ROCKFORD Ill. – The American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs today announced the recipients of their annual Team Awards for the 2018-19 season.
This year’s recognitions include:
Most Valuable Player: Jacob Nilsson
Rookie of the Year: Dylan Sikura
Defenseman of the Year: Lucas Carlsson
Unsung Hero: William Pelletier and Tyler Sikura
Heavy Hitter Award: Andreas Martinsen
Most Improved Player: Dennis Gilbert
Man of the Year: William Pelletier
The awards were presented by Chicago Blackhawks Vice President of Hockey Operations and Team Affiliates, Mark Bernard, along with several season ticket holders in a special pregame ceremony during Rockford's regular season home finale on Sunday against the Milwaukee Admirals.
Nilsson found the scoresheet in waves for the IceHogs during his rookie season, totaling 32 points (15g, 17a) and finishing second on the team with eight multi-point efforts in 61 games. The Morrum, Sweden native was the only team skater with two three-point games on the year and he notched the Hogs’ lone hat trick of the season with three goals on three well-placed shots on Jan. 6 vs. Iowa. Nilsson was also a key weapon on Rockford’s power-play unit, tying for the team lead and ranking sixth among all AHL rookies with eight power-play goals during the 2018-19 campaign.
Sikura earned his accolade as the IceHogs’ top rookie after setting Rockford’s AHL rookie record for points per game (skate in at least 40 games) with his mark of .78 through 45 contests. The Aurora, Ontario native compiled that impressive total with 35 points (17g, 18a) during the regular season, including netting six of his 17 goals as game-winning tallies and notching the team’s longest point streak of the 2018-19 season with points in six straight games from Feb. 2 – April 5. Sikura enters the final contest of the campaign ranked 10th among AHL rookies in points/game (40+ games), 11th in shots on goal (150) and 14th in goals.
Carlsson, awarded for his standout efforts on the blue line, collected 33 points with nine goals, 24 assists and 123 shots on goal in 69 contests this year. The Gavle, Sweden native led all Hogs defenseman in scoring, goals, assists and shots on goal, and his 33 points are the most for an IceHogs blueliner in four years. Carlsson also posted his fifth multi-point game of the season for Rockford on April 9 at Milwaukee to finish first among current team defenseman in multi-point efforts.
Pelletier and Sikura were each named the Unsung Hero of the team with their consistent play that netted seven goals apiece and 10 and 12 assists, respectively. Pelletier recently put the exclamation mark on his solid season with Rockford by sparking a comeback with two goals in a span of just 13 seconds on the IceHogs’ penultimate home game on April 2 vs. San Antonio. Sikura, on the other hand, earned the award in his own right with a strong start to the 2018-19 season that featured points in five of the first six games. His five-game point streak from Oct. 6 – 20 stood as the IceHogs’ longest streak of the campaign up until Dylan Sikura’s six-gamer during the final month of the season.
Martinsen claimed his second consecutive Heavy Hitter Award after reaching the 100 penalty-minute mark for his AHL career with 32 PIMs in 38 games for Rockford this season. The Baerum, Norway native has now combined for 132 PIMs in 115 AHL games during the regular and postseason with the IceHogs over the last two seasons alone, which is good for 1.15 penalty minutes per game with the Hogs. In addition to his Rockford stint, Martinsen also racked up 83 hits in 24 NHL games with the Blackhawks this season. He led all Chicago skaters in hits per game played, with his 3.5 hits/game finishing as 1.2 more hits than any team skater in 2018-19.
First-year pro Gilbert eased his way onto the AHL scene with just five points through his first 37 games before nearly doubling that output over his final 26 contests with nine points since Feb. 8. The Buffalo, New York native has notched five goals and four assists over those last 26 games, including netting goals in back-to-back games on March 1 vs. Grand Rapids and March 9 at Manitoba. Gilbert also earned his first career promotion to the NHL with Chicago on April 2 and posted a game-high six hits the following night in his NHL debut vs. St. Louis.
Pelletier was named the recipient of the IceHogs’ Man of the Year after spearheading the team’s Brovember initiative during the 2018-19 campaign. The forward’s contributions to the Brovember Inc. organization included participating in “The Brovember Bunch” campaign on social media, sharing his story about his father’s cancer diagnosis, participating in the annual Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser and capping November with an appearance on a live morning show with the founder of Brovember Inc., local barber Dave Armstrong. Armstrong shaved Pelletier’s Brovember beard live on air while the duo discussed the impact of cancer in Pelletier’s family’s life, and the various ways to contribute to Brovember Inc.
Season Tickets for 2019-20 on Sale Now:
Don’t miss a moment of the action next season. Reserve your seats for the IceHogs’ 21st season of professional hockey in Rockford and 13th as the top AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. The IceHogs’ home opener is set for Oct. 12 and ticket packages begin as low as $132 for an eight-game mini pack. Please contact us at (815) 847-6399 or visit icehogs.com to claim your spots for this upcoming season.