2016-17 Indy Fuel Award winners announced
- Updated: April 10, 2017
Alex Wideman named Fuel’s Most Valuable Player
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indy Fuel, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, revealed their 2016-17 team award winners Sunday evening at the club’s year-end banquet at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Voted upon by Head Coach Bernie John and his coaching staff, the 2016-17 Indy Fuel Award Winners are listed below in the order in which they were announced Sunday night:
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: JAKE HILDEBRAND
In his first full season as a professional, goaltender Jake Hildebrand set new Fuel franchise records with 18 wins, four shutouts and shattered the club record with 1486 saves, 449 more than Mac Carruth’s previous mark of 1037 set in 2014-15. The 23-year-old from Butler, Penn. finished the season with a 18-28-5 record, alongside a 3.75 goals against average and a .899 save percentage. Hildebrand made a career and Indy franchise high 54 saves in a 5-4 overtime loss in Fort Wayne on Feb. 20, and has hit the 40-save mark in 11 separate games this season. The netminder won CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week honors twice, earning the award from Oct. 14-16 and Nov. 7-13.
DEFENSEMAN OF THE YEAR: ZACH MISKOVIC
Miskovic provided a veteran presence for the Indy blue line all season long. The eight-year pro tallied 2 goals and 12 assists over 51 games in his second season as the Fuel’s captain. The 31-year-old from River Forest, Ill. collected one goal and four assists over a six game span from Dec. 22 to Jan. 1. Miskovic also brought some grit to the Fuel’s back end, logging a career-high xx minutes in penalties.
LEADING SCORER: JOSH SHALLA
Arriving in Indianapolis via a mid-December trade with the Wheeling Nailers for Tyler Currier, Shalla immediately became one of the Fuel’s go-to offensive weapons. The 25-year-old forward from Oshawa, Ontario finished the season with 60 points, including 42 in 48 games with Indy. His 22 goals in just over half a season with the team surpassed everyone else on the Fuel roster, coming three shy of Garett Bembridge’s single-season record of 25 set in 2014-15. Shalla recorded 13 multi-point games in 2016-17, including a four-goal outing in Fort Wayne on Dec. 27.
PENALTY KILLER OF THE YEAR: MATT RUPERT
The only player to dress in all 72 games this season for the Fuel, Rupert was one of Indy’s most reliable two-way forwards in 2016-17. The versatile 22-year-old from Grand Bend, Ontario set career highs in all statistical categories, tallying 21 goals, 16 assists, 147 shots on goal and 147 penalty minutes. Rupert saved his best play for late in the season, posting 18 of his 37 total points over the last month of the season, becoming the fourth 20-goal scorer in Fuel history on March 26 in South Carolina.
GAME CHANGER AWARD: CHRIS WILLIAMS
Joining the team in late October, rookie defenseman Chris Williams instantly brought size and toughness to the Fuel blue line. The 26-year-old from Pottstown, Penn. dressed in 53 games for Indy, chipping in 11 points (4g, 7a), while leading the team with 128 penalty minutes. Williams ranked fourth among all ECHL rookies with 12 major penalties this year.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: ALEX WIDEMAN
Coming to Indianapolis over the offseason from the Evansville IceMen, forward Alex Wideman enjoyed a breakout sophomore season in the ECHL. The 25-year-old from St. Louis set a new Fuel single-season record with 55 points (22g, 33a), breaking Alex Lavoie’s mark of 54 set in 2015-16. Appearing in 70 games this season, Wideman led the team in assists and game-winning goals (3), while being named the Sher-Wood/ECHL Player of the Week from Nov. 14-20. In addition, the former Indiana Ice forward participated in the 2017 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, the first Fuel player to skate in the mid-season showcase.
Full-Season Ticket Plans for the 2017-18 Indy Fuel season are now on sale! Join the team for year four at Indiana Farmers Coliseum and receive your seat for the 2018 CCM/ECHL All Star Classic for free! Learn more by visiting IndyFuelHockey.com or calling 317-925-FUEL. Keep tabs on the team during the offseason by following the Fuel on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the Fuel on Facebook.
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