Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kings Award Winners

Vern Dye Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player)
Coastal Conference
Matt Garbowsky

If you watched one King's game this season you know why Matt Garbowsky is the MVP. He lead the league in goal scoring (44) without playing a full season (56 games). He lead the team in PPG (12) SHG (4) and GWG (11).  However, his award winning season goes beyond the scoresheet.

Garbowsky along with Chad Niddery made up arguably the best penalty-killing tandem in the BCHL. The two combined for seven short handed goals, but their play without the puck, was second to none. Routinely Garbowsky would create turnovers in the offensive zone when killing penalties as he harassed opposing defensemen all season long. When he was inside his own zone, Garbowsky had the ability to always find the puck, no matter where he was. He also blocked shots with the best of them.

When at even strength, Garbowsky would routinely line-up against the opposition's best line and the majority of time they would be snuffed out. As Kent Lewis would say, the key to their defensive success is puck control, and that starts in the faceoff circles. I would say Garbowsky's face-off percentage is one of the best. I would be hard pressed to find a player better than him when it comes to controling the puck. His ability of cycling the puck below the circles and keeping it away from defenders is uncanny.

Top Defenceman Award
Coastal Conference
Justin DaSilva

Justin DaSilva put together quite the 20 year old season. DaSilva increased his point total by nine from last season with 11 goals and 32 assists to lead all Coastal Conference defensemen in scoring and finished fourth in team scoring. The 6'5, 215 pound defenseman played big minutes in all situations for the Kings (power-play, penalty-kill, four on four). Some might say his his physical attributes alone could give him a distinct advantage at winning this award. However it's not all about just having the advantages, it's about knowing how to use them.

DaSilva's improvement from last season to this season is by all accounts, night and day. The towering rear guard didn't always have to lay the body to be a force in his own zone. His positional play and angles while defending might be overlooked.  DaSilva puts himself in the right position to angle off or stick check an opposing forward. Just look at his penalty-minutes from last season to this season, which is down twelve minutes.

Offensively, I saw a player who showed poise and vision when manning the blue-line, especially on the power-play. Earlier this season DaSilva was often guilty of forcing or rushing shots off from the point. However as the season progressed, he started being selective and showed good vision with his distribution of the puck. Oh hey, when he did shoot, look out.

BCHL Goaltending Award

Mike Garteig

What can you say that hasn't already been said about the Prince George native? Mike Garteig led the league in wins, shutouts, goals against average and save percentage. In fact, Garteig tied the BCHL single-season shutout record with 7. He also set a new BCHL single-season record for goals against average of 1.69. Garteig also compiled two separate six game winning streaks which included ending the season on a nine game winning streak. Garteig collected back-to-back shutouts twice and held the opposition to one goal in 22 of his 48 games played.

The only stats Garteig didn't dominate were games played and minutes played, where he was fourth in both categories. That's simply because of the breakout season of 17 year old "back-up" Sean Maguire. The two also earned the Wally Forslund Memorial Trophy as the leagues best combined GAA.

Critics say he only compiled such great numbers because of the personnel in front of him. However, if you watched a game, you would know there were plenty of games when Garteig had to stand on his head. It isn't easy standing cold for extended periods of time then being tested with a great scoring chance and having to make the save. Many games Garteig's limited shots against were "big save" moments and he was there to answer the call.

Joe Tenant Memorial Trophy (Coach of the Year)
Coastal Conference – Kent Lewis

Kent will be ready to rib me about the attention put on the players with this awards write up and that is exactly why he is one of the best. Kent preaches a team first attitude right to it's very core. He makes it very clear that it's about the logo on the front and not the name on the back.

His philosophy is that it takes forwards one through 12, heck 15, and all seven defensemen contributing to have team success. His formula isn't complicated.  He always states in our interviews that it's about how his team plays within themselves and executing their game plan. He will be the first one to tell you it's about putting pucks in deep, establishing a forecheck and winning the battles between the glass. He is an excellent communicator and motivator and is very loyal to the program and the players respond for that. A well deserved award indeed.

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