The SIJHL galaxy’s brightest lights were recognized yesterday, with several Fort Frances Lakers selected among the league’s elite.
Fort Frances placed four members of its squad on the CCM Hockey 1st All-Star Team, with two more making it onto the 2nd All-Star Team.
Leading the way for the Lakers on the 1st Team is forward Dylan Robertson.
The 20-year-old from Atlanta was the SIJHL scoring champion this season with 88 points and also led the league in assists with 57 and game-winning goals with seven, along with an SIJHL-best 15-game point-scoring streak
Robertson was named the Gongshow Gear performer of the month for February and was picked as the league’s top defensive forward last week, with a strong possibility of being chosen the Amyotte’s Awards & Promotions most valuable player later on today.
Joining him on the 1st All-Star Team was Fort blueliner Nick Minerva, who led all SIJHL and CJHL defencemen in scoring with 73 points (second overall behind Robertson) and was tops among SIJHL blueliners with nine power-play goals.
The 20-year-old from New Brunswick, N.J., was selected the SIJHL-Gongshow Gear top defenceman last week.
Wayne Strachan was a two-time all-star, as he made the 1st Team as both coach and general manager.
Strachan just received his unprecedented fifth SIJHL coach of the year award on Tuesday after leading the Lakers to its third consecutive regular-season title with a 46-8-0-2 record, tying the franchise mark for wins in a season.
Under his tutelage, the Fort have won the last two Bill Salonen Cups and finished No. 5 in the final CJHL Pointstreak top 20 weekly rankings this season.
Also getting a 1st Team selection in the trainer/equipment manager category was the Lakers’ Dale Cooper.
Other 1st Team choices included the Thunder Bay North Stars tandem of forward Nicholas Nigro (league-best 32 goals) and a league MVP finalist in goaltender Riley Corbin, along with the Dryden GM Ice Dogs duo of forward Braeden Allkins (sixth in league scoring, 54 points) and another league MVP nominee in defenceman Kyle Pouncy.
As for the 2nd Team, forward Andrew Willner of the Fort made it based on a season where the 20-year-old from New Brighton, Mn., finished fourth overall in league scoring with 58 points.
Willner was selected last week as the league’s most sportsmanlike player after recording just 10 penalty minutes in 52 games.
Goaltender Pierce Dushenko rounded out the Lakers’ collection of all-stars, qualifying for 2nd Team after leading the league in wins with a 28-4-0-2 record and finishing second to teammate Brandon Bodnar in goals-against average (2.68) and save percentage (.920) to go along with two shutouts.
Also making the cut among on-ice personnel for the 2nd Team were forwards Matt Houston (Dryden) and Konnar Dechaine (English River Miners) and former Laker Aaron Wesley-Chisel (Thunder Bay) and Dalton Johnson (Minnesota Iron Rangers) on defence.
Kurt Walsten of Dryden was chosen as the coach of the 2nd Team, with Scott Kellaway (Thunder Bay) nabbing the general manager spot and Jim Wright (Dryden) selected as trainer/equipment manager.