Mintos tap Lamotte for MVP

This year’s P.A. Mintos award winners, from let to right: Josh Pillar, Luke Nkwama, Alex Moar, Kade McMillen, Kyrell Sopotyk, Tanner Robin and Parker Fofonoff. Missing: Austin Lamotte and Kishaun Gervais. --Photo courtesy of Prince Albert Mintos/Submitted

The Prince Albert Mintos have selected top-line forward Austin Lamotte as this year’s most valuable player for the 2017-18 season.

The Midget AAA hockey club handed out its annual awards Saturday in Prince Albert; Lamotte’s line-mate and Mintos captain Kyrell Sopotyk was picked as the team’s playoff MVP for the season.

Mintos rookie Josh Pillar was chosen as the team’s top rookie, complimenting his rookie of the year league award, handed out by the Saskatchewan Hockey Association earlier this year in March.

Lamotte, Sopotyk and Pillar take home the awards after helping guide the P.A. club to a third-place regular season finish and a berth in the postseason.

In the playoffs, Mintos coaches Ken Morrison, Bryan Swystun and Victor Corduban frequently grouped the trio together as the team’s top-line; they helped power the team to playoff series sweeps against the Saskatoon Contacts and the Regina Pat Canadians in the first and second rounds.

That earned the Mintos a berth in the Midget AAA league finals against the Notre Dame Hounds; the Hounds won the series three games to none.

It was the first time since 2013 that the Prince Albert club played for a provincial league championship.

Throughout the first half of the regular season this year, Lamotte and Pillar were frequently relied on to power the Mintos’ offence on the front end, while Sopotyk sat out with an injury; the team’s captain played his first game on Jan. 6, and only played in nine regular season games.

Lamotte and Pillar led their team this year in regular season points (45 and 50, respectively), while Pillar was first in goals scored (21), and Lamotte was first in assists (30).

Sopotyk played all nine playoff games once they started, and he led the team in postseason points (13) and goals (10); Lamotte and Pillar each had nine postseason points.

Sopotyk and Pillar are draftees of the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers, while Lamotte is a prospect (via list) of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.

Fellow forward Kishaun Gervais earned the team’s top forward award, while blue-liners Alex Moar and Kade McMillen each took home top defenceman awards.

Moar also had nine playoff points (through nine games) to go along with 23 regular season points (six goals and 17 assists through 34 games played). He’s a draftee of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.

McMillen led all Mintos defencemen this year in regular season scoring: He had 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 total points. He’s currently a prospect of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Estevan Bruins.

On the front end, Gervais – who’s a prospect of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants – was third in team scoring this year: He notched 18 goals and 25 assists for 43 total points. He also had six playoff points.

Rookie forward Parker Fofonoff was given the team’s most sportsmanlike player award. Through 44 games played, he had 15 goals, 20 assists and only 28 penalty minutes. Fofonoff is a prospect of the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs.

The Mintos awarded forward Tanner Robin with its dedication and commitment award: Through 33 games played, the Saskatoon native had 18 total points.

Rookie forward Luke Nkwama won the team’s scholastic award for the year. On the ice, he proved adept at scoring, often providing secondary scoring for the Mintos.

Through 43 games played, Nkwama had 15 goals and 12 assists for 27 total points to go along with only 22 total penalty minutes.

Nkwama is a draftee of the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires.