Friday, January 29th, 2010

'Gades Minello named Niagara West Rookie of Year

Jordan Minello will have something to do over the next two weeks.

The 16-year-old Woodstock Renegades forward can shine his Niagara west Rookie of the Year trophy as his team enjoys a first-round bye when the regular season winds down with the final two games this weekend.

Minello was named the division's top rookie yesterday, joining Blair Falotico (2007-08), Jack McLaren (2000-2001), Kevin Moon (1998-99), Brad Wilkins (1996-97) and Ron Nadalin (1995-96) as Woodstock players to win the award over the past 18 seasons.

"A lot of other categories there are definitely options for who won, but in Jordan's case you can't argue," Renegades head coach Bill McLeod said. "The kid is 16. Some of the other guys nominated come from Junior B. He's coming from triple-A (Brantford) and has more points than most veterans."

Minello has been outstanding in his first year of junior hockey. He has played all 34 games heading into this weekend and his 14 goals and 30 points are second on the team, trailing overage captain and linemate Cole Maher.

"He's non-stop," McLeod said. "The kid is serious about being good. He plays with a lot of pride. He wants to hit, he wants to score, he wants to backcheck."

Minello didn't waste any time making his presence felt with the Renegades. The St. Mary's High School student scored twice in his first game and added another goal against the Norwich Merchants in his second game.

Through his first 14 games, the five-foot-10, 165-pound winger tallied seven goals and six assists and has helped compensate for the loss of veteran Mike Brilhante, who was sent to Norwich.

Like most rookies, Minello has faced slumps. Twice he has been held pointless for stretches of four games, and Minello has points in just two of his last nine games.

However, he scored three goals and added four assists in a two-game span earlier this month to make up for any drought.

Most importantly, Minello has shown he is a complete player. His two shorthanded goals leads the team and he is tied for third in the division with four game-winning goals.

Twelve of his fourteen goals have come five-on-five and he has quickly become one of the Renegades' most reliable players at both ends of the rink.

"You bring them in to let them develop," McLeod said, "but as 16-year-olds you don't expect them to come in and dominate."

(Source Sentinel-Review)