Pat Payton, Gazette sports editor
Stratford Cullitons picked up a pair of individual regular-season honours at the recent Midwestern Conference awards banquet.
Hard-working centre Trevor Sauder received the Joe Veroni Memorial Trophy as best defensive player for the second straight year. The presenter was OHA director Karen Phibbs.
Sauder is like a water bug on the ice. The 19-year-old Tavistock native is currently in his second season with the Cullitons, and is one of Stratford’s top penalty-killers.
Sauder finished the regular campaign sixth overall in team scoring with 12 goals, 37 points and 54 penalty minutes in 46 games. He had three powerplay goals, two shorthanded markers and one game winner.
Veteran defenceman Mike Pleon, 21, was named to the second all-star team. An assistant captain, Pleon had seven goals, 21 points and 43 penalty minutes, playing in all 51 games. The third-year blue-liner hails from Waterloo.
Other 2012-13 trophy winners from the Midwest were as follows:
• Regular-season champions – Caledonia Pro Fit Corvairs.
• GOJHL top goaltender award – Lucas Machalski, Cambridge Winter Hawks (2.23 G.A.A).
• Scoring champion – centre Caleb Cameron, Listowel Cyclones (35-55-90 in 48 games).
• Rookie-of-the-year – Connor Murphy, Caledonia Corvairs.
• Most valuable player – Caleb Cameron, Listowel Cyclones. Captain Andrew Barton was Cullitons’ nominee for MVP.
• Best defenceman – Brandon Montour, Caledonia Corvairs.
• Sportsmanship and ability – Jake Weidner, Elmira Sugar Kings.
• Outstanding contributions to one team – Brady Campbell, Elmira Sugar Kings.
• Coach-of-the-year – Jeff Flanagan, Listowel Cyclones.
• Team Administrators Award – Curtis Clairmont, Waterloo Siskins.
Junior hockey notebook
• Cullitons will likely be without Shane O’Brien for Wednesday’s Game 4. One of the team’s top offensive players, O’Brien was shoved heavily into the end boards by Waterloo captain Adam Campagnolo late in Monday’s game.
Campagnolo received only a two-minute minor, and Cullitons were furious with the game officials for the light sentence. Many in the building thought it should have been a five-minute major . . . and rightly so. O’Brien was in a lot of discomfort as he was helped off the ice.
Coach Phil Westman doesn’t necessarily think the incident will carry over to future games in the series. “We’ll look at the video tonight, and send it in if necessary, but redemption at this time can cost you the season,” he noted. “We need to win here Wednesday, or it’s 2-2 going back to Waterloo Thursday.”
Westman did, however, admit that he was disappointed that Campagnolo didn’t receive a major penalty. “But I’m not going to dwell on it; I have to get the guys ready for Wednesday night.”
• Counting Monday’s Game 3, centre Trevor Sauder has now missed the last eight games with an upper-body injury suffered late in the regular schedule.
“He’s close to returning,” Jason Lott, the Cullitons’ director of hockey operations/GM, said Monday night. “If we keep winning, it buys us some time.
“If it was a must-win situation tonight, he probably would have been back in (the line-up).”
• Following Monday night’s action in the Midwest, Cambridge Winter Hawks held a 3-1 series lead on Elmira Sugar Kings, while Kitchener Dutchmen had a 2-1 series lead on Listowel Cyclones.
Brampton Bombers surprised Caledonia 4-2 Monday night, but the first-place Corvairs still lead the series 2-1.
• Sophomore winger Ryan Watson finished as Cullitons’ top scorer in the regular schedule. The 18-year-old Dashwood native had 20 goals and 57 points, playing in all 51 regular-season games. Watson finished three points ahead of Stratford captain Andrew Barton (19-35-54).