Villalta and Johnson backstop Greyhounds to Fewest Goals Against
Dave Pinkney Trophy (Lowest Team Goals Against): Matthew Villalta and Tyler Johnson, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds allowed the fewest goals in the OHL this season with just 186 against, backstopped by the tandem of Matthew Villalta and Tyler Johnson who earn the Dave Pinkey Trophy which is one of two regular season league awards recognizing defensive efforts from a statistical standpoint.
Villalta, a 19-year-old from Godfey, Ont., led the league with a 2.58 goals-against-average and finished the 2017-18 campaign with a .908 save percentage and three shutouts in 49 appearances. The Los Angeles Kings prospect selected in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft played to an overall record of 40-5-2-2 tying the franchise single season record for wins. He joined the Hounds as a free agent commit prior to the 2016-17 season and went on to claim the league’s F.W. “Dinty” Moore Trophy with a rookie best goals-against-average of 2.41.
Johnson, a 20-year-old from Amherst, NY., is playing in his second OHL season. He was originally chosen by the Plymouth Whalers in the seventh round of the 2014 OHL Priority Selection, then joined the London Knights for 2016-17. He was acquired by the Greyhounds in October and during his 20 games with the club posted a 14-1-0-1 record including two shutout victories with a goals-against-average of 2.36 and save percentage of .912.
The Greyhounds finished the 2017-18 season with a franchise record 55 wins powered by an overall record of 55-7-3-3 for 116 points. Their season accolades also include a 23-game winning-streak, a run of 29 undefeated games in regulation, and 27 straight victories on home ice.
This marks the fourth time the Greyhounds have led the league with the fewest goals against with past award recipients including Kyle Gajewski and Bryce O’Hagan (173 GA) in 2007-08, Kevin Hodson (229 GA) in 1991-92 and Mike Lenarduzzi and Kevin Hodson (217 GA) in 1990-91.
The Dave Pinkney Trophy is awarded annually to the goaltending tandem from the team that allows the fewest goals against during the regular season. Last season, the Owen Sound Attack’s Michael McNiven and Emanuel Vella allowed 177 goals against to claim the award.