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Monthly award winners for January named

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Texas Stars forward Travis Morin, St. John’s IceCaps defenseman Brenden Kichton and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender Eric Hartzell have been selected as the league’s award winners for January.

In 11 games, Morin, the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for January, led all AHL skaters in goals (10) and points (21), including five games of at least three points each.

Morin, who also won this award in October, scored twice in a 5-3 win at Charlotte on Jan. 2 and picked up a goal and two assists in a 4-3 loss to the Checkers the next night. His first career AHL hat trick helped the Stars to a 5-3 win over Utica on Jan. 11, and he established personal bests with four assists and five points in a 7-1 win at Charlotte on Jan. 17. Morin dished out three assists as Texas edged Iowa, 4-3, in a shootout on Jan. 22, and registered a goal and two assists in a 6-4 win over Grand Rapids on Jan. 24. Morin’s 21 points came on half of Texas’s 42 goals during January.

Morin ranks second in the AHL with 26 goals and leads the league with 39 assists and 65 points in 41 games with Texas this season. The seventh-year pro from Brooklyn Park, Minn., has also appeared in three NHL contests with Dallas in 2013-14, and will represent the Stars at next week’s 2014 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Assante Wealth Management. Morin, who was originally drafted by Washington in 2004, has skated in 325 career AHL contests with Texas and Hershey, totaling 93 goals and 180 assists for 273 points. He signed as a free agent with Dallas on July 12, 2010.

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Player of the Month

Brenden KichtonIn 12 games during January, Kichton, the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for January, recorded three goals and 11 assists for 14 points along with a plus-6 rating to help the IceCaps to a 9-3-0-0 record.

Kichton opened the month with a five-game scoring streak, beginning with the game-winning goal in a 3-1 victory over Portland on Jan. 5 and including a pair of two-assist games on Jan. 6 vs. Portland and Jan. 11 vs. Toronto. Kichton later had three consecutive multiple-point games, including two assists in a 6-2 win at Hartford on Jan. 25 and a season-best three points (game-winning goal, two assists) in a 3-1 decision in Providence on Jan. 26. Kichton led all AHL rookies in assists and points during January, and had an even or better plus/minus rating in 11 of his 12 outings.

A seventh-round draft choice by Winnipeg in 2013, Kichton ranks second among AHL defensemen and third among AHL rookies in scoring with 37 points (nine goals, 28 assists) in 45 games for St. John’s. The 21-year-old native of Edmonton, Alta., played five junior seasons with Spokane of the Western Hockey League, earning WHL West Second All-Star Team honors in 2010-11 and First Team honors in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Kichton has been selected to participate in the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Assante Wealth Management in St. John’s, Feb. 11-12.

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Rookie of the Month

Eric HartzellHartzell, the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for January, made 10 appearances during the month and allowed two goals or fewer in each of them, posting a record of 5-2-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average, a .944 save percentage and one shutout.

Hartzell began January with a 23-save performance in a 4-1 win over Binghamton on Jan. 5, then made a couple of relief appearances before his next start on Jan. 18, when he made 27 saves in a 4-2 win at Portland. Hartzell made a season-high 33 stops and shut down Providence, 5-1, on Jan. 19, and matched that total before denying all eight shootout attempts to preserve a 2-1 win in Norfolk on Jan. 25. Hartzell earned his third shutout of the season on Jan. 29, making 20 saves in a 4-0 win over Syracuse.

For the season, Hartzell is 9-5-1 in 19 appearances with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and leads the AHL with a 1.85 GAA while ranking sixth with a .925 save percentage. A rookie from White Bear Lake, Minn., Hartzell signed as a free agent with Pittsburgh on Apr. 16, 2013, following a four-year collegiate career at Quinnipiac University, where he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award while backstopping the Bobcats to the school’s first-ever Frozen Four appearance and a berth in the national championship game in 2012-13.

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Goaltender of the Month