Justin DiBenedetto returned to the OHL and Sarnia Sting just in time for October and scored 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points in 10 October games with a plus-minus rating of plus-6. DiBenedetto was named the Boston Pizza OHL and CHL Player of the Week for the week ending October 12 highlighted by his seven point game with five goals scored in a 7-2 win over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on October 12. The five goals would tie a Sting single game record. DiBenedetto would follow that first star performance with back-to-back first star of the game honours October 17 in an 8-6 win over the Oshawa Generals and October 18 with a 5-2 win over the Barrie Colts tallying nine points in those two games.
The 20-year-old native of Vaughan, ON was a sixth round pick of the New York Islanders in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft following his best OHL season where he scored 39 goals and 54 assists for 93 points in 58 games with the Sting.
OHL Rookie of the Month – John McFarland, Sudbury Wolves
John McFarland of the Sudbury Wolves found his scoring touch midway through October and finished the month with five goals and six assists for 11 points in 12 games. McFarland finished the month on a seven game point streak including three multi-point games. McFarland opened the scoring on the power play October 17 against the Peterborough Petes for his first career OHL goal. He would add an assist on the game winning goal to lead the Wolves to a 5-4 win over the Petes and was named first star of the game.
McFarland, a 16-year-old from Richmond Hill, ON was the 2008 winner of the Jack Ferguson Award presented annually to the player selected first overall in the OHL Priority Selection. McFarland was named tournament MVP at the 2008 OHL Showcase tournament where he captained the minor midget Toronto Jr. Canadiens to an OHL Cup win.
OHL Defenceman of the Month – Ryan Ellis, Windsor Spitfires
Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires scored six goals and 19 assists for 25 points in October. In 13 games played he compiled a plus-14 plus-minus rating leading the Spitfires to a 12-1-0-0 record and a consistent number one ranking in the CHL Mosaik MasterCard Top 10. Ellis had a 10 game point streak and finished the month with seven multi-point games. His month was highlighted by a one goal and four assist night in a 7-4 win over the London Knights on October 30. He would later be named the Boston Pizza OHL Player of the Week for the week ending November 2.
Ellis, a 17-year-old from Freelton, ON is in his second season with the Spitfires. Last season he was named to the OHL All-Rookie Team. Ellis is eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and will compete for Team OHL at the 2008 ADT Canada Russia Challenge November 20 in Guelph, ON and November 24 in St. Catharines, ON.
OHL Goaltender of the Month – Andrew Engelage, Windsor Spitfires
Andrew Engelage of the Windsor Spitfires earned the goaltender of the month honours after posting a league best 10-1-0-0 record with three shutouts in the month of October backstopping the Spitfires to a first place ranking in the CHL Mosaik MasterCard Top 10 Rankings. In 11 games between the pipes Engelage had a 2.38 goals-against-average and a .910 save percentage. Engelage received first star of the game recognition for his 23 save performance in a 1-0 road win in Plymouth over the Whalers on October 25.
Engelage, a 20-year-old from Oshawa, ON is in his third OHL season with the Spitfires. Earlier this season he was named the ADT CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending September 28.
2008-09 OHL Performers of the Month
OHL Player of the Month
October – Justin DiBenedetto, Sarnia Sting
OHL Rookie of the Month
October – John McFarland, Sudbury Wolves
OHL Defenceman of the Month
October – Ryan Ellis, Windsor Spitfires
OHL Goaltender of the Month
October – Andrew Engelage, Windsor Spitfires