Will Giants’ J.J. Piccinich Scoop Three Individual Awards in Debut EIHL Season?

J.J. Piccinich of the Belfast Giants tops the Elite League in goals and assists (Image: William Cherry)
J.J. Piccinich, Belfast Giants (Image: William Cherry)

While ice hockey is the ultimate team sport, individual accolades are still important to players – just ask J.J. Piccinich. Ending the season at the top of the point- or goal-scoring chart can be the difference between a forward making the next step in their career or standing pat. In the crease and on the blueline, the level of competition is just as fierce.

As a result, it’s worth keeping up to date with the chase to scoop personal awards in the Elite League.

J.J. Piccinich in Pole Position for Goal-Scoring Title

With the Belfast Giants sitting pretty at the top of the standings, is it any surprise that two of Adam Keefe’s stars are battling it out for the goal-scoring lead? While Piccinich, a former fourth-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs, is in pole position, Scott Conway could yet strike back.

Player Team Goals (Played) Remaining Fixtures
J.J. Piccinich Belfast Giants 33 (49) SHE, SHE, SHE, COV
Scott Conway Belfast Giants 32 (50) SHE, SHE, SHE, COV
Brodie Reid Cardiff Devils 30 (48) GUI, MAN, DUN, NOT

That said, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that a Giant will win the goal-scoring title. Belfast’s tricky slate of games down the stretch could open to door for Brodie Reid to make a late charge. The 32-year-old has the benefit of a kinder schedule to finish the season – though faces an uphill battle to reverse his three-goal deficit.

With last season’s winner, Luke Ferrara, out of the race, a new champion will be crowned in 2021-22. Will Piccinich claim the goal-scoring title in his debut Elite League season? Regardless, Adam Calder’s single-season goals record is safe for another year. Nobody is close to beating his 49-goal performance with the Coventry Blaze from 2007-08.

Honourable Mentions: Mathieu Roy – 27 (GLA), Sebastian Roy – 27 (DUN), Robert Dowd – 25 (SHE)

J.J. Piccinich Isn’t Just a Goal-Scorer

When Piccinich landed in Belfast, few expected him to run the show. The American was hardly prolific in the ECHL last year, he notched 29 points in 65 appearances for the Orlando Solar Bears.

Clearly, we couldn’t have been more wrong. He’s playing at an outstanding level for the Giants and shows no signs of slowing down. Take his performance in Belfast’s 7-1 win over the Glasgow Clan for example: he scored a hattrick just days after recovering from tonsillitis.

Piccinich’s offensive production has also split over into assist-making, he leads the chase with 43 helpers in 49 appearances. Behind him, Cardiff’s Justin Crandall (42) provides stiff competition. After three impressive seasons in the Swedish second tier, the American playmaker has been on a tear in the Elite League.

Justin Crandall, Cardiff Devils (Image: James Assinder
Will Justin Crandall catch J.J. Piccinich before the end of the season? (Image: James Assinder)

Conway isn’t out of the race either, the Team GB centreman is only three assists back of Piccinich with four games left to play. Colton Yellow Horn also deserves a hat tip – he’s produced offence at an alarming rate on a non-contending team.

Player Team Assists (Played) Remaining Fixtures
J.J. Piccinich Belfast Giants 43 (49) SHE, SHE, SHE, COV
Justin Crandall Cardiff Devils 42 (49) GUI, MAN, DUN, NOT
Scott Conway Belfast Giants 40 (50) SHE, SHE, SHE, COV
Colton Yellow Horn Glasgow Clan 39 (49) MAN, COV, SHE, FIF, FIF

Honourable Mentions: David Goodwin – 37 (BEL), Trevor Cox – 36 (CAR), Janne Laakkonen – 34 (COV)

It’s Giant v Giant in the Point-Scoring Race

Although we know that a Belfast Giant will end the season in the point-scoring lead, it still isn’t clear which one. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Piccinich and Conway are miles clear at the summit – who are you backing to end the season on top?

Either way, Calder’s 105-point record from 2007-08 will remain intact.

Player Team Points (Played) Remaining Fixtures
J.J. Piccinich Belfast Giants 76 (49) SHE, SHE, SHE, COV
Scott Conway Belfast Giants 72 (50) SHE, SHE, SHE, COV

Honourable Mentions: Mark Cooper – 57 (BEL), Adam Brady – 57 (MAN)

Mac Carruth Saves the Day for Cardiff

Heading down the stretch, Mac Carruth is in control of his own destiny as the EIHL’s save percentage (SV%) leader. The 30-year-old has excelled between the pipes during his first season in Cardiff, building up an impressive .936 SV%.

Mac Carruth has impressed during his debut season in the Elite League (Image: Al Goold)

Although Tyler Beskorowany and Rok Stojanovic aren’t too far behind, Cardiff’s softer run-in makes Carruth the clear favourite.

Player Team Save % (Played) Remaining Fixtures
Mac Carruth Cardiff Devils .936 (37) GUI, MAN, DUN, NOT
Tyler Beskorowany Belfast Giants .930 (39) SHE, SHE, SHE, COV
Rok Stojanovic Sheffield Steelers .929 (31) MAN, BEL, BEL, GLA, BEL

Honourable Mentions: C.J Motte – .916 (COV), Shane Owen – .915 (FIF), Kevin Carr – .911 (NOT)

  • Amongst goaltenders with at least 30 Elite League appearances in 2021-22.

Tyler Beskorowany Secures GAA Award

Unless the Steelers or Blaze embark on a goal-scoring frenzy versus Belfast, Beskorowany will end the season with the best goals-against average. The 31-year-old’s consistency has set him apart from the rest of the field this year, albeit helped by the Giants’ impressive blueline.

Tyler Beskorowany returned to the Belfast Giants after two years away at the start of the season (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

Behind the Slovenian shot-stopper, Sheffield’s Rok Stojanovic and Carruth also deserve stick taps.

Player Team GAA (Played) Remaining Fixtures
Tyler Beskorowany Belfast Giants 1.73 (39) SHE, SHE, SHE, COV
Rok Stojanovic Sheffield Steelers 2.20 (31) MAN, BEL, BEL, GLA, BEL
Mac Carruth Cardiff Devils 2.20 (37) GUI, MAN, DUN, NOT

Honourable Mentions: C.J. Motte – 2.78 (COV)

  • Amongst goaltenders with at least 30 Elite League appearances in 2021-22.

Jamal Watson Leads Blueliners in Points

Jamal Watson hasn’t had a bad rookie professional season…

The 27-year-old stands clear at the top of the point-scoring chart amongst defencemen, impressing under Paul Dixon for the Guildford Flames. He does, however, hold the distinct advantage of previously playing on the wing.

Player Team D-Points (Played) Remaining Fixtures
Jamal Watson Guildford Flames 46 (49) COV, CAR, NOT, MAN, MAN
Matt Register Cardiff Devils 40 (49) GUI, MAN, DUN, NOT
Mitch Jones Glasgow Clan 39 (40) MAN, COV, SHE, FIF, FIF

Regardless, Watson has greatly surpassed expectations by notching 46 points in 49 games.

Jamal Watson has played a starring role for the Guildford Flames during his rookie season (Image: John Uwins)
Jamal Watson has played a starring role for the Guildford Flames during his rookie season (Image: John Uwins)

Cardiff’s Matt Register and Mitch Jones of the Glasgow Clan also deserve praise – they’ve been instrumental for their teams this term.

Honourable Mentions: Kevin Schulze – 33 (SHE), Griffin Reinhart – 31 (BEL), Dallas Ehrhardt – 29 (MAN)

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