The yearly Manitoba Junior Hockey League award nominations were released yesterday and 5 members of the Steinbach Pistons are up for the year end awards.
Here are the Pistons that are nominated in their respective category:
Mack Graham – MVP Award – Steve “Boomer” Hawrysh Memorial Trophy.
Graham, 19, has put up incredible numbers in his second season in the MJHL. He’s recorded 32 goals (2nd in the league) and 45 assists (2nd in the league) for a total of 77 points in just 52 games (2nd in the league). He averages 1.5 points per game. Graham leads the league in game winning goals with 6. With six games still remaining on the schedule, Graham is within reach of three major accomplishments. First, doubling his points from last season (41 points in 54 games), setting a new team mark in goals in a season by a Piston (Tyler Penner 35 in 2014/15*) and a new team high in points set by Dan Taillefer (81 points in 60 games 2015/16).
Will Koop – Rookie of the Year Award – Vince Leah Trophy
Koop, 18, leads all MJHL rookies in scoring with 20 goals and 30 assists in 48 games this season. Koop’s outstanding season earned him a spot on Team Canada West for the 2016 World Junior A Challenge back in December. Koop’s 50 points is 2nd for a Steinbach Pistons first year player. In just his fourth regular season game in the MJHL, Koop recorded his first career hat-trick.
Roman Bengert – Top Goaltender Award
Bengert, 20, has had a remarkable run this season collecting a team record 34 wins in 41 games. It hasn’t always been easy for Bengert (check out an article from earlier where Bengert details his hockey journey and more here https://www.steinbachonline.com/steinbach-pistons-news/roman-bengert-from-japan-to-division-2) but it’s all been worth is as Bengert has committed to Lake Superior State University, a Division1 school, for the fall of 2017. Bengert is ranked among the top goalies in the Canadian Junior Hockey League with a Goals Against Average of 2.09 and a Save Percentage of .928 this year.
Tyler Anderson – Top Defenseman Award – Brian Kozak Memorial Trophy
Anderson, 19, has been the most improved Steinbach Piston this season and arguably, the most improved in the league. A strong worth ethic and dedication has payed off for the second year defender as he has put up big numbers with 11 goals and 32 assists for 43 points in 47 games played, tied for 3rd among MJHL blueliners. Not just an offensive weapon, Anderson has really improved his skating and with that, his defensive skills. He has become a reliable two way player. Often used in all three areas, power play, penalty kill and 5 on 5. Anderson has relished the role and become a leader for his team both on and off the ice.
Paul Dyck – Coach of the Year – Muzz McPherson Award
Dyck is enjoying his most successful regular season behind the bench, reaching the 45 win plateau for a second consecutive season with six games still to go. Since taking over as the full time head coach and general manager in 2012, has put up 202 wins. As successful as Dyck has been on the ice, he continues to develop players for the next step. He’s helped numerous players reach the next level of their hockey careers, whether it’s Division 1, Division 3 or CIS. Dyck continues to promote a strong educational system and community involvement.
League Commissioner Kim Davis explained how the process of nominations works. “Each team submitted a nominee for the awards and the league’s 11 coaches subsequently conducted a vote. Each of the nominees should be very proud of their accomplishment.”
The respective winners will be announced later this week.
* Richard Olson is listed has having 37 goals in the 2012/13 season, but that was split between three different teams that year.