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Bieksa named March’s top AHL rookie

The American Hockey League announced today that Manitoba Moose defenseman Kevin Bieksa has been named the Reebok AHL Rookie of the Month for March. In 13 games, Bieksa registered nine points and a plus-11 rating for the Moose.

Bieksa’s month featured an assist in three straight games from Mar. 6-11, as well as a five-game scoring streak from Mar. 17-26. Bieksa had an assist and was a plus-3 in a 5-2 win at Milwaukee on Mar. 17, and recorded the game-winning goal and added an assist in Manitoba’s 6-4 win over St. John’s on Mar. 24. Manitoba was 5-5-2-1 on the month to maintain its hold on second place in the North Division.

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

A 2001 draft pick by the Vancouver Canucks, Bieksa has tallied 10 goals and 25 assists for 35 points in 70 games for Manitoba this season, his first as a pro after four years at Bowling Green State University. He currently ranks first among all AHL rookies and fifth among all defensemen with his plus-22 rating for the year.

Other nominees for Reebok AHL Rookie of the Month include Binghamton left wing Brandon Bochenski, Bridgeport left wing Steve Regier, Cincinnati left wing Dustin Penner, Cleveland right wing Mike Hoffman, Edmonton center Kyle Brodziak, Grand Rapids defenseman Derek Meech, Hamilton goaltender Yann Danis, Houston goaltender Josh Harding, Lowell center Dustin Johner, Manchester center David Steckel, Milwaukee defenseman Ryan Suter, Norfolk left wing Rene Bourque, Philadelphia center R.J. Umberger, Portland right wing Jakub Klepis, Rochester left wing Thomas Vanek, San Antonio right wing Rob Globke, Springfield defenseman Doug O’Brien, St. John’s center Jeremy Williams, Syracuse center Raffaele Sannitz and Utah center Jakub Koreis.