Raiders name Stallard MVP

Raiders centreman Jordy Stallard, a draftee of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, led his team in regular season scoring this year. -- Evan Radford/Daily Herald

Leading goal-scorer, Pachal, Montgomery win multiple year-end team awards

The Prince Albert Raiders handed out their year-end awards Friday night, with centreman Jordy Stallard earning the team’s Most Valuable Player award, capping off a career-best regular season for the 20-year old.

With still two games to go in Western Hockey League regular season play, Stallard hit 90 points on the year, courtesy 44 goals and 46 assists; all three totals are single-season career bests for the Brandon, Man. native.

Stallard dressed in 70 games this season, also a career-best. He finished those 70 games with a +9 rating.

Stallard’s 44 goals also won him the Leading Scorer Award.

Defenceman and fellow alternate captain Brayden Pachal also earned two awards on the year: The Best Conditioned Player award and the Players Choice award, the latter of which was voted on by his teammates.

Pachal was frequently a driving force for his team, both on the power play and by willing the puck out of his zone into opposing teams’ zones. If a game’s momentum lulled or started to die down, Pachal frequently used his speed and puck-handling skills to carry the puck into the offensive zone to create chances for the Raiders.

The 18-year-old notched 7 goals and 19 assists for 26 total points through 67 games played.

Centreman Sean Montgomery was awarded the team’s Humanitarian of the Year award and the Best Defensive Forward award.

On the ice, Montgomery had a career year: Through 70 games, he scored 12 goals to go with 16 assists for 28 total points. He incurred only 12 penalty minutes.

Not necessarily reflected in the Calgarian’s stats is his positional, hockey sense.

Throughout the season, it was hard to find holes in his playing style; as the play on the ice shifted from one end to the other, Montgomery’s positioning often instigated a turnover for the Raiders or a blocked shot or pass on an opponent, whether on the back-check or the forecheck. He also had a knack for finding open line-mates waiting to receive a pass in the offensive zone.

Justin Nachbaur was awarded the Raiders’ top rookie award for his gritty, hard-nosed play this year. — Evan Radford/Daily Herald

The following list shows the remaining award-winners and includes a brief write-up about each skater, along with his stats for the year.

  • Lionel Diehl Memorial Hardest Working Player – Parker Kelly

Sometimes the star of the game, sometimes the unsung hero. When he wasn’t frustrating, chipping and checking opposing players, he was creating scoring chances for his line-mates, sometimes at his own expense. He also proved to be an effective scorer on the year; 28 goals, 30 assists for 58 points (all career bests) through 68 games; +10 rating

  • Rotary Club Scholastic Player of the Year – Curtis Miske and Eric Pearce

Miske, the stoic Raiders captain, had a career-best year. Through 70 games, he scored 26 goals with 37 assists for 63 total points. His +10 rating on the year was also a career best for him.

Pearce had to contend with a few other players to earn his spot on the team, and he succeeded. The rookie Reginan sees regular time ice time with Carson Miller and Nikita Krivokrasov. Pearce played in 47 games, notching six total points.

  • Most Improved Player – Cole Fonstad

The 17-year-old Estevan native was the second leading point-scorer on the team, behind Stallard. Fonstad had 21 goals and 52 assists for 73 total points through 70 games; last season through 69 games, he tallied 26 total points. A good chunk of those assists accounted for Stallard’s, Miske’s and Kelly’s goals on the year. Watch for Fonstad to resemble former Regina Pat Adam Brooks as he continues playing in the league.

His 50-plus assists ranks him with NHLers and former Raiders Leon Draisaitl and Scott Hartnell, who also hit that mark when they were with the P.A. club.

  • Most Valuable Defenceman – Vojtech Budik

The 20-year-old Czech defenceman was a game-changer for his team, notching four game-winning goals on the year. Along with Pachal, Budik was frequently a leader on the defensive unit, whether on power plays, at even strength or on the penalty kill; 14 goals, 27 assists for 41 total points through 62 games; +7 rating.

Budik is a draftee of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.

  • Rookie of the Year – Justin Nachbaur

A wrecking ball with a scoring touch who skates with the mobility of a player half his size; 9 goals and 10 assists for 19 total points through 64 games this year; 47 penalty minutes

  • Molson Cup Three Star Awards

1st – Jordy Stallard, 2nd –Cole Fonstad, 3rd – Curtis Miske

The Raiders continue their year into the postseason against the Moose Jaw Warriors. Game 1 goes March 23 at 7 p.m. in Moose Jaw.

Watch the Daily Herald for full coverage and a preview of the Raiders-Warriors round 1 playoff series.