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OHL coaches praise Barrie players in season-ending poll

Aaron Ekblad. (QMI Agency file photo)

Aaron Ekblad. (QMI Agency file photo)

Barrie Colts captain Aaron Ekblad and forward Andreas Athanasiou both received acclaim on the annual Ontario Hockey League coaches poll.

OHL bench bosses voted Ekblad as having the best and hardest shot in the Eastern Conference, best offensive and defensive defenceman, as well as the second-best penalty killer in the conference behind Oshawa's Scott Laughton.

Among Eastern Conference players, Athanasiou, a Detroit Red Wings prospect, was voted the league's most dangerous in the goal area and best skater.

A couple of former Barrie Colts also received some love in the poll.

Ottawa 67's forward Brendan Bell, acquired from Barrie for a third-round pick in November 2012, was voted most underrated player in the Eastern Conference. The 20-year-old Uxbridge native had 25 goals and 24 assists this season.

Niagara IceDogs forward Brendan Perlini, who was Barrie's first-round pick in 2012 and was later traded for Mitchell Theoret in a deadline deal last season, was voted most improved player in the Eastern Conference.

Barrie native Zach Nastasiuk, captain of the Owen Sound Attack and a Detroit prospect, was voted second-best shot blocker in the Western Conference, behind only Plymouth's Nick Malysa.

Nastasiuk's Attack teammate Chris Bigras, an Elmvale native and Colorado Avalanche prospect, was voted best defensive defenceman in the Western Conference.

The OHL also handed out its annual awards this week.

Erie Otters forward Connor Brown won the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as scoring champion. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, who finished the regular season with 45 goals and 83 assists, also won the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy as the league's top-scoring right-winger.

The David Pinkney Trophy for lowest team goals-against average went to the Otters tandem of Oscar Dansk and Devin Williams.

The F.W. "Dinty" Moore Trophy for lowest rookie goals-against average was won by Matthew Mancina of the Guelph Storm.

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