With a few days between games for the Rebels why not take a closer look at the Neil Murdoch division All-Stars, named last week. All of the recipients deserve more than the passing glance I afforded them on Sunday night..
Top Scorer: Ryan Aynsley, Castlegar. What else can you say. If Aynsley had played all 50 games for the Rebels this year there's no doubt he would have been right up alongside Fernie's Scott Morisseau and Thomas Abenante for the league lead. The offense slowed slightly upon his return from Trail, but so did the one-dimensional play. My honourable mention: Zac Thompson, Grand Forks. He got plenty of ice-time, and was dangerous every shift.
Top Defenseman: Darren Tarasoff, Castlegar. A shut-down guy with a booming point shot, Tarasoff had a terrific regular season scoring 28 points in 42 games. His return from Williams Lake (BCHL) late last year was a huge boost for the Rebels' blue line. My honourable mention: Derek Lashuk, Beaver Valley. Burst onto the KIJHL scene as an 18 year-old, scoring 9 goals and was a cog on a surprisingly good 'Hawks squad.
Top Goaltender: Alex Ross, Castlegar. Ross improved by leaps and bounds over last year, and his stellar play was surely a deciding factor in the decision to ship Andrew Walton to Fernie Now forms a dynamite one-two punch with Cole Buckley. My honourable mention: Darren Hogg, Nelson. The rookie won the Leafs' number-one gig over Marcus Beesley, going 11-6 before getting hurt in early January.
Top Coach: Steve Junker, Castlegar. Junker took the Rebels to new heights this regular season in his first year as head coach, winning 42 games and bringing a fresh perspective to the club. He's the last person to ever take credit, but every player I've spoken to this year pins the success on his shoulders. My honourable mention: Terry Jones, Beaver Valley. He knew what we didn't, apparently. Jones had faith in his squad, making few changes after shipping out a pair of stars, and quietly led Beaver Valley to a 32-13-1-4 record.
Most Valuable Player: Ryan Aynsley, Castlegar. There's no questioning his skill, as mentioned earlier. The 20 year-old proved his worth at the Junior A level this year and is off to Northern Michigan University in 2011-12. Aynsley scored 147 points in his two seasons in Castlegar. My honourable mention: Gavin Currie, Nelson. The Leafs skip to the beat of Currie's drum, and he was sorely missed during his lengthy absence recovering from an injury suffered on New Year's Eve. Despite that, the Abbotsford product came close to leading the Leafs in scoring again this year.
Rookie of the Year: Dallas Calvin, Beaver Valley. Calvin and fellow 16 year-old Ryan Dixon were two to watch for the 'Hawks this season (before Dixon moved up to Trail). A point-per-game player in his first season of junior hockey, Calvin is one to watch in the future (and he throws a decent ball game too). My honourable mention: Mitch Fowler, Spokane. A 17 year-old, Fowler put up 32 points on a low-scoring Braves offense, but was dangerous every time he touched the puck. Don't be surprised if both Fowler and fellow '93 teammate Jesse Collins get a look at the Junior A level next year.
Most Sportsmanlike Player: Ryon Sookro, Beaver Valley. The Nitehawks are known as a chippy, aggressive team, but Sookro stuck to scoring. The 19 year-old led BV with 60 points while picking up only 42 PIMs. My honourable mention: Stuart Walton, Castlegar. Walton enjoyed a career year with 55 points, and was issued only 49 penalty minutes, 15 of those coming in a memorable tilt with Nelson's Colton Malmsten for which he incurred a one-game suspension. Walton is an honest, hard-working player and was also named the Conference Player of the Month in January.
The Best of the Rest: The league posted all of the KIJHL award-winners late yesterday.
EDDIE MOUNTAIN DIVISION:
Defence: Jeff Zmurchyk, Fernie.
Sportsmanlike: Josh MacDonald, Golden.
MVP: Scott Morisseau, Fernie.
Rookie of the Year: T.J. Fairall, Golden.
Coach: Joe Martin, Creston Valley.
Top Scorer: Morisseau, Fernie.
Top Goaltender: Andrew Walton, Fernie.
DOUG BIRKS DIVISION:
Defence: Reid Blinkhorn, Revelstoke.
Sportsmanlike: Colin Minardi, North Okanagan.
MVP: Mark Arnold, Sicamous.
Rookie of the Year: Lyndon Stanwood, Kamloops.
Coach: Sylvain Leone, North Okanagan.
Top Scorer: Bruce Silvera, Revelstoke.
Top Goaltender: Stanwood, Kamloops.
Defence: Shane Hanna, Osoyoos.
Sportsmanlike: Mike Sandor, Penticton.
MVP: Thierry Martine, Osoyoos.
Rookie of the Year: Hanna, Osoyoos.
Coach: Ken Law, Osoyoos.
Top Scorer: Martine, Osoyoos.
Top Goaltender: Kyle Laslo, Osoyoos.
Audio Galore: My Mountain FM colleague Jon Zacks and I scrummed a few Rebels following Game 5, have a listen:
For Darren Tarasoff, click here.
For Spencer Brodt, click here.
For Cole Buckley, click here.
Leafs/BV Update: The 'Hawks won Game 5 last night by a count of 6-3, thanks to a 4-point performance from Ryon Sookro and Colton Donselaar. Beaver Valley can close out the series tonight in Nelson (7:00, NDCC) and will not have to face Nelson's Dustin Johnson, who leads the team in scoring with 8 points but is suspended for tonight's game (misconduct rule).
Round Two: Games 1 & 2 will be this Friday and Saturday, at the Complex.