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Stone caps brilliant junior career with WHL honour

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Senators forward prospect Mark Stone has been named the winner of the Brad Hornung Trophy as the Western Hockey League's most sportsmanlike player. The Winnipeg native also finished second in WHL scoring with 123 points in 66 games in 2011-12 (Photo by Matthew Healy/OSHC).

Mark Stone's junior career concluded with an award-winning finish.

At the Western Hockey League's 2011-12 awards luncheon on Wednesday in Calgary, the 19-year-old Ottawa Senators prospect was named the winner of the Brad Hornung Trophy as the WHL's most sportsmanlike player.

The league's second-leading scorer with 123 points (41-82), Stone drew just 22 minutes in penalties despite playing heavy minutes as the captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings. He is described by the league as a player who "is respected for his scoring abilities as well as his on-ice demeanour."

Stone, who was also named an Eastern Conference first team all-star in his final season in the WHL, is already looking forward to the future. He made his National Hockey League debut with the Senators on April 21 during their first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers, drawing an assist on the eventual game-winning goal by Jason Spezza as Ottawa blanked the Blueshirts 2-0 in Game 5.

"It was real special," Stone told the Wheat Kings' website in recalling that night. "To play my first (NHL) game this young was a lot of fun, especially in Madison Square Garden. My goal for the summer is to go in and make Ottawa's (team). Getting a little taste of the NHL makes me want it that much more."

Stone was a sixth-round pick (178th overall) by the Senators in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. However, his career has skyrocketed since then. In 2010-11, the Winnipeg native racked up 37 goals and 106 points in 71 games. He numbers grew even further during his fourth season in Brandon.

The 6-3, 200-pound right-winger wore the red maple leaf for the first time at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Alberta, leading Team Canada with seven goals and 10 points.

During his four seasons with the Wheat Kings, Stone totalled 106 goals and 296 points in 232 games. He inked a three-year entry-level contract with the Senators last fall.

Senators prospect Culek still in Memorial Cup hunt

And then there was one. Left-winger Jakub Culek of the Rimouski Oceanic is the lone Senators prospect still entertaining Memorial Cup dreams as the Canadian Hockey League playoffs move into their final stages.

Culek and the Rimouski Oceanic have advanced to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final against the Saint John Sea Dogs, the defending Memorial Cup champions. The best-of-seven championship series begins in New Brunswick, with Games 1 and 2 slated for tonight and Saturday at Harbour Station in Saint John.

A third-round pick (76th overall) by the Senators in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the 19-year-old Culek has notched four goals and eight points in 17 playoff games with the Oceanic this season.

The 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup is slated for May 17-27 in Shawinigan, Que.

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