Award Winners Announced
2017 Award Winners Announced
Voting has concluded for the 2017 player awards. Along with the statistical awards that are not voted upon, this year’s recipients all come from three teams. The award ceremony is scheduled for Monday after the play-in game at 6:00 between the Knights and Yeti.
Xtreme’ forward Joe Bussard concludes a dominant regular season by taking home the Most Valuable Player award. Bussard also finished the season as the leading goal scorer with 48 on the season, 12 better than the second place finisher. Bussard’s play and leadership paced the Xtreme to an impressive 13-1 season and a 1st place seed in this year’s playoffs.
Teammate Dave Jewell is this year’s Best Defensive Player. Jewell put together an impressive statistical campaign, tallying 30 goals and 27 assists on the season. Those points do not come at the expense of his defensive play. It can be argued that no player in the league controls play as well as Jewell, who can break up a two on one as easily as lead an odd man rush the other way.
Rounding out the Xtreme’s award winners is Clint Lingenfelter who earns his first Best Goalie award. Lingenfelter finished the season with the league’s best goals against average at 4.20 and save percentage at 83.49% among eligible goalies (those who played more than 1/3 of their team’s games). His steady play was as much a factor in the Xtreme’s 13-1 record as anything else. Lingenfelter had been a member of the Best Men before moving over to his new team this year. That experience helped him grow into the role that he now plays on a cup contender.
While the Xtreme claim four awards in total, the Chiefs will boast two. Curtis Johnson is this year’s Rookie of the Year. Johnson, the son of longtime XHL player Jeremy Johnson, finished the season with 16 goals and 3 assists. That total is even more impressive if you consider the Chiefs’ struggles to score this season. Johnson accounted for almost half of his team’s 33 goals this season and broke up several shutout bids for opposing goalies. Johnson’s future appears to be bright.
Speaking of bright futures, Johnson’s teammate Wyatt Vitarelli earns the Most Improved Player award. As the Chiefs goalie this season, Vitarelli saw 495 total shots, over 100 more than any other netminder in the league. His ability to stay calm despite the onslaught helped to keep his team in many games, including one where they nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the season against the Hooligans before eventually falling 5-4. Vitarelli may be taking a similar path as Lingenfelter, who both began their careers playing for teams near the bottom of the standings but gained valuable experience in the process.
Aside from the Xtreme and Chiefs, the Anderson brothers from the Colonials take home the final three awards this season. The Sportsmanship award goes to Brian Anderson once again. Anderson finished with no penalties this year and pitched in 20 goals and 7 assists for the second seeded Colonials.
Bob Anderson claims the other two awards, as he led the league in points and assists. These awards, like Bussard’s goal scoring title, are not voted on by league members. Anderson finished the season with 36 goals and 45 assists; good for 81 points on the season. Anderson played in all 14 games for the Colonials, averaging 5.79 points nightly.
The league would like to congratulate all award winners and ask them to be present for an awards ceremony on Monday at 7:00 if possible. Please bring your jerseys or shirts with you to the ceremony for a group photo afterwards.