By Pat Payton
St. Marys Lincolns recently named their team award winners for the 2019-20 Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) season.
Winners of 11 team awards were announced.
Centre Ryan Burke is the only double recipient. The 17-year-old London native will get his name on two trophies–the Jack Boyd Memorial Award for most dedicated player and the Earl Leslie Award for rookie-of-the-year.
Burke was the only Lincoln to play in all 50 regular-season games. A youngster who plays with a lot of poise, he finished third overall in Lincs’ scoring with 13 goals and 41 points and tied for the team lead in powerplay goals with seven. His outstanding freshman season also earned him a spot on the Western Conference rookie all-star team.
“Burkey was everything advertised,” coach Trent McClement said. “You never know with young players when they step up a level, how they’re going to adjust. But he ended up on our top line, and was on our top powerplay unit for most of the season. You couldn’t ask for any more from a 16-year-old; he carried our team in some games.”
McClement pointed out that Burke was the “ultimate team player” off the ice as well. When the Lincolns obtained Brock Trichilo late in the season, Burke welcomed the veteran forward by giving him his stall in the dressing room and taking one in the corner.
“It just shows his character,” the coach said. “He deserves every award he won.”
McClement added that Burke is the type of player that Lincs could build around in the future.
Curtin regular-season MVP
No surprise, goalie Kyle Curtin is the winner of the Frank Edye Award for regular-season most valuable player. Regarded as one of the top puck-stoppers in the entire GOJHL, the 18-year-old St. George native was also selected first-team all-star goaltender in the Western Conference.
In his second full season in St. Marys, Curtin posted some great numbers in a season that featured spectacular save after spectacular save. He had a 19-11-2 record, with two shutouts, in 35 starts. He had a 2.39 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage (one of the best in the GOJHL).
“We had high hopes for Kyle going into the season,” McClement said. “He proved this past season how consistent he is. He’s just a horse.
“Early in the season, we weren’t scoring a lot of goals, but we had an amazing record. It was because Curty was keeping us in games. Curty is good because he works so hard. He was on the ice all last summer. He’s just a good kid.”
The David Baynes Award for Lincolns’ top defenceman goes to Nathan Small. The offensive-minded Small led all blue-liners in scoring with four goals and 36 points in 40 games. The 17-year-old Dorchester resident, who is a smart player and good passer, came to St. Marys in a trade with London early in the season.
Kuznik chosen most improved
Forward Kyle Kuznik is the winner of the R.G. (Kelly) Hearn Award for most improved player.
The 18-year-old forward from Orillia, who was one of Lincs’ best players late in the season, had five goals and nine points in nine regular-season games in February and was named their St. Marys Buick GMC player-of-the-month.
Kuznik averaged almost a point a game after coming to the Lincolns earlier in the season in a trade with Stratford. The swift-skating winger finished with 13 goals and 23 points in 26 games, and three of his goals came while killing penalties which led the team.
The recipient of the D.R. Stevens Award for leadership is hard-working Jacob Bloomfield. The 18-year-old centre, who hails from Burford, had 34 points (11-23) in 47 regular-season games. Three of his goals were game winners.
A strong penalty-killer, Bloomfield was also named defensive player-of-the-month for February in the Western Conference.
Veteran Thomas McLatchie is the winner of the Bert Stacey Memorial Award for ability and sportsmanship. McLatchie, a 20-year-old from Niagara Falls, is a player who contributed both offensively and defensively. The winger, who always gave a consistent effort, had 16 goals and 32 points in 44 games.
McLatchie is one of six Lincs who finished their Junior careers this past season.
The Harold Maxwell Award for 2019-20 leading scorer goes to Mason Mantzavrakos. The 18-year-old London native was brought to town to score goals and he did just that. In 45 games, the flashy winger collected 21 goals and 52 points. Six of his goals were game winners, and he also connected seven times on powerplays.
This year’s winner of the Bannerman Memorial Award for ‘Veteran of the Year’ is Joe Mazur.
The 18-year-old centreman, from Sudbury, had eight goals and 30 points in 49 games. A strong penalty-killer and face-off man, Mazur was often used in key situations by coach McClement.
The Bannerman family has been involved with the Lincolns since 1962. Three Bannerman brothers–Bill, Chris and Mark–played for the Lincs and another brother Mike was a team trainer for over 30 years.
Trophy named after Cousineau
The playoff MVP award, recently named after Jacques Cousineau by the Alumni committee, goes to forward Brock Trichilo.
Acquired by St. Marys from St. Thomas at the Jan. 10 trade deadline, Trichilo had a team-leading six goals and eight points in six playoff games. The 20-year-old Schreiber native fired a hat trick in a series-ending 8-3 victory over Strathroy Rockets in the quarter-finals.
Cousineau, meanwhile, has been involved with the Lincolns for almost 60 years. He has been a player, coach, GM, president and executive member, Alumni committee member, and most recently a team broadcaster. Cousineau was a member of Lincs’ 1962-63 All-Ontario championship team.
Brayden Hislop is the recipient of the Fan Appreciation Award. It goes to the favourite Lincolns’ player as voted by the fans.
The 16-year-old Hislop, from St. Clements, improved in leaps and bounds as the season progressed. A great puck-handler, he finished with four goals and 16 points in 46 games. He’s an Owen Sound Attack draft pick.