SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Norfolk Admirals right wing Emerson Etem, Texas Stars left wing Curtis McKenzie and Milwaukee Admirals goaltender Scott Darling have been selected as the league’s award winners for December.
Etem, the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for December, appeared in nine games for Norfolk last month and totaled seven goals and eight assists for 15 points, along with a plus-6 rating.
After a stint with the parent Anaheim Ducks, Etem returned to the Norfolk lineup on Dec. 13 and notched a goal and an assist at Charlotte on Dec. 15. He helped pace the Admirals offense with a goal and two assists vs. Adirondack on Dec. 20, and picked up the game-winning goal in Norfolk’s 3-1 victory over the Phantoms on Dec. 21. Closing out the calendar year with three road games, Etem notched two assists on Dec. 27 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, two goals and an assist on Dec. 28 at Syracuse and a goal and an assist on Dec. 31 at Binghamton.
Etem has totaled eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points with Norfolk this season, good for second on the team in scoring despite appearing in just 12 games. The 21-year-old native of Long Beach, Calif., has also skated in 26 matches with Anaheim this season, registering six goals and four assists for 10 points with the Ducks. Anaheim’s first-round pick (29th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Etem has played 64 career NHL games, notching nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points. He has added 37 points (22 goals, 15 assists) in 59 AHL games with Norfolk and Syracuse.
In recognition of his achievement, Etem will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Admirals home game.
Also see: Past winners, AHL Player of the Month
With leading scorers Travis Morin and Colton Sceviour both missing action due to NHL recall during the month, McKenzie, the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for December, helped the Stars roll to a 9-1-0-1 record by tallying five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 11 games.
McKenzie’s month featured five multiple-point games, beginning with his first career two-goal effort in a 5-4 win at Oklahoma City on Dec. 3. He scored twice more – including the game-winning goal – at San Antonio on Dec. 15, and set a personal best with three assists in a 5-2 win over the Rampage on Dec. 28. McKenzie closed out the month by assisting on the game-tying goal as Texas erased a four-goal deficit en route to a 6-5 overtime win at Oklahoma City on New Year’s Eve.
A 2009 draft choice by Dallas, McKenzie ranks second among all AHL rookies in scoring with 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 33 games for Texas this season. His is also second among rookies with 99 shots on goal, and his 16 power-play points are tied for third among all league skaters. McKenzie, 22, is a native of Golden, B.C., and played four seasons at Miami University before making his pro debut with Texas at the end of last season.
In recognition of his achievement, McKenzie will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Stars home game.
Also see: Past winners, AHL Rookie of the Month
In the first extended AHL stint of his career, Darling, the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for December, made eight appearances on the month (seven starts) and went 6-1-0 with a 1.12 goals-against average, a .964 save percentage and two shutouts, allowing a total of eight goals on 223 shots.
Darling began the month with a 17-save effort in a 2-1 win at Charlotte on Dec. 1, and made his first home appearance with the Admirals on Dec. 6, stopping 28 shots in a 5-2 win over Oklahoma City. Despite allowing three first-period goals on Dec. 13 at Grand Rapids, Darling finished with a season-best 37 saves , and then shut out San Antonio (34 saves) on Dec. 20 and backstopped Milwaukee past Rockford, 3-1, on Dec. 21 (34 saves). Darling closed out the month by being named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week, a stretch that included a 33-save shutout of Iowa on Dec. 29.
Darling has made 12 AHL appearances this season for Milwaukee, posting a record of 7-1-0 with a 1.43 goals-against average, a .955 save percentage and three shutouts (tied for the league lead). A 2007 draft pick by the Phoenix Coyotes, Darling is in his fourth professional season out of the University of Maine. The native of Lemont, Ill., signed with Milwaukee on Sept. 12, 2013.
In recognition of his achievement, Darling will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Admirals home game.