The AJHL released the finalists for their league awards Thursday morning and three members of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons found their names on the list of nominees.
Eric Szudor has been nominated for the Top Goaltender, Curtis Roach for Outstanding Defenceman and Tom Keca for Coach of the year.
Szudor has had an outstanding season between the pipes for the MOB, compiling a 23-9-3 record to go along with a 2.13 goals against average and .926 save percentage. The soon to be 20 year old sits third and second in those respective categories and also sits second in shutouts with five. The Edmonton native has been on an incredible run of late with backup goalie Josh Williams injured, Szudor has started the last 11 games going 9-0-2 in the process. Szudor is nominated alongside Pierce Diamond, Whitecourt, Logan Drackett, Calgary, Riley Morris, Okotoks and Patrick Gora, Camrose.
A major reason of the Oil Barons much improved blueline this season has been the addition of Curtis Roach. The Saskatoon native was acquired this off-season from the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers and has been a force each and every game. Through 49 games, Roach has 10 goals and 38 points to sit third in team scoring. Roach joins Cale Makar, Brooks, Ian Mitchell, Spruce Grove and Allan MacPherson, Calgary as the four nominees for Outstanding Defenceman.
Taking a team that won 10 games all last season and putting them in contention for first place in the league is no easy task but it is exactly what MOB Head Coach and General Manager Tom Keca has done. After a rebuilding year in his first season behind the bench that saw the MOB finish 7th in the North with a 10-40-10 record, Keca spearheaded the MOB’s rebuild and has catapulted them into first place in the North Division with a 38-10-3 record entering play Thursday. The MOB have a plus 65 goal differential compared to a minus 102 a season ago. With two wins at home this weekend, the MOB will also finish with 20 wins at home and on the road. A feat the MOB haven’t accomplished since the 2011-12 season. Keca is nominated alongside former Oil Barons coach and the AJHL’s all time winningest coach Gord Thiibodeau,Whitecourt, James Poole, Calgary and Andrew Milne, Canmore.
For a full list of all the awards and finalists click here.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines