The Indy Fuel hosted their end-of-season banquet this evening. Accompanied by an auction and other events, one of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of team awards. Here is a quick breakdown of the winners:
Rookie Of The Year- Jake Hildebrand. The 23-year-old goaltender anchored the team much of the season and led the league in saves for most of it. Playing on assignment from AHL Rockford, he gained tons of experience this season and will probably spend more time in the AHL next season.
Defenseman Of The Year- Zach Miskovic. The captain returned for his second season with the team, and although he battled some injuries, was a steadying force in the locker room and mentored the younger players in a player-assistant coach role. With two goals and 12 assists, he finished tied for the second-most points in a Fuel sweater this season among defensemen.
Leading Scorer- Josh Shalla. The Fuel traded for Shalla early in the season and across both teams he played for, he notched 32 goals and 28 assists for a team-high 60 points. 22 goals in a Fuel sweater tied another player on this list for the team lead.
Penalty Killer- Matt Rupert. What can’t Rupert do? He had a knack for scoring timely third period goals, and finished with 21 goals on the season. He played in all 72 games for the Fuel this season–the only player to do so. His hard work on the penalty kill unit keyed a few impressive runs throughout the season that denied opposing teams’ power play attempts.
Game Changer Award- Chris Williams. The defenseman is the perfect example of the kind of guy you would see on an “All Joe Team” in any sport. Williams is a hard skater, not afraid to fight, and utilizes all 220 pounds to maintain position. The rookie became a fan favorite and would be a great addition to next year’s squad to further his development.
MVP- Alex Wideman. The first ECHL All-Star in franchise history is more than deserving of the 2016-2017 Fuel MVP. In 70 games, he scored 22 goals with 33 assists for 55 points–the most in a Fuel sweater this season. Wideman looks the part when you watch him play. He displays smooth, high-level stick handling skills coupled with accurate passes and shots. One-on-one, he has the tools to make the defender look lost and AHL teams will take a long look at him this offseason. Overlooked due to his small size, he has proven this year he can play professionally.
With the Fuel season over, stay tuned to Blue HQ as we keep you up to date on all the offseason happenings of the team as they look to build the franchise into a fourth season for 2017-2018.