A pair of Estevan Bruins have been nominated for the SJHL’s year-end awards which were released on Tuesday morning with two weeks to play in the regular season.
Devan Harrison (’00, Dysart, SK) has been named as the Viterra Division’s nominee for SJHL ‘Best Defenceman’, and Griffin Asham-Moroz (’01, West St. Paul, MB) has been named as the Viterra Division’s nominee for SJHL ‘Rookie of the Year’.
Viterra Division – Devan Harrison (’00), Estevan Bruins (51GP – 5G, 26A = 31PTS – 60PIM)
The second-year defenceman for the Bruins has been rock solid on the blueline all season long, playing top minutes in all situations against the opposition’s top line. Harrison is still eligible to play next season with the Bruins and has already established himself as one of the top players in any position across the SJHL. Harrison has rose up the ranks statistically with 18 points in the Bruins’ 18 games since the Christmas break, including 8 points (1G, 7A) in the last 4 games to pull one point behind Kade McMillen (5G, 27A = 32PTS) for the team lead in points among defenceman. On that note, honourable mention for McMillen who undoubtedly would have been named the Viterra Division’s nominee for Best Defenceman if not for his teammate.
Global Ag Risk Division – Matthew Fletcher (’99), Battlefords North Stars (55GP – 12G, 35A = 47PTS – 30PIM)
Battlefords’ captain has been at or near the top of scoring for SJHL defenceman all season (one point back as of today), his team has clinched 1st overall in the standings with two weeks to play, and Battlefords sports the lowest goals-against in the SJHL.
Sherwood Division – Alex Rondeau, Melfort Mustangs (43GP – 10G, 23A = 33PTS – 106PIM)
The 20-year-old has been Melfort’s most consistent defender at both ends of the ice and the Mustangs hold the second lowest goals-against, behind only Battlefords, in the SJHL.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Viterra Division – Griffin Asham-Moroz (’01), Estevan Bruins (48GP – 17G, 23A = 40PTS – 50PIM)
It’s been a stellar rookie season for the 18-year-old forward, who played last season with the Winnipeg Thrashers in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League. Asham-Moroz has made an immediate impact with the Bruins, scoring in his first home game at Affinity Place in September. Since then, Asham-Moroz has consistently produced offensively scoring just under a point-per-game pace while playing top minutes at the centre position. The rookie translated his success into an appearance at the SJHL/MJHL Showcase in January and has spent the majority of this season on a line with fellow rookie forwards Tyler Savage (34PTS in 44GP) and Troy Hamilton (26PTS in 38GP).
Asham-Moroz will continued to be relied upon at both ends of the rink in the team’s playoff push this season, and Bruins’ fans are excited to watch him play in Estevan for a while as he is eligible to play two more seasons with the black-and-gold.
Global Ag Risk Division – Karter McNarland (’03), Humboldt Broncos (54GP – 10G, 33A = 43PTS – 24PIM)
McNarland has played the majority of this season as a 16-year-old, only turning 17 on February 10th. McNarland has been a consistent top point-producer on a young Broncos team that has scored the 3rd-most goals in the SJHL.
Sherwood Division – Tristan Lemyre (’01), Flin Flon Bombers (40GP – 26G, 31A = 57PTS – 14PIM)
Lemyre has not only been one of the top rookies in the SJHL this season, but one of the top forwards league-wide as he sits 7th overall in league scoring while pacing all rookies. Lemyre parlayed his production into a NCAA Division I scholarship with the University of Denver, announcing the commitment in mid-January.
RANCIER EDGED OUT BY BERKELIEV FOR TOP GOALIE NOMINATION
Though it was a decision expected to go either way, Bruins’ fans will be shocked to learn that MVP-caliber netminder Keenan Rancier (’00, Victoria, BC) was not chosen as the Viterra Division’s nominee for Top Goalie. That nomination instead went to Melville Millionaires’ goaltender Berk Berkeliev.
Both goaltenders have a strong case for the award, and will likely have the inside track on winning the league-wide award. Berk Berkeliev has a strong case based on his personal numbers (31GP – 11W, 16L, 3SOL – 2.83 G.A.A. – .928SV%) despite playing for the SJHL’s worst team based on points. Berkeliev likely also got the nod on an emotional level, as the 2000-born goaltender returned from a potentially season-ending concussion suffered during Melville’s home opener on September 14th, when Berkeliev was charged over by then-Terriers’ forward Greg Mulhall who was subsequently suspended and later kicked out of the league for his actions during and following the incident. Berkeliev missed almost two months of action while recovering, and returned playing as good as any netminder in the SJHL.
However, while Bruins’ fans are happy to see Berkeliev return and play great, it will still sting not seeing Keenan Rancier, the team’s top goaltender in several years and one leading the SJHL in wins and minutes played, not even be nominated for Top Goalie.
Rancier’s personal statistics (2.71 G.A.A., .918 SV%) are similar to Berkeliev’s, however Rancier has appeared in a league-high 44 games, played a league-high 2,543 minutes, accrued a league-high 23 wins, and his consistent play throughout the season has been the key reason the Bruins are not only in a playoff spot (currently 8th, 7 points up on 9th place Kindersley), but are threatening to move up as high as 4th/5th/6th depending how the final two weeks of the season play out.
As well, understanding that Berkeliev’s injury was through no fault of his own, Rancier has faced more top scoring teams than Berkeliev and has still maintained stats that rival any goaltender in the league. There’s a very real possibility that Rancier surpasses the 50-game mark, and arguably no player will have had a more positive impact on his team’s success than the 19-year-old netminder in his first season with the club.
FULL SJHL AWARD NOMINEES
Most Valuable Player
Viterra Division – Chantz Petruic (YOR), Global Ag Risk Division – Logan Foster (HUM), Sherwood Division – Cole Rafuse (FFB)
Player of the Year
Viterra Division – Chantz Petruic (YOR), Global Ag Risk Division – Quintin Loon-Stewardson (BAT), Sherwood Division – Alec Malo (FFB)
Viterra Division – Berk Berkeliev (MLV), Global Ag Risk Division – Riley Kohonick (ND), Sherwood Division – Liam McGarva (LAR)
Viterra Division – Devan Harrison (EST), Global Ag Risk Division – Matthew Fletcher (BAT), Sherwood Division – Alex Rondeau (MFT)
Rookie Of The Year
Viterra Division – Griffin Asham-Moroz (EST), Global Ag Risk Division – Karter McNarland (HUM), Sherwood Division – Tristan Lemyre (FFB)
Coach Of The Year
No nominations yet, to be determined.
Members of the SJHL Media will cast their votes before February 20th for each category. All coaches will cast their votes for the Coach of the Year award, as well as the five categories before February 20th. The winners will be announced before the end of the regular season.