Maroons rewarded for first-place season

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The Chatham Maroons were rewarded for their turnaround season at the GOJHL Western Conference awards banquet Monday in London.

Head coach Bill Bowler and assistants Brad Meredith, Kyle O'Neil and Bill Cumming were chosen the coaching staff of the year for engineering the worst-to-first turnaround.

The Maroons also picked up a trophy for the winning the Western Conference regular-season title in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League with a 34-11-6 record. They finished with 74 points, a 31-point improvement from last season.

Defenceman Jake Flegel was named to the all-star team and winger Brayden Hopkins of Thamesville made the rookie all-star team.

Maroons leading scorer Michael Verboom was chosen the best defensive forward.

“It was special for the players who were selected, but also for the team,” Bowler said, “To be achieving first place in the regular season was a good moment for our team.”

Verboom, 18, led the Maroons with 64 points in 51 games. His four short-handed goals tied for fourth-most in the GOJHL.

Flegel, 20, had 31 points and 103 penalty minutes in 33 games in his first season as a Maroon.

Hopkins, 18, had 15-25-40 totals and 54 penalty minutes in 50 games. He led the Maroons' rookies in scoring.

The Maroons picked up another prize when defenceman Steven Szekesy was named the Western Conference defenceman of the month for February.

Lambton Shores Predators forward Adam Arseneault was the player of the year. He led the conference in goals (43) and was second in points (79).

Scott Prier of the LaSalle Vipers was the top defenceman, Leamington Flyers goalie Matt Mancina was the rookie of the year and Matthew Watson of the Strathroy Rockets was the top rookie defenceman.

Flegel was joined on the all-star team by Prier, Arseneault, goalie Dalen Kuchmey of Strathroy, and forwards Noah Schwartz of London and Dylan Denomme of LaSalle.

Hopkins was on the rookie all-star team with Mancina, Watson, defenceman Jeff King of Sarnia, and forwards Joe Manchurek of Leamington and Owen McDonald of St. Marys.

Schwartz won the award for outstanding ability and sportsmanship.

Sarnia's Jason Teschke was the leading scorer with 87 points. LaSalle's Korey Morgan was the top rookie scorer with 60 points.

Mancina and Flyers teammate Austyn Roudenbush had the lowest team goals-against average.

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