Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Players of the Month for regular season games played in January 2019, including Niagara IceDogs teammates Ben Jones and Akil Thomas.
OHL Player of the Month – Ben Jones/Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs):
Riding a stretch of seven straight wins to wrap up the month, Niagara IceDogs teammates Ben Jones and Akil Thomas are the OHL’s C0-Players of the Month. Both players registered 25 points over 13 games, with Jones scoring 12 times, adding 13 assists and recording a plus/minus rating of plus-10 while Thomas finished with 13 goals, 12 assists and a plus/minus rating of plus-6.
The captain of the Central Division-leading IceDogs, Jones had points in 11 of his 13 January contests including a run of nine straight multi-point outings that spanned from Dec. 29th to Jan. 17th. The Vegas Golden Knights prospect had a trio of multi-goal performances including Jan. 3rd against London with two, Jan. 10th against Guelph with two goals and an assist and Jan. 17th against Hamilton when he netted his third hat-trick of the season. An accomplished centreman, Jones also won 58% of his faceoffs in January and finished the month with a goal in Thursday’s 6-1 win over the Soo Greyhounds. Jones earned first star honours twice throughout the month along with receiving second and third star recognition.
A 19-year-old native from Waterloo, Ont., Jones is second in IceDogs team scoring and sits seventh in the OHL with 72 points (29-43–72) over 48 games. Originally Niagara’s first round (7th overall) pick of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection from the OHL Cup champion Toronto Marlboros Minor Midgets, Jones was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Draft and signed a three-year entry level contract with the club in June 2018.
For his part, Thomas was equally impressive, stringing together six straight multi-point performances headlined by four (3-1–4) and five (2-3–5) point outings on Jan. 11th against Kingston and Jan. 19th against Flint. The 6-3 triumph over Kingston included Thomas’ first OHL hat-trick before he put together his fifth five-point contest of the season in a 7-2 win over the Firebirds. The Los Angeles Kings prospect followed-up that effort with two goals and an assist in a 4-3 road win over the Guelph Storm on Jan. 20th. Thomas rounded out the month of January with two goals and an assist in Thursday’s 6-1 win over the Soo Greyhounds. In total, Thomas was named first star of the game twice and second star of the game twice throughout the month of January, capping things off by recording his 200th career OHL point on Thursday.
An 18-year-0ld product of Brandon, Fla., Thomas is third in IceDogs team scoring and eighth in the OHL with 71 points (26-45–71) over 43 games this season. He also leads the IceDogs with a plus/minus rating of plus-31. Thomas is currently in his third season with Niagara after being the club’s first round (12th overall) pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection from the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midgets. He was a second round pick of the Los Angeles Kings last summer.
2018-19 OHL Player of the Month:
January – Ben Jones/Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs)
December – Tye Felhaber (Ottawa 67’s)
November – Jason Robertson (Niagara IceDogs)
October – Justin Brazeau (North Bay Battalion)