The Cobourg Cougars turned in the best regular season in franchise history
during the 2016-17 campaign, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see three
Cougars receive Ontario Junior Hockey League awards.
Brennan Roy (Top Defenceman), Ryan Casselman (Most Improved Player) and
Stefano Durante (Top Goaltender) were three of the reasons Cobourg set team
records for wins (39) and points (82) while fashioning the fourth-best
record in the OJHL.
Roy and Casselman were doubly honoured, with both earning a spot on the
OJHL First All-Star Team, while two other members of the Cougars
organization – captain Josh Maguire (Humanitarian of the Year) and general
manager Brent Tully (Executive of the Year) – finished runner-up for their
BRENNAN ROY – TOP DEFENCEMAN
Runner-up last season, Roy is the fifth defenceman in Cobourg history to
win the award, and the first since Jarrett Winn was the East Division
recipient in 2000-01 (it was also won by Randy Jones in 1999-00, Darryl
Latoski in 1995-96 and Darryl Buttar in 1996-97). Roy tied for the league
scoring lead among defencemen with 57 points in 53 regular season games
played, scoring 14 goals and adding 43 assists.
Roy, who led all OJHL blue-liners with 20 goals last season, turned the
tables this year and was the top playmaker from the point. He led all
defencemen with 43 assists, helping the Cougars finish with the OJHL's
third-best offensive attack, recording 240 goals, while also providing a
stabilizing force in the defensive zone.
The Iroquois Falls, Ont., native logged heavy minutes on the blue-line and
got off to another quick start during his second OJHL season after
recording 14 points in 12 games played in October. A key member of the
special teams units with Cobourg, Roy was instrumental in the club
finishing fifth in the OJHL with a 22.6% success rate on the power play, as
well as the league's best penalty-killing unit at 89.3%.
RYAN CASSELMAN – MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
The Cougars leading scorer this season, Casselman set career junior
offensive bests across the board. He becomes the fourth member of the
Cougars to win the award, but the first in 16 years, joining Matt Chafe
(2000-01), Kevin Rainey (1999-00) and Otto Hlincik (1994-95).
Joining Cobourg midway through last season from the Pembroke Lumber Kings
of the CCHL, Casselman made an immediate impact on the Cougars line-up,
registering nine goals and 25 points in 30 games played. He used a great
finish in 2015-16 to become an offensive force in the OJHL this year.
Casselman saw his offensive production increase by an average of 73 per
cent across the board in leading the Cougars with 31 goals, 42 assists and
73 points in 53 regular-season contests. His 31 goals were fourth-best in
the entire league, while his 73 points ranked fifth among all OJHLers.
A key member of the league’s fifth best power-play unit, Casselman recorded
15 PP points, and his seven game-winning goals were tied for fourth-highest
total in the league. Twice this season, the diminutive forward had lengthy
scoring streaks, including a nine-game point streak in November, and a
10-game run in January.
STEFANO DURANTE – TOP GOALTENDER
Durante took home the award for the second time in three seasons by leading
the OJHL with a 1.92 goals-against average in 32 games played. He also
captured the award in dramatic fashion, pitching a 23-save, 3-0 shutout of
the conference-leading Trenton Golden Hawks on the final night of the
season to surpass Josh Astorino of the Georgetown Raiders, who finished as
runner-up with a 1.93 GAA.
Durante's average is tied for the 11th-best in OJHL history and combined
with the 1.79 goals-against average from his award-winning 2014-15 season
(which ranks fifth best all-time) the Cougars netminder now has two of the
best statistical seasons on record by a goaltender.