The Syracuse Silver Knights finished up their regular season on Sunday with a win over their rival, and playoff opponents, the Baltimore Blast. Not to toot my own horn, but I had this matchup in my preseason prediction. But, how did they get here?
Well, for starters, they won more one-goal games than they lost last season. This Knights team seemed more cohesive than years past. I was having a discussion with a Blast fan on the MASL Off The Wall forum, and we talked about the rivalry, and how Syracuse, with a couple more pieces, could leap-frog Baltimore, and take over the Eastern Division. As many of you know, I have watched the Silver Knights for the past seven years, and I can say that this team will be a force to be reckoned with starting on Thursday, March 8th.
Every year, the Silver Knights hand out awards to their players during the final regular season game. Without further adieu, here are MY awards. No hardware will be given out unfortunately.
TEAM MVP: The term MVP, in my eyes, is a player that, taken off of the field, would drastically change the rest of the team. If you were to take Joey Tavernese off of the field, the Knights would not be in this position. Joey continues to re-write the Silver Knights record books, already setting records for assists and points. He would also receive the Offensive Player Of The Year award for his performance over this season.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: It could go to one of three players: Jake Schindler, Darren Toby, and Andrew Coughlin. Let’s break down the stats:
-Jake Schindler led all defenders with eight assists and 14 points.
-Darren Toby led all defensemen with 33 blocked shots, good for 4th in the MASL.
-Andrew Coughlin was 8th in goals against average, 7th in save percentage, and 3rd in wins among goalkeepers.
So, who takes the award? I give the nod to Coughlin. After Bryan O’Quinn’s retirement, Coughlin has seamlessly transitioned into the goalie of the future.
UNSUNG HERO: Two words: Ben Ramin. Last season, Ben played in only seven games, not tallying a point. Moving forward to this season, he scored 11 goals and helped with seven others. He’s taken everything he’s learned from his teammates and used it to help Syracuse win some games, including two game winning goals.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Liam Callahan. Callahan played for Syracuse University, and most recently K-W United FC in the Premier Development League. He’s made a smooth transition from the outdoor to indoor game, tallying five goals and one assist this season. He put himself on the map in a crucial Eastern Division matchup against Florida on January 28th. Liam scored two goals and assisted on another to lead the Knights to a key victory. The future looks bright for him, and I’m looking forward to watching him play in his second season.
There’s usually a fan favorite award as well, but when it comes to these guys, they all win.
So, there you have it. Bring on the playoffs!