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Waterloo defenseman Montour wins top USHL player

by Mike G. Morreale

Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Brandon Montour on Tuesday was named the top defenseman and player of the year in the United States Hockey League.

Montour, No. 92 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American players eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, becomes just the third defenseman in USHL history to be named the league's Player of the Year.


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"What Brandon did on both ends of the ice this season was phenomenal and a big part of the magical year for the Waterloo Black Hawks," said USHL president and commissioner Skip Prince. "He may have come into the USHL a little under the radar, but he made everyone take notice this season with his tremendous abilities and talent. Congratulations to him on this dual honor and for standing out in a league full of stars."

Montour finished second in the league with 48 assists and led all defensemen with 62 points (14 goals). He produced the most points by a defender in the Tier 1 era (from 2002) since Colby Cohen scored 60 points (13 goals, 47 assists) for the Lincoln Stars in 2006-07. He was just five points short of the all-time league record of 67 points by Mike Ross of the Rochester Mustangs in 1986-87.

The 6-foot, 172-pound right-hander ranked sixth in the league with a plus-35 rating and was fourth with 19 power-play assists. He had seven goals and 26 points on the power play to help Waterloo record the USHL's top power-play efficiency (25.2 percent).

He helped lead a defensive unit for Waterloo that gave up the third-fewest goals in the league this season (153) and the second-fewest for a Black Hawks team ever (151 goals in 2007-08).

NHL Central Scouting's Greg Rajanen liked what he saw from Montour, who will attend the University of Massachusetts in 2014-15.

"He is having a great year; very solid puck play," Rajanen said. "He's producing points and has some bite to his game. I believe he's a solid defender and good prospect."

Montour, selected by the Black Hawks in the 18th round (No. 267) of the 2013 USHL draft, had an 18-game point streak during the season. He had four goals and 27 points and led the team to a 16-1-1 mark over that stretch.


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