CJHL League of the Week: The AJHL

CALGARY, Alta. – As the games across the globe remain on hiatus, the Canadian Junior Hockey League continues its weekly focus on one of its member organizations.

This go around features a look at the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Commissioner: Ryan Bartoshyk

Website: theajhl.ca

Twitter: @theAJHL

REGULAR SEASON: A tightly-contested race for top spot in the 15-team AJHL standings saw the Sherwood Park Crusaders, Okotoks Oilers and Brooks Bandits all finish over the 90-point plateau.

In the end, Sherwood Park and Okotoks tied for first overall with the Crusaders eventually claiming the regular season crown by virtue of two more victories.

TOP SCORERS: Playing at just under a two-point-per-game pace during the campaign helped forward Arjun Atwal lead all AJHL skaters in offensive production during the campaign.

The Sherwood Park standout racked up a league-best 107 points in 54 outings by scoring 35 times while dishing out 72 assists.

Crusaders’ teammate and University of Denver NCAA D-I commit Carter Savoie was second in league overall numbers as he reached 99 points, including netting a league-high 53 goals.

Of his tally total, 14 were game-winners, which led the AJHL.

Randy Hernández from Brooks finished third in the scoring table, finishing up with 95 points with 35 markers and 59 helpers.

Among defencemen, Michael Benning, who is also a member of the Crusaders, led all league blueliners in scoring with 75 points.

He provided a dozen goals and helped set-up 63 more during the season.

After him was Tim Rego of the Bandits, who provided 61 points, with his 24 tallies pacing all AJHL D-men.

TOP TENDERS: Securing 34 victories during the season helped earn Sherwood Park netminder Carter Gylander league top goaltender laurels in 2019-20.

He also topped all AJHL stoppers in both goals-against average (2.07) and save percentage (.924).

Next in GAA was Matthew Davis of the Spruce Grove Saints at 2.42, while sporting a record of 29-9-1.

Third-best in average was Brady Parker of the Okotoks Oilers at 2.56 and he went 23-4-3 on the year.

AJHL ANECDOTES: The Sherwood Park Crusaders (1st); Okotoks Oilers (3rd); Brooks Bandits (6th) and Spruce Grove Saints (18th) all cracked the final CJHL Top 20 Rankings for 2019-20. … The Crusaders led the AJHL in goals scored this season with 271 and allowed the fewest against at 128. … Brooks sported the best power play success ratio on the year at 28.5%. … The Bandits notched 88-man advantage markers to lead the way, which was 21 more than the next nearest squad, the Drumheller Dragons. … SPC showed the way on the penalty kill at 89.2% and also paced the pack with 18 shorthanded goals. … Of the 14 CJHL players named to the NHL Central Scouting final draft rankings, the top three were from the AJHL, and they also boasted four of initial eight CJHLers tabbed. … Carter Savoie of Sherwood Park was the top ranked CJHL player, among North American skaters, at 52nd overall. … Crusaders teammate, defenceman Michael Benning was next at 60th overall while D-man Ethan Edwards of Spruce Grove was 80th. … Also cracking the rankings was Alex Young (Canmore Eagles), who was slotted eighth among CJHL players and 145th overall. … Nine skaters from the AJHL helped Team West win the CJHL Prospects Game in Hamilton back in January. …The Brooks Bandits were the defending National Jr. A champions. … Among notable AJHL alumni, former CJHL MVP and Top Defenceman Award recipient Cale Makar sat second in NHL rookie scoring among defencemen, just three points behind Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks, while playing nine fewer games. Makar had 12 goals, four more than Hughes. … The Colorado Avalanche blueliner also won the Hobey Baker Award last season as the top player in U.S. college hockey. … 2019-20 AJHL Award Winners: MVP: Arjun Arwal, Sherwood Park Crusaders; Top Defenceman: Michael Benning, Sherwood Park Crusaders; Top Goaltender: Carter Gylander, Sherwood Park Crusaders; Rookie of the Year: Brayden Krieger, (F) Brooks Bandits; Coach of the Year: Tyler Deis, Okotoks Oilers; Regular Season champion: Sherwood Park Crusaders.

With files from Charla Flett, Vice-President, Communications (AJHL)