For the third consecutive campaign, the Worcester Railers’ season ended without making the playoffs, so once again we get an all-too-early posting of the “210 Awards”
For those new to the “210 Awards”, they are a mix of serious and (hopefully) slightly humorous awards named for the moniker this writer uses on many message boards. Just remember, for the most part, these are just one man’s opinion and I like to spread these around a little so one player doesn’t get every award.
This season’s winners are:
Best Forward: It doesn’t always go to the team’s top scorer but with Jordan Smotherman‘s 30 goals making him the first Worcester player to reach that plateau since the 2006-07 season it’s pretty much an automatic he was the best offensive player.
Best Defenseman: More than halfway through the season it looks like the winner here would be by default as no one was playing all that well, but Myles McGurty picked up his game and really became the team’s top defenseman.
Tough Guy Award: We’re putting this one on the shelf for this season. If it was just for fighting you could make an argument for Ross Olsson, but it’s really about more than that, and in this campaign, no one qualifies.
Best Single-Game Performance: Ross Olsson’s hat trick/Gordie Howe hat trick would usually be a no-brainer for this, but all he gets is an honorable mention as Ken Appleby‘s 43-save shutout in Trois-Rivieres on April 13th in the midst of a playoff chance trumps Olsson’s feat, and still would have had Olsson not been traded.
Most Improved: Myles McGurty is an easy winner here. Went from just a guy playing defense to one of Worcester’s top defenders. He’s a name I’d love to see being announced as coming back next season.
Seventh Player Award: There are a handful of really good candidates here, and you wouldn’t be wrong by picking any of them. The team picked Jacob Hayhurst. I’m picking Brent Beaudoin. They’re both guys I’d love to see come back.
Best Mid-season Addition: With all due respect to the Bobby Butler fans, the mid-season addition that’s hopefully going to pay dividends for the Railers is Steve Jandric. His 4-4-8 in 15 games was impressive.
The “Mike Moore Award”: For the player that gives 100% every single shift no matter the score or the situation, Jacob Hayhurst is an easy winner here.
Rookie of the Year: Colten Ellis didn’t finish the year off as well as he probably wanted, but he still gets the nod here.
Most Valuable Player: Jordan Smotherman, and no one else was really even considered.
The 210Sports Player of the Year: It goes to the player who was named 210Sports “Player of the Game” most times, and after a three-way tie at five mentions each the winner in a tie-breaker vote is Colten Ellis. Perhaps more telling than a three-way tie was the fact that six times this season there was no player named at all.
So now that we’ve gotten the serious awards out of the way, here are a few that this writer thinks should be handed out…
The “Three Stars Award”: Anthony Repaci earns the first star, having 41 points (using 5/3/1 scoring) to set a new franchise record for three-stars points. Jordan Smotherman had 40 points for the second star, and Ken Appleby had 35 for the third star.
The “Two-By-Two Award”: Jacob Hayhurst, for having the most penalty minutes (48) without being assessed a major penalty.
The “Iron Man Award”: No player was in the line-up for all 71 games during the season, so once again we’ll put this one back on the shelf. Honorable mention goes to Brent Beaudoin who played that last 60 games in a row. Considering all the games lost to COVID by other players, 60 in a row is a big achievement.
The “Man In The Box Award”: Both Ross Olsson and Jordan Smotherman were in the penalty box four times when the Railers surrendered a power play goal.
The “Dead-Eye Award”: Myles McGurty, for having the lowest shooting percentage of any player with 50 or more shots on goal at 1.6% (1 for 63).
The “Buzzer Beater Award”: Will Cullen‘s empty-net goal at 19:53 against Fort Wayne on January 29th doesn’t really qualify as a buzzer-beater, but it was the latest goal scored in a period for Worcester this season, so by default he wins.
The “Whose Jersey Is This? Award”: Justin Kapelmaster, Matt Jenkins, Marc-Antoine Gelinas, Joe Spagnoli, Corbin Kaczperski, Brian Wilson, Rob Lemelin, Jason Pawloski, Jimmy Poreda, Michael Cosentino, and Jeremy Forbes-Brisebois all wore the #31 jersey during games or on the bench this season. That is by far the most players to wear a single number in Worcester hockey history, and way too many names to put in bold.
The “Can I Play? Award”: Robbie Roche, who looked smartly dressed in his #18 red Patriots-style jersey on the bench but never played a shift during the December 11th game against Maine.
The “Jimmy Bonneau Award”: Mike Cornell, who dressed as the Bridgeport Islanders backup goaltender in Charlotte on December 18th.
The “Can You Send Us a Goaltender? Award”: Corbin Kaczperski, who signed with the Railers to essentially be an EBUG, was loaned to Utica (AHL) for the same reason, and then came back to Worcester only to be released days later without playing an ECHL or AHL game.
The “Can I get A Lineup? Award”: Pretty much everyone gets the award, with the Railers using 73 different players sometimes it wasn’t the same guys wearing numbers from one game to the next.
The “Which Team Am I On? Award”: Devon Paliani, who showed up to the Cross Insurance Arena a member of the Maine Mariners, got traded to the Railers, and played that night scoring two goals against his former team.
The “58 Award”: Jordan Smotherman, who donned a #58 “Pink in the Rink” jersey after a numbering error had the manufacturer put Smotherman’s jersey size on the back instead of his usual #14.
The “Made Us Look Bad Award Twice”: Jason Pawloski, who couldn’t stop a beach ball in his one game with the Railers and then looked like a sheet of plywood in his appearance against Worcester for Kalamazoo.
The “I Like It Award”: Connor McCarthy, who liked a tweet where I said I didn’t want to see him wear a Railers jersey ever again. I still don’t, and judging by conversations and social media posts, I’m not alone in that opinion.
The “Dominik Hasek Award”: Jimmy Poreda, for his diving poke check that sent Reading’s Anthony Gagnon arse over tea kettle.
The “I Can’t Hear You Award”: Anthony Repaci, for skating over to the now-silent Section N crowd in Adirondack after scoring an overtime goal.
The “Thanks for Nothing Award”: Nolan Valleau, who refused to report after being traded to Worcester from Orlando for Ross Olsson.
The “David Haas Award”: The award that goes to the player with the most talent that uses the least of it, and after a brief meeting of the committee it was correctly determined that we’ll be putting this back on the shelf again this season.
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