Josh Currie was the big winner at the P.E.I. Rocket’s Fans Choice Awards banquet Monday in Charlottetown, winning the most dedicated, the Leading Edge and the player-of-the-year awards.
The 20-year-old Charlottetown native and Rocket captain finished second in team scoring (104 points), led the team in goals (49) and provided veteran stability in the his final Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season.
The last point being proved by the award Currie favoured the most.
“(The best is) the Leading Edge award, I think, because it was voted on by the players. It means my teammates think highly of me,” said Currie, who finished with 97 goals and 185 points in four seasons in P.E.I.
Other winners included Ben Duffy, the league’s scoring champion (110 points) taking the offensive player-of-the-year award, Alexis Pépin earning the rookie-of-the-year award, Deverick Ottereyes nabbing the hardest working player award and tough guy Pat McGrath, who led the league in penalty minutes (181), taking home the fan- favourite award.
Defenceman Jimmy Oligny won the top defensive player award. The 19-year-old posted a solid campaign with a plus-three rating and 142 penalty minutes in 65 games and, with overage blue-liner Alex Micallef, spearheaded a stronger Rocket defensive core.
Oligny, a former first-round pick out of St-Michel Que., also bumped up his offence, notching 13 goals and 29 assists.
That said, he didn’t put himself in the running for offensive player of year.
“No, I knew with Duffy and Currie that would be impossible,” he said with a laugh. “But I improved and I’m proud of that. It’s good, a good feeling to be recognized (with an award).”
Next for the Rocket is the playoffs, which it missed in 2012 after finishing with 19 wins and in last place.
This year, P.E.I. finished with a franchise-high 41 wins, good for seventh place overall and a first-round date with the 10th-place Val-d’Or Foreurs (35-27-0-6).
Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven series are Friday and Saturday at the Civic Centre. Start times are 7 p.m.
Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary) are March 26, 27 and 29, respectively, in Val-d’Or.
P.E.I. lost to Val-d’Or 6-3 at the Civic Centre and 6-5 in a shootout in Val-d’Or.
The Foreurs feature the league’s top goal scorer in Anthony Mantha (50 goals) and Anton Zlobin, who had 91 points this season after potting the winning goal in Shawnigan’s victory over the London Knights in last year’s Memorial Cup.
Currie knows nothing will be easy in the series.
“They’re a big physical team. If we stay out of the box, stay disciplined, I think we can take them,” he said.
Duffy and Rocket goalie Antoine Bibeau were the league’s first and third starsof the week, respectively.
Duffy had four goals and nine points in three games while Bibeau went 3-0, including a shutout, with a 2.33 goals-against average of 2.33 and a .932 save percentage.
Bibeau led the league in shutouts (five), finished second in save percentage (.911) and placed fifth in wins (28).
u Player of the Year Award (selected by three-star points standings) - Josh Currie.
u Leading Edge Award (voted by players) - Josh Currie.
u Offensive Player of the Year (voted by fans) - Ben Duffy.
u Defensive Player of the Year (voted by fans) - Jimmy Oligny.
u Rookie of the Year (voted by fans) - Alexis Pépin.
u Most Dedicated Player (voted by fans) - Josh Currie.
u Hardest Working Player (voted by fans) - Deverick Ottereyes.
u Fan Favourite (voted by fans) - Pat McGrath.
u Student of the Year (selected by Rocket academic consultants) - Alex Micallef.
u Community Involvement Award (selected by team personnel) - The Rocket players.
u Volunteer of the Year Award (selected by team management) - Jenn Ellis.
u Most Dedicated Employee (selected by team president and vice-president) - Stephen Burke.