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Amerks’ Stafford named top rookie for January

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Rochester Americans right wing Drew Stafford has been named the Rbk Hockey/AHL Rookie of the Month for January. Stafford tallied six goals and seven assists for 13 points in just seven games with Rochester last month.

Stafford, 21, started January with two points at Manitoba on Jan. 4, then recorded the game-winning goal along with two assists in a 4-1 win at Hamilton on Jan. 6. He scored twice more, including another game-winner, in the Americans’ 5-2 victory in Syracuse on Jan. 13, and authored his sixth three-point game of the season with a goal and two assists vs. Grand Rapids on Jan. 26. Stafford had another goal and an assist at Binghamton on Jan. 27, then closed out the month by representing Rochester at the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic in Toronto, where he scored a goal for the victorious PlanetUSA team.

Stafford also earned two recalls to the parent Buffalo Sabres in January, appearing in four NHL games.

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

A native of Milwaukee, Wisc., Stafford has recorded 18 goals and 17 assists for 35 points in 28 games for Rochester this season, along with two goals and three assists in 19 NHL games with Buffalo. The Sabres’ first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Stafford played three seasons at the University of North Dakota and was a gold medalist with the United States at the 2004 World Junior Championships.

Other nominees for the Rbk Hockey/AHL Rookie of the Month award include Albany defenseman Michael Vernace, Chicago defenseman Nathan Oystrick, Grand Rapids center Jeff Campbell, Hartford right wing Ryan Callahan, Houston right wing Danny Irmen, Manchester defenseman T.J. Kemp, Norfolk forward Troy Brouwer, Providence center David Krejci, Syracuse right wing Adam Pineault, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton center Tyler Kennedy and Worcester goaltender Thomas Greiss.