Matthew Villalta is the 2016-17 recipient of the F.W. “Dinty” Moore Trophy registering the best goals-against-average among OHL rookie goaltenders in 2016-17 with a mark of 2.41 for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds who captured their third West Division title in four years.
Not only did his 2.41 GAA lead all rookies, it was the fifth lowest across the entire league, and set a new Greyhounds record besting Kyle Gajewski’s 2.44 mark in 2007-08.
A 17-year-old from Godfrey, ON, Villalta committed to the Greyhounds prior to the 2016-17 campaign after competing last season as a member of the Greater Kingston AAA Midget Hockey Club. The rookie played in 33 games this season carrying a record of 25-3-0-0 including one shutout with a save percentage of .918 while posting 16-straight victories from September 24 to February 10. His 25 wins are the most by a 17-year-old OHL rookie in 10 years following Mississauga’s Andrew Loverock (31) and Guelph’s Thomas McCollum (26) in 2006-07.
The trophy is named after F.W. “Dinty” Moore of Port Colborne, ON, who served as OHA President from 1942-45. In order to qualify for this rookie award, a goaltender must play a minimum of 900 minutes. Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires won the award last season with a 2.45 goals-against-average.
Villalta is the fifth Greyhound to win the award following Gajewski (2004-05), Kevin Hodson (1990-91), Gerry Iuliano (1983-84), and John Vanbiesbrouck (1980-81).