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Paul Dyck receiving the MJHL Coach of the Year award from MJHL Director of Operations Kevin Saurette. (Photo courtesy: Adi Loewen)

Pistons win big during MJHL Award Season

The MJHL released the regular season awards winners, all-star team selections, and all-rookie team selections last Sunday, and the Pistons were recognized for their play at Wednesday’s home game against the Portage Terriers.

Darby Gula won the Brian Kozak Trophy as the MJHL’s top defenceman this season. Gula has had a breakout season in 2017-18, as he currently has set career-highs with 14 goals and 47 assists for 61 points in 55 games thus far this season. His previous career high was set last year, when he notched 34 points. He committed to the Bemidji State Beavers of NCAA Division I hockey this season.

Drew Worrad picked up the Frank McKinnon Memorial Trophy in recognition for hockey ability and sportsmanship. The first-year Pistons forward has had a season to remember, currently scoring 26 goals and adding 49 assists for 75 points in 47 games. The Birr, Ontario native only has 14 penalty minutes this year, which is the second-best total of his junior A hockey career. He has committed to the Western Michigan University Broncos of NCAA Division I this year.

For the second straight year, Pistons Head Coach and General Manager Paul Dyck was recognized with the Muzz McPherson Award as the MJHL Coach of the Year. Dyck has once again led the Pistons to the MJHL’s best regular season record for the second consecutive season, and has contributed to three of his players commit to NCAA Division I hockey this year, which is a franchise high for Steinbach.

Forward Bradley Schoonbaert was one of the three finalists for MJHL MVP, and goaltender Matthew Thiessen was recognized as a finalist for both the Rookie of the Year and Top Goaltender. Schoonbaert is currently tied for the MJHL lead in points (89), and has set Pistons franchise records for goals, assists, and points in a season. Thiessen has had an impressive rookie season in the Steinbach goal, posting a current record of 27-3-1 with a .923 save percentage, and a 2.06 GAA with two shutouts.

Thiessen, Gula, Worrad, and Schoonbaert were all named to the MJHL 1st All-Star Team, along with Mackenzie Dwyer of the Portage Terriers, and Dexter Kuczek of the Winnipeg Blues.

Thiessen and Austin Heidemann were named to the MJHL All-Rookie Team. Heidemann has had a tremendous first year in Manitoba, in which he currently has notched 22 goals and 33 assists for 55 points in 58 games played. The Maple Grove, Minnesota native is the leading point scorer amongst rookies in the MJHL. Heidemann is also 2 points away from tying the Pistons franchise record for points in a season by a rookie.

Kevin Saurette, Director of Operations for the MJHL, presented the awards before Wednesday’s game against the Terriers.

The Pistons organization congratulates Paul Dyck and all the players who were recognized by the MJHL this past week.