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Coaches Poll honours Troops

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Six members of the North Bay Battalion, including defenceman Adam Thilander twice, were recognized when results of the Ontario Hockey League’s 2017-18 Coaches Poll were announced Thursday.

Thilander tied rearguard Nicolas Hague of the Mississauga Steelheads with 19 points atop voting for best shootout shooter in the Eastern Conference, with right winger Jason Robertson of the Kingston Frontenacs third with 16 points.

Thilander also finished third in balloting for best offensive defenceman with 10 points, behind Hague with 45 points and Matt Brassard of the Oshawa Generals with 12.

Thilander, a 19-year-old native of Skovde, Sweden, was the Battalion’s first-round choice in the 2016 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

The Coaches Poll in each of the two conferences sees every club submit one nominee in each of 20 categories. Coaches then vote for the top three players in each category within their conference. Players receive points on a 5-3-1 basis.  Coaches may not vote for their own players, producing a maximum of 45 points for each winner.

Right winger Justin Brazeau of the Battalion was voted most underrated player in the conference, receiving 34 points. Left winger Lynus Nyman of Kingston was second with 21 points and centre Brandon Saigeon of the Hamilton Bulldogs third with 17.

Brazeau, who turned 20 on Feb. 2, was a 13th-round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection from the New Liskeard Cubs major midgets in his Northern Ontario home town.

In tight balloting, defenceman Jesse Saban won the best shot blocker category with 20 points, followed by Kingston rearguard Liam Murray with 19 points and defenceman Connors Walters of Hamilton with 18.

Overager Saban is a Lindsay, Ont., resident who was acquired in a Jan. 9, 2017, trade with Hamilton.

Right winger Jake Henderson was second in voting for the conference’s best defensive forward. He had 14 points, compared with 25 for right winger Ryan Cranford of Kingston. Centre Ben Jones of the Niagara IceDogs was third, garnering 13 points.

Overager Henderson, a St. Louis native, joined the Troops in a Jan. 9 trade from the Kitchener Rangers.

In another tight contest, Riley Bruce tied Hamilton’s Riley Stillman for third place in the best defensive defenceman category at 15 points. Joey Keane of the Barrie Colts topped the voting with 17 points, followed by Jacob Moverare of Mississauga with 16.

Overage captain Bruce, a resident of Carp, Ont., was a third-round pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection from the Ottawa Valley Titans minor midgets.

Christian Propp was third in the balloting for best shootout goalie with 12 points. Jeremy Helvig of Kingston finished first with 31 points, and Kyle Keyser of Oshawa earned 17.

Propp, a Milton, Ont., resident who turns 19 on March 27, was acquired via trade from the Owen Sound Attack on Oct. 22.

Kingston led the conference with representation across 15 categories, featuring 11 different individuals.

In the Western Conference, Cam Dineen, whom the Battalion traded to the Sarnia Sting on Jan. 6, finished third in voting for best offensive defenceman with 13 points. Evan Bouchard of the London Knights had 45 points and Sean Durzi of Owen Sound 18. Dineen was third in Eastern Conference balloting in 2015-16.

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