May 11, 2009

NLL: Merrill, Bandits Duo Earn Awards

from press release

The National Lacrosse League has announced that Portland LumberJax transition player Brodie Merrill has won Transition Player of the Year; Buffalo Bandits defenseman Billy Dee Smith has been named Defensive Player of the Year, and goaltender Ken Montour has won the Goaltender of the Year Award for the 2009 season.

Billy Dee Smith captured this year's Defenseman of the Year award in his sixth season in the league.  Smith played in 13 games for the Bandits during the regular season, accumulating 47 loose balls - the second highest total of his career - in the process.  He served as a key member of a Bandits defense that allowed the third lowest number of goals during the regular season (170), which equates to an average of 10.63 goals/game.  Smith collected a total of 33 penalty minutes, and also assisted the offense with a career-best 12 points on five goals and seven assists during the season.

Transition player Brodie Merrill may have just had his best season yet.  The four-time All-Star set career-high's in assists (33) and loose balls collected (216) as the Portland LumberJax finished second in the West Division.  For his efforts, the Georgetown University alum has been named the league's Transition Player of the Year.  Merrill also scored 14 goals as he finished with 47 points.

Playing in his seventh season in the NLL, Bandits goaltender Ken Montour submitted the best statistical season of his career.  After beginning the season in a rotation with teammate Mike Thompson, Montour quickly established himself as the top goaltender on the Buffalo roster.  At the end of the regular season, Montour posted the top goals against average (9.57) and save percentage (81.3%) in the league; he was the only starting goaltender with a goals against average under 10.  He finished in a tie for second most wins amongst all goaltenders while compiling an 8-3 record and totaled the seventh most saves in the league with 451.

The 2009 awards announcements continue Tuesday with the announcement of the Rookie of the Year and the All-Rookie Team.

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