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Grant, Bardreau, Leighton win monthly honors

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Stockton Heat center Derek Grant, Lehigh Valley Phantoms right wing Cole Bardreau and Rockford IceHogs goaltender Michael Leighton have been selected as the league’s award winners for January.

Grant, the CCM/AHL Player of the Month, Grant scored 10 goals and added nine assists for 19 points in 10 games last month, helping the Heat to an 8-1-1-0 record in those contests. 

Grant scored a regulation goal and a shootout goal and was credited with 13 shots in Stockton’s 7-6 win over Texas on Jan. 2. He scored twice to help the Heat to a 3-1 win over Bakersfield on Jan. 3, and had a goal and an assist as Stockton rolled past San Antonio, 6-2, on Jan. 13. Grant registered a goal and three assists for a career-high four points in a 7-4 win at Iowa on Jan. 17 and scored both Heat goals in a 2-1 overtime victory vs. Ontario on Jan. 27. He then registered his second four-point game in 14 days, picking up two goals and two assists to lead Stockton to a 4-2 win over Bakersfield on Jan. 30. 

Grant, who finished the month by winning the CCM Fastest Skater event at the 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Challenge on Jan. 31, is now second in the league with 21 goals and tied for ninth with 36 points while skating in 28 games for Stockton. A 25-year-old native of Abbotsford, B.C., Grant has totaled 82 goals and 71 assists for 153 points in 284 career AHL games and was a member of Binghamton’s Calder Cup championship team in 2011. The fifth-year pro has skated in nine games for the parent Calgary Flames in 2015-16 and has registered two assists in 34 career NHL matches with Calgary and Ottawa. 

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Player of the Month

CCM/AHL Rookie of the MonthBardreau, the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month, tallied six goals, six assists and a plus-11 rating in 11 games for Lehigh Valley last month. 

Bardreau began the month by picking up points in three straight games, including a goal in the Phantoms’ 2-1 win at Portland on Jan. 3, and notched his first multiple-point game as a professional on Jan. 15, registering two assists vs. Hershey. Bardreau later put together a four-game scoring streak, including five goals in a three-game span. He had a two-goal effort at Hershey on Jan. 25, and his second goal of the night vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Jan. 29 was the overtime game-winner. Bardreau had an even or plus rating in all 11 games during January. 

Bardreau, a 22-year-old native of Fairport, N.Y., has seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 24 games for Lehigh Valley this season, his first professional campaign after four seasons at Cornell University. Bardreau, who won a gold medal with the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championships, signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers on Mar. 12, 2015, and scored a goal in his pro debut with Lehigh Valley on Mar. 20. 

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Rookie of the Month 

CCM/AHL Goaltender of the MonthIn 10 appearances during a history-making month, Leighton, the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month, 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 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, 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. 

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Goaltender of the Month