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LEIGHTON NAMED AHL’S TOP GOALTENDER IN JANUARY

Photo by Todd Reicher
02/03/2016 2:00 PM

Article By: Nate Haeni

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The American Hockey League announced today that Michael Leighton of the Rockford IceHogs has been selected as the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for January.

In 10 appearances during a history-making month, Leighton was 8-0-2 with a 1.22 goals-against average, a .954 save percentage and three shutouts as Rockford moved into first place in the Central Division.

Leighton allowed two goals or fewer in nine of his 10 outings, including a 33-save performance in a 3-1 win on Jan. 10 at Iowa, and the three shutouts in January allowed him to tie Hockey Hall of Famer Johnny Bower for the most shutouts (45) in the 80-year history of the American Hockey League. Leighton made 23 saves in blanking Stockton on Jan. 16 and turned aside 28 shots in a 1-0 win over Iowa on Jan. 23 before the record-tying 20-save effort against Chicago on Jan. 29. Leighton is unbeaten over his last nine games at home, setting a team AHL-era record.

Leighton, who appeared in his fourth career AHL All-Star Classic earlier this week, has just one regulation loss in his last 20 decisions (15-1-4) and is 23-4-5 in 33 games for Rockford this season, ranking second in the league in wins, third in goals-against average (2.04), third in save percentage (.931), second in minutes played (1,910) and third in saves (876). The 15th-year pro from Petrolia, Ont., ranks 10th in league history in victories (216-161-38 in 429 games) in addition to being tied for first in shutouts. His four All-Star appearances tie Jean-Francios Labbe, who was elected into the AHL Hall of Fame this year, for most by a goaltender in the last 20 years.

In recognition of his achievement, Leighton will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming IceHogs home game.

The award marks the second-straight January in which Leighton has been honored as the AHL’s Goaltender of the Month. Last season, the 34 year-old compiled a 4-0-2 record with a 1.05 GAA, .969 save percentage, and two shutouts.

Next Home Game: Friday, Feb. 5 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins at 7 p.m. The IceHogs return from the AHL All Star break with the first game in a home-and-home weekend series against the Griffins. It's "White Out" night at the BMO Harris Bank Center as fans are encouraged to wear white while the first 2,500 fans through the doors will receive a white IceHogs t-shirt courtesy of Toyota.