Rats award winners
The River Rats booster club held its annual banquet March 29 at the Italian-American Community Center, and handed out its team awards.
Injured enforcer Trevor Gillies, out since a Dec. 20 concussion, was chosen both the most electrifying player and fan favorite (surprise, surprise).
Nicolas Blanchard, who hasn't played following the team's Feb. 19 bus crash, was voted the team's unsung hero, while rookie Ryan Weston was named most improved player. The John Cunniff Memorial Award, chosen by coaches Jeff Daniels and Geordie Kinnear, went to the entire team, for enduring a trying season.
Captain Pat Dwyer was named the offensive player of the year, and Brett Carson got the nod as defensive player of the year. Dwyer was given awards for leading the team in goals (even though his 23 were 2 fewer than Michael Ryan, who has been in the NHL for two months), game-winners, short-handed goals and hat tricks.
Petruzalek was honored as the team's assist leader; Weston, Nick Dodge and Harrison Reed were all recognized for scoring their first pro goals.
The three stars for the season were: 1. Justin Peters; 2. Dwyer; 3. Petruzalek.