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Vanek named Rookie of the Month

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Rochester Americans left wing Thomas Vanek has been named the Reebok AHL Rookie of the Month for April. In nine games on the month, Vanek scored 11 goals and added two assists for 13 points as the Americans clinched the best record in the AHL for the 2004-05 regular season.

Vanek’s April outburst included four multiple-goal games. On Apr. 3 in Buffalo, he scored twice in the final seven minutes of regulation as Rochester turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 win over St. John’s. Vanek netted two more goals in St. John’s in a 4-3 shootout win on Apr. 11, chipped in two goals and an assist in a 5-3 win at Hamilton on Apr. 15, and closed out his rookie season with three power-play goals in a 7-4 loss to Syracuse on Apr. 16.

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

The fifth overall pick (by Buffalo) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Vanek finished second in the entire AHL with 42 goals and ranked second among AHL rookies with 68 points in 74 games for Rochester in 2004-05. A member of the 2004-05 AHL All-Rookie Team and runner-up in the voting for the Dudley “Red” Garrett Award as rookie of the year, the 21-year-old native of Graz, Austria, led the league with 25 power-play goals, two off the AHL single-season record.

Other nominees for Reebok AHL Rookie of the Month include Binghamton left wing Brandon Bochenski, Cleveland right wing Riley Armstrong, Edmonton center Kyle Brodziak, Grand Rapids center Eric Himelfarb, Hamilton goaltender Yann Danis, Hartford forward Ryan Hollweg, Houston goaltender Josh Harding, Milwaukee defenseman Ryan Suter, Philadelphia center R.J. Umberger, San Antonio center Vince Bellissimo, Springfield defenseman Paul Ranger and Syracuse center Raffaele Sannitz.