Prince George Spruce Kings goalie Logan Neaton was shut out of the B.C. Hockey League honours but scored big on Friday when Hockey Canada named its national junior A hockey championship award winners.
Neaton has been on top of his game throughout the national tournament and was chosen for the top goaltender award. In four games, Neaton's goals-against average was a miserly 0.91 and he built an astronomical .955 save percentage, with one shutout.
"It's not something I focus on too much, it's cool to get accolades and get recognized for your play but at the end of the day I'm here to win a championship, and that's kind of the same thing I said when I didn't win the league award," said the 21-year-old UMass-Lowell recruit from Brighton, Mich.
"I'm trying to win a national championship and it hasn't set in. Maybe in a few years, it will mean more to me. For us to have all the success we've had as a team and as a community means the world to me. I'm always going to remember this year and this group of guys for the rest of my life."
Neaton was the Mainland Division finalist for the BCHL award but lost in the voting to Jack Lafontaine of the Penticton Vees. Neaton went 32-8 in the regular season and he set a club record for wins. His 1.92 goals-against average and five shutouts was tops in the league and his .914 save percentage ranked third-best.
Neaton's father Pat is with him in Brooks and his mother Kelly is back home in Michigan watching the webcasts of the games.
"They're excited for me, just for me to be able to play in May and contend for another championship is very cool for them to see," said Neaton. "They hadn't seen me since Christmas so for them to see me (be successful) is cool."
The Kings are 23-4 in the playoffs so far, and are preparing for their semifinal against Oakville tonight. They allowed just four goals in the preliminary round and were within a goal of tying the tournament record for fewest goals allowed set by the South Surrey Eagles in 1998 and matched by the Camrose Kodiaks in 2008.
"I have a great team in front of me, they make my job easy every night," said Neaton.
In other NJAHC awards announced Friday, Ottawa Senators goalie Francis Boisvert won the Roland Mercier Award as most valuable player. In four round-robin games, Boisvert sported a 2.24 goals-against average with a .928 save percentage.
Brooks Bandits forward Ryan Mashie was chosen top forward; Luke Bast of the Bandits won the top defenceman award; and Simon Gravel of the Bandits was named most sportsmanlike player.
Spencer Kersten of the Oakville Blades was the tournament's top scorer, with a goal and five assists for six points in four games.