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Spezza, Cammalleri win scoring races

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … Centers Jason Spezza of the Binghamton Senators and Mike Cammalleri of the Manchester Monarchs have each captured another piece of hardware as the American Hockey League’s 2004-05 regular season concluded today.

Spezza has won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the leading scorer in the American Hockey League, while Cammalleri has claimed the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s leading goal-scorer.

Named the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s most valuable player earlier this week, Spezza has had one of the finest offensive seasons by an AHL player in recent history, leading Binghamton to its second division title in three years. Playing in all 80 games for the Senators, Spezza scored 32 goals and added 85 assists – the second-highest total in AHL history – for 117 points, the most by an AHL player in nine seasons. The second overall pick by Ottawa in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Spezza, who finished the regular season by recording a point in each of his last 20 games, was also named a First Team AHL All-Star in 2004-05.

The AHL’s leading-scorer trophy was originally named after Wally Kilrea, who held the AHL’s single-season scoring record when the award was instituted in 1947-48. That year, Carl Liscombe broke Kilrea’s record, and the award was renamed in his honor. In 1955, the AHL Board of Governors voted to name the trophy after John B. Sollenberger, a long-time contributor to the league as manager and president of the Hershey Bears and former Chairman of the Board of Governors. Previous winners of the John B. Sollenberger Trophy include Fred Glover (1957, ’60), Willie Marshall (1958), Bill Sweeney (1961, ’62, ’63), Don Blackburn (1972), Paul Gardner (1985, ’86), Bruce Boudreau (1988), Tim Taylor (1994), Brad Smyth (1996), Peter White (1995, ’97, ’98), Derek Armstrong (2001) and Steve Maltais (2003).

Manchester’s Mike Cammalleri led the AHL with 46 goals in 2004-05.

Cammalleri sparked the Monarchs to the Atlantic Division championship with a league-best 46 goals in 79 games for Manchester. A third-year pro out of the University of Michigan and a second-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Kings in 2001, Cammalleri also finished tied for third in the league with 17 power-play goals and second with 308 shots on goal. He scored a goal in seven straight games back in November, tied for the longest such streak in the AHL this season. Named a Second Team AHL All-Star for 2004-05, Cammalleri finished the year with 109 points, second in the overall scoring race.

The AHL’s goal-scoring award was established in 2004 to honor Willie Marshall, the AHL’s all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played. During his 20-year AHL playing career, Marshall won three Calder Cup championships (1955, 1958, 1959) and one scoring title – in 1957-58 when he recorded a career-best 104 points. Marshall is also the AHL’s all-time leader in postseason scoring with 119 points in 112 Calder Cup Playoff games.

Jeff Hamilton won the inaugural Willie Marshall Award in 2004. Other previous yearly goal-scoring leaders include Bryan Hextall (1937), Lou Trudel (1942, ’45), Fred Glover (1951), Dunc Fisher (1958), Jimmy Anderson (1961, ’64), Yvon Lambert (1973), Gordie Clark (1980), Paul Gardner (1985, ’86), Jody Gage (1988), Brad Smyth (1996, 2001), Peter White (1997) and Eric Healey (2003).

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 6.6 million fans – an all-time league record – attended AHL games during the 2004-05 regular season, and 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway on Tuesday night.