The first Canadian Lacrosse League regular season is in the books. The playoffs start this Sunday, April 1 with the semi-finals. Brampton faces Ohsweken at 1 pm and Durham takes on Iroquois at 4, both at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. That means it’s time for some end-of-season recognition. The official CLax awards will be announced next week, before the Creator’s Cup championship game to be held Saturday April 7 at 2 pm. But today we present the IL Indoor CLax awards. There’s the traditional MVP and position awards, plus some that are a bit more lighthearted or off the beaten track. We’ll share our goal of the year and saves of the year, our All-Star teams and the Lacrosse Cy Young. See all that and more after the jump.
Most Valuable Player
This award always brings up the discussion of what exactly the most valuable player is. Some opt for simply the best player, others say it should be who means the most to his team. We’re going for a hybrid approach.
Chris Attwood (Ohsweken Demons) 35 goals, 36 assists, 71 points. He scored 25% more points than anyone in the league despite missing a pair of games with an ear infection and being largely ineffective in his first two games back from it. In the 10 games where he was healthy he totaled 68 points. He was clearly the outstanding player in CLax. He was also critical to Ohsweken’s success.
Mike Attwood (Iroquois Ironmen) 5-2 record, 11.88 gaa, .772 save percentage. Looking at the numbers, it’s arguable whether Attwood is one of the league’s All-Star goalies. He faded down the stretch and was pulled in his last game before the playoffs. But the playoffs were looking a long way away after Iroquois lost their first four games, giving up 66 goals in the process. Then they traded away goalie Jeff Powless, who went on to shine for Ohsweken, and moved Attwood between the pipes. He turned their season around and gave the Ironmen the confidence to play with anyone in the league.
Colin Boucher (Durham Turfdogs) 7g, 7a, 14pts, 8 PIM. You could look at their leading scorers like Dan Ransom or Aaron Grayson, you could look to goalie Gary Muzzin, but nobody brings the Turfdog style to life like Boucher. He’s a 6′5”, 225 pound defender who has taken to CLax’s two-play like a duck to water. He’s as good a shut-down D as you’ll find in the league. He has a non-stop motor, constantly hustling to pursue loose balls or ball carriers. He seldom gets himself out of position, but when he does he has the speed and desire to get back. Boucher doesn’t score much, but he sets the tone for a Durham team that never stops coming at you.
Offensive Player of the Year
Brad Favero (Brampton Inferno) 35g, 21a, 56pts. Tied for the league lead in goals and tied for third in overall scoring. Favero was a key cog in a dynamic Inferno offense that scored 203 goals, 16 ahead of second-place Ohsweken. He handled the ball a ton, shot when he had a lane, passed when that was the best option and showed a knack for finishing. He had strong competition for this spot from teammate Dylan Llord.
Brad Levick (Oshawa Machine) 24g, 31a, 55pts. Levick’s not a flashy player, but he was almost a one-man show in the offensive zone for the Machine, who were by far the lowest-scoring team in the leauge with just 161 goals. He was 19 points ahead of anyone else on Oshawa and he was consistent throughout the year.
Transition Player of the Year
Ryan Campbell (Peel Avengers) 23 goals, 29 assists, 53 points
Campbell did it all for Peel. He was their second-leading scorer, assumed a key role on the power play and penalty kill, got the ball up the floor and played solid defense. On a team that suffered from inconsistency, he brought effort and performance every night.
John Rae (Oshawa Machine) 6g, 4a, 10pts in 12 games. Rae is a defense-first guy who used his size and athleticism to make it difficult to play against the Machine. He also displayed the ability to get up the floor and finish and the sense to know when to do it.
Jon Arnold (Brampton Inferno) 14g, 15a, 29 pts. His numbers are a bit surprising because he operates defense-first, but he’s accutely aware of transition opportunities. Arnold is primarily a picker in the set offense, but he has a knack for slicing into open lanes at full speed and is a very efficient shooter.
Defensive Player of the year
Ben McCullough (Brampton Inferno) 8g, 7a, 15pts, 15 PIM in 11 games. McCullough is an intimidating presence in the defensive zone. He plays an aggressive, phyical game but doesn’t often cross the line into taking penalties. His signing with the Buffalo Bandits makes the Inferno’s playoff road a much harder one.
Clay Hill (Ohsweken Demons) 10g, 20a, 30pts, 34 PIM. One of the wonders that emerged from CLax’s mandated two-way play. Hill is a veteran defender best known for dishing out punishment in his own zone. He showed a knack for helping at the other end, too, without compromising his defensive responsibilities.
Goalie of the Year
Jeff Powless (Ohsweken Demons) 7-3 record, 11.71 goals against average, .783 save percentage. Powless led the league in wins and gaa. He had been playing okay for Iroquois, but when they dealt him to Ohsweken he turned lights out for most of the rest of the year. He helped turn a club that struggled to 1-3 out of the gates into a legitimate contender for the Creator’s Cup.
Scotty Komer (Peel Avengers) 4-6, 12.54, .797. Komer had the typical goalie ups and downs, but for the most part he was a rock on the back line for Peel. He led the league in save percentage.
First All-Star Team
Second All-Star Team
Kim Squire (Peel Avengers)
Marty Hill (Ohsweken Demons)
Goal of the Year
Sean Thomson (Peel Avengers)
His diving tuck goal from behind the Oshawa net was a thing of beauty, and it didn’t hurt that it was caught frame-by-frame by photographer Tim Prothero.
Save of the Year
Thanks again to Prothero, who perfectly captured a pair of dandies that share the top save honours. Prothero says of Jeff Powless’ co-winner, rare palm save. “You had to see the shot to appreciate this save. It was a laser underhand to the corner, Powless caught it like it was nothing, placed it in his stick and fired a pin point fast break.”
Brandon Noble is Powless’ goal-denying brother-in-arms. As you can see to the right, the ball got by him and was rolling in for a goal. But the Turfdogs tender alertly spun around and grabbed the ball while it was sitting right on top of the goal-line. For the eagle-eyed among you, yes Noble is wearing Joel Weber’s jersey. He was an injury replacement and there wasn’t a uniform ready for him yet.
Cy Yound Award
In baseball, the Cy Young goes to the best pitcher in each of the major leagues. For lacrosse purposes, this award goes to the player whose stat line looks most like a great pitcher’s record.
Scott DeFrancesco (Durham Turfdogs) 32 goals, 8 assists. 32-8 would have been a good year back when Cy Young was actually pitching. DeFrancesco’s goalie, Gary Muzzin, had more assists (10)! You’d think he’d hit double digits just by accident. All kidding aside, DeFrancesco’s 32 goals were good for third in the league and he showed a slashing offensive style that gave defenders fits.
John McClure (Durham Turfdogs) 24-11. Jonathan Verlanderesque.
Tyler Harris (Brampton Inferno) 12-4. Anyone remember the year that Dennis Lamp won about a million games out of the Blue Jays bullpen? It was 1985 and he actually went 11-0. Not far off Harris’ numbers.
Nic Grasby (Durham Turfdogs)
Grasby is the only contender for this award, and probably the only one there’ll ever be. In the first quarter of his first CLax game, Grasby scored a diving goal. He sat out most of the second quarter after standing up for his goalie, Joel Weber, who got run over. Weber left the game at halftime. Unfortunately for the Turfdogs, backup Kalvin Thomas managed to get himself kicked out of the game early in the third. Grasby to the rescue! Rather than letting Weber go back in and risk getting hurt worse, Grasby—who had never played net in an actual game—donned the pads and finished the game for Durham. And how did he do? He recorded an .815 save percentage, which would lead the league if he’d played enough minutes to qualify.
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