The Rapids’ organization proceeded on Wednesday night to its first awards’ ceremony for the most deserving players of the past season. Jean-Simon Belanger picked up three awards during the event that served as the closing point to its inaugural season in Grand Falls.
Following is the complete list of recipients for the 2018-2019 campaign:
Most valuable player : JEAN-SIMON BELANGER
*Jean-Simon was the spark on the Rapids’ offensive unit this season, finishing first in team scoring with 76 points (36g 40a) while obtaining the best record on the power play with 27 points (10g 17a). Each time Jean-Simon made a rush into the opposing end or executed his famous one-timer slapshot, the crowd always anticipated good things to happen as they admired his great talent and intensity. With his impressive statistics to show for, Belanger was also named to the MHL’s all-star team as the top right winger for the 2018-2019 campaign.
Best defenseman : KYLE ANDERSON
*Kyle is considered as a very reliable defenseman as he showed all season long that he can be depended on as a leader and a big asset on the blue line. As one of three players on the team to play all 50 games this season, Anderson never backed down to the league’s most talented players of the opposing team and he even was a key component to the Rapids’ power play. In fact, 14 of his 25 points obtained this season came with the man advantage.
Top forward: DAWSON WOOD
*No matter the stakes or the situation on hand, Dawson was always at its best as he finished among the league’s top 20 scorers with a record of 24 goals and 28 assists for 52 points in 50 games played. Wood was also the best goal scorer on the power play for the Rapids with 11 tallies to his credit, putting him in 4th spot in the league in that department. His physical style of play, especially in front of the net, gave the opposing goalies much to worry about when no.91 was standing right in front of them.
Rookie of the year: MATTHEW MacKAY
*Considered as a versatile player, Matthew had a great first season to his MHL career. He was also used occasionally on offence this season, proving to his coaches that he can handle every situation with great poise. His ice time was very noticeable as he was used proficiently when the outcome of the game took more importance from period to period. MacKay, who played all 50 games this season with the Rapids, finished the season with a record of 10 goals and 20 assists for 30 points. His strong performance at the blue line was rewarded by the MHL as he was named the Pro Design Cresting Rookie of the month for February and March, as well as a member of the all-rookie all-star team for the 2018-2019 season.
Most underrated player : ANTONI MATTE
*Making his mark this season as a great two-way player, this young man from Lincoln, New Brunswick, had a great season for the Rapids. Antoni never backed down from the league’s top guns and most experienced players as his performance in the second part of the season was a key part to the Rapids’ offensive success. In fact, he picked up 13 of his 18 points this season from early January until the last weekend in March. Matte was also very efficient in shorthanded situations as he received the confidence of his coaches in the game’s most crucial moments.
Most improved player : MARK RICHARD
*Despite an offensive record of 3 goals and 8 assists for 11 points, Mark was an integral part to the team’s offence, notably in the second portion of the season as he was used in many situations. No matter which linemates he played with, he always gave his maximum effort to contribute offensively, getting good scoring opportunities when he was in control of the puck in the opposing end. As a member of the Moncton midget AAA Flyers in 2017-2018, Richard has just completed his first season playing in the MHL.
Top scorer : JEAN-SIMON BELANGER
*Belanger finished second among the MHL’s top scorers with an impressive record of 36 goals and 40 assists for a total of 76 points. He also finished second in goals scored and second for power play points with 27. Belanger finished first on his team for points, goals scored, assists, and points obtained with the man advantage.
Coaches’ award: BRADY PATTERSON
*Brady played in 47 games this season for the Rapids, scoring 4 goals while picking up 5 assists in his first MHL season. He also played on defense, which he did extremely well by the coaches’ standards. Brady always brought energy to the room and put at all times the needs of his team before his own. Patterson will turn 19 on May 25th, which still makes him eligible for a return with the team next season.
Community leader award: NOLAN BOYD
*Nolan, who’s from Fall Rivers Nova Scotia, was impressive during his very first season of play in the Maritimes Junior Hockey League. He finished with a goals against average of 5.03, picking up two wins in net in 1169 minutes played. However, it is his community involvement which helped him become a fan favorite, especially among the younger generation of athletes. Boyd has a promising future ahead of him as he will most certainly be among the league’s top goaltenders in the upcoming years.
Michaud Petroleum Shell Cup award: JEAN-SIMON BELANGER
*Belanger is the recipient of the first edition of the Michaud Petroleum Shell Cup which is awarded to the player who has picked up the most points in regard to the games’ three-star selection.
Note that Dawson Wood was the last quarter recipient of the award. Jean-Simon Belanger (first and third quarter recipient) and goaltender Andrew Rose (second quarter recipient) were also rewarded this season with the Michaud Petroleum Cup.
Scholastic player of the year (chosen by the education committee): ANDREW ROSE
*Andrew, who originates from Conception Bay South Newfoundland, was a key figure on the Rapids’ squad this season as he picked up 11 victories in net while finishing with a goals-against average of 4.41. His spectacular saves which were made throughout the season were applauded many times by the crowd at the E.&P. Sénéchal Centre. Andrew is also a model student, which helped him receive this award as the scholastic player of the year for the Rapids, a well deserved recognition which was chosen by the education committee.
Patrick Thibault (Rapides de Grand-Sault)
Photo credit: Studio Martine Caron
Bottom left to right: Nolan Boyd, Jean Simon Bélanger, Mark Richard
Top row: Brady Patterson, Matthew MacKay, Dawson Wood, Kyle Anderson, Antoni Matte & Andrew Rose