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AJHL Home Stretch Check-In

By Sam Laskaris on February 25, 2017

Cale Makar of the Brooks Bandits is a finalist for the AJHL's MVP and Most Outstanding Defenceman trophies. (Courtesy of the Brooks Bandits)

Award Finalists Announced
The AJHL has announced the finalists who are up for some prestigious league-wide awards.

The league’s coaches and general managers voted on the finalists for six major awards. Winners will be announced during the final week of the regular season.

Regular season action concludes on Mar. 5.

Highly-touted defencemen Cale Makar (Brooks Bandits) and Ian Mitchell (Spruce Grove Saints) are finalists for a pair of awards.

Besides the MVP award, the pair are also in the running for the most outstanding defenceman trophy.

Both Makar and Mitchell are expected to be selected in this June’s National Hockey League Entry Draft. In fact, Makar’s stock has been rising throughout the year and it is expected he will be an early first-round pick.

Calgary Canucks goaltender Logan Drackett and Whitecourt Wolverines forward Justin Young are the two other finalists for the MVP award.

Finalists were also announced for Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, Top Goaltender and Most Dedicated Player.

Like MVP candidates Makar and Mitchell, Drackett is also a finalist in a second category. He’s one of five finalists for the Top Goaltender Award.

Various other league awards will also be presented at the conclusion of the regular season. But no voting is required as some of these trophies, including those to the scoring champ and goaltenders with the best goals-against average, are stats-based.

Junior Veteran Lipon Contributing To Wolverines
A well-traveled junior player has played a huge role in the Whitecourt Wolverines’ successes this season.

Forward Mitch Lipon, who is in his final season of junior eligibility, has been one of Whitecourt’s main offensive threats. He had chalked up 60 points (22 goals, 38 assists) in his first 52 outings.

During his junior career, the Regina native has appeared in 76 Western Hockey League contests, suiting up for the Kamloops Blazers, Saskatoon Blades and Spokane Chiefs.

Lipon, 20, also spent a portion of a season in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League with the Melville Millionaires. And last year he toiled with the British Columbia Hockey League’s Merritt Centennials.

Dupuis A Threat Shorthanded
Bonnyville Pontiacs forward Alden Dupuis is a player opposing teams should focus on based on his point-per-game average this season.

The 20-year-old forward has even proven to be a threat while his squad is a man short. Dupuis was leading all AJHL players with five shorthanded goals through his first 53 matches.

Dupuis, who is in his third season with the Pontiacs, had not scored an AJHL shorthanded goal prior to this year.

At press time, he had earned a total of 53 points, including 23 goals, through 53 matches.

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By Sam Laskaris| February 25, 2017
Categories:  Junior

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