Firebirds)
Nov. 11 – Nov. 17: Jan Jenik (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Nov. 4 – Nov. 10: Cam Hillis (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 28 – Nov. 3: Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Oct. 21 – Oct. 27: Nico Daws (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 14 – Oct. 20: Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes)
Oct. 7 – Oct. 13: Mack Guzda (Owen Sound Attack)
Sept. 24 – Oct. 6: Philip Tomasino (Niagara IceDogs)
Sept. 23 – Sept. 29: Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Sept. 19 – Sept. 22: Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (Peterborough Petes)

Vaughn CHL Team of the Week

The Canadian Hockey League today announced the 21st edition of the Vaughn CHL Team of the Week for the 2019-20 season based on individual performances from Feb. 10-16.

Headlining the group is Rimouski Oceanic captain and 2020 NHL Draft favourite Alexis Lafreniere who amassed 10 points counting two goals and eight assists across a pair of appearances. Against the Quebec Remparts on Sunday, Lafreniere pushed his point streak to five games as he put up a dominant, career-best performance of seven points including one goal and six assists en route to an 11-2 victory and first-star honours. For his efforts, Lafreniere was recognized as the Ultramar QMJHL Player of the Week.

Also up front is fellow 2020 NHL Draft hopeful Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit who wrapped up the week with 10 points counting four goals and six assists over a trio of contests. Registering at least one point in 10 of his past 11 appearances, Perfetti matched a season high of five points – all coming as helpers – in Wednesday’s 7-5 road win over the Soo Greyhounds, helping him earn recognition as the game’s first star in addition to OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week honours.

Rounding out the forward ranks is another top NHL Draft prospect in Portland Winterhawks centre Seth Jarvis whose week counted three goals and six assists for nine points over three games. A projected early selection come June, Jarvis put his offensive skills on display in Sunday’s 11-2 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors in which he finished with one goal and four assists for five points to match a season high and wrap up the night with second-star recognition. The successful showing also helped Jarvis garner WHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week honours.

On the blue line, Spirit veteran rearguard D.J. Busdeker continues to build on an incredible season as he tallied six points counting two goals and four assists through three appearances. Facing the Soo Greyhounds on Wednesday, Busdeker put up a pair of tallies plus an assist to match a season high of three points en route to a 7-5 victory.

Also on the back end is San Jose Sharks first-round pick Ryan Merkley of the London Knights who earns a spot on the Vaughn CHL Team of the Week for the fourth time this season after collecting six assists through three contests. Riding a nine-game point streak, the stretch saw Merkley register a season high of four points in Friday’s 6-3 win over the rival Kitchener Rangers in which he took home first-star honours.

Between the pipes, top-ranked North American netminder Nico Daws of the Guelph Storm continued his dominant play in coming away with a pair of victories in which he combined for 77 saves to finish with a 0.50 goals-against average and .987 save percentage. Versus the Owen Sound Attack on Friday, Daws turned aside 40 shots to help guide his club to a 2-0 win that saw him record his fifth shutout of the season.

 

SPIRIT’S COLE PERFETTI NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Perfetti

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that draft eligible Saginaw Spirit forward Cole Perfetti is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week with 10 points in three games including four goals and six assists along with a plus/minus rating of plus-6.

Perfetti becomes the first Spirit player to claim the honour this season, stringing together three straight first star performances as the Spirit maintained their standing atop the West Division with a pair of victories. His five assists in Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday equal a past single game mark recorded by Vincent Trocheck (March 2012) and Marcus Crawford (January 2017) as the Spirit defeated the Greyhounds 7-5. Perfetti followed up on his career high-matching five point effort with his first hat-trick of the season on Friday as the Spirit were edged by the visiting Flint Firebirds 5-4. He rounded out the weekend with a goal and an assist on Saturday as Saginaw bounced back to defeat the Kitchener Rangers 8-2 on home ice. Perfetti became the fastest player in Spirit history to reach the 100 career assist mark in the weekend finale, bringing him to within three points of the century mark in his sophomore season.

An 18-year-old native of Whitby, Ont., Perfetti sits one point back of Ottawa’s Marco Rossi for the OHL scoring lead, boasting 97 points (34-63–97) over 53 games this season. The sharpshooting winger has collected four consecutive multi-point efforts and sits tied with teammate Damien Giroux for the team lead with 34 goals. The fourth-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Draft Rankings, Perfetti recently competed in the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont. He was a key member of Canada’s silver medal-winning National Under-18 Team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last summer, recording 12 points (8-4–12) over five contests. He was Saginaw’s first round (5th overall) pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection from the Vaughan Kings Minor Midgets.

A pair of goaltenders were also considered for the award this week including Guelph Storm netminder Nico Daws who stopped 77 of the 78 shots he faced, posting a 0.50 goals-against average, .987 save percentage and one shutout in wins over London and Owen Sound. North Bay Battalion rookie Joe Vrbetic was also outstanding, stopping 79 of the 81 shots that came his way to post a 2-0 record with a 0.96 goals-against average, .975 save percentage and one shutout to defeat Barrie and Mississauga.

• HIGHLIGHTS: Perfetti’s five assists in the Soo
• HIGHLIGHTS: Perfetti records hat-trick against Flint
• HIGHLIGHTS: Perfetti’s goal and assist against Kitchener

OTR_2017_Logo

2019-20 OHL ‘On the Run’ Players of the Week – Regular Season:
Feb. 10 – Feb. 16: Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit)
Feb. 3 – Feb. 9: Evgeniy Oksentyuk (Flint Firebirds)
Jan. 27 – Feb. 2: Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Jan. 20 – Jan. 26: Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds)
Jan. 13 – Jan. 19: Mitchell Hoelscher (Ottawa 67’s)
Jan. 6 – Jan. 12: Philip Tomasino (Oshawa Generals)
Dec. 30 – Jan. 5: Jacob Ingham (Kitchener Rangers)
Dec. 16 – Dec. 29: Joseph Garreffa (Ottawa 67’s)
Dec. 9 – Dec. 15: Jacob Ingham (Kitchener Rangers)
Dec. 2 – Dec. 8: Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds)
Nov. 25 – Dec. 1: Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s)
Nov. 18 – Nov. 24: Riley McCourt (Flint Firebirds)
Nov. 11 – Nov. 17: Jan Jenik (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Nov. 4 – Nov. 10: Cam Hillis (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 28 – Nov. 3: Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Oct. 21 – Oct. 27: Nico Daws (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 14 – Oct. 20: Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes)
Oct. 7 – Oct. 13: Mack Guzda (Owen Sound Attack)
Sept. 24 – Oct. 6: Philip Tomasino (Niagara IceDogs)
Sept. 23 – Sept. 29: Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Sept. 19 – Sept. 22: Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (Peterborough Petes)

Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings

CHL Top 10

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the week sixteen edition of the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2019-20 season.  The weekly rankings of the CHL’s Top-10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings – Week 16

Rank: Team: Last Week Ranked: Total Weeks Ranked:
1 Ottawa 67’s (29-6-0-0) 2 14
2 Sherbrooke Phoenix (29-6-3-1) 1 16
3 Portland Winterhawks (28-6-1-3) 3 6
4 Chicoutimi Sagueneens (27-7-4-0) 5 16
5 Edmonton Oil Kings (27-7-5-2) 8 13
6 Moncton Wildcats (27-11-0-0) 6 10
7 Everett Silvertips (26-9-2-1) 4 10
8 Windsor Spitfires (24-8-4-0) 6
9 Guelph Storm (22-10-1-4) 9 5
10 Peterborough Petes (25-11-2-1) 7 8
Honourable Mention:
Kitchener Rangers (22-11-3-2) 0
Kamloops Blazers (24-11-2-1) 1
Saginaw Spirit (23-11-2-2) 2