AHL names award winners for December

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Manchester Monarchs right wing Brian O’Neill, Toronto Marlies right wing Connor Brown and Syracuse Crunch goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy have been selected as the CCM/AHL award winners for December.

O’Neill, the CCM/AHL Player of the Month, tallied four goals and 17 assists for 21 points along with a plus-11 rating in 13 games for the Monarchs during December. 

O’Neill registered two assists in a 5-2 win over Norfolk on Dec. 6, his first of six multiple-point nights on the month, and assisted on the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory at Worcester on Dec. 13. He notched a goal and an assist at Providence on Dec. 14 before tying franchise records for assists and points in a game with five helpers in an 8-2 win at Portland on Dec. 17. O’Neill had four more assists as Manchester beat Worcester, 4-1, on Dec. 19, and scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period of a 5-4 victory over Providence on Dec. 20. O’Neill ran his scoring streak to seven games (3g, 13a) with an assist in a 3-2 overtime win vs. Providence on Dec. 27, and finished out the month with two assists in a 4-0 win over St. John’s on New Year’s Eve. 

A third-year pro, O’Neill leads the AHL in assists (30) and points (40), is tied for first in game-winning goals (four) and is tied for second in plus/minus (+18) while appearing in 32 games for Manchester in 2014-15. The 26-year-old native of Yardley, Pa., played four seasons at Yale University and registered 163 points, the second-highest total in school history. O’Neill, who signed as a free agent with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings on Mar. 15, 2012, has totaled 40 goals and 64 assists for 104 points and a plus-50 rating in 153 career AHL games, all with Manchester. 

In recognition of his achievement, O’Neill will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Monarchs home game. 

Also see: Past winners, AHL Player of the Month

Connor Brown
Brown, the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month, scored five goals and added seven assists for 12 points in 14 games for the Marlies last month. 

Brown began December with two points, including the game-winning goal, in a 4-2 victory over Grand Rapids on Dec. 2. His goal at Hamilton on Dec. 5 sparked a third-period comeback and sent the Marlies to a 3-1 win, and he had two assists in Toronto’s 3-0 victory over Rochester on Dec. 7. After assisting on the deciding goal in a 4-3 overtime win at Utica on Dec. 12, Brown notched the first two-goal game of his pro career on Dec. 13 vs. St. John’s, and extended his scoring streak to five games with a goal at Grand Rapids on Dec. 19. Brown closed out December with two more assists on game-winning goals – vs. Hamilton on Dec. 26 and vs. Adirondack on Dec. 28. 

A 20-year-old Toronto native, Brown leads the Marlies in goals (eight), assists (16), points (24) and game-winning goals (three), and is one of two skaters to appear in all 33 games for the club thus far in 2014-15. Brown, a sixth-round draft pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012, played three junior seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with Erie, where was the OHL’s leading scorer and was voted the league’s most outstanding player in 2013-14. 

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Rookie of the Month

Andrei VasilevskiyVasilevskiy, the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month, was 4-0-1 with a 1.17 goals-against average, a .962 save percentage and two shutouts for the Crunch in December, while also shining in his debut National Hockey League stint with Tampa Bay. 

Vasilevskiy recorded his first career AHL shutout on Dec. 6, making 34 saves in a 2-0 win over Rochester, and followed that up with a 26-save whitewash at Springfield on Dec. 10. Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 30 shots as the Crunch defeated Hershey, 4-1, on Dec. 12, and was then recalled by Tampa Bay, where he earned the win in his NHL debut on Dec. 16 at Philadelphia. Vasilevskiy returned to the Crunch and won his fifth consecutive AHL decision on Dec. 26, stopping 31 shots in a 3-2 overtime win vs. Albany, and then made 30 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss at Springfield on Dec. 28. In addition to allowing just six goals on 156 shots in the AHL, Vasilevskiy went 3-1-0 in four appearances with the Lightning during December, posting a 1.76 GAA and a .937 save percentage in the NHL. 

Tampa Bay’s first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Vasilevskiy has compiled a record of 9-3-4 in 16 appearances with Syracuse this season, with a 2.34 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage and two shutouts. The 20-year-old rookie from Tyumen, Russia, spent last season with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL and helped Russia to medals at the 2012 (silver), 2013 (bronze) and 2014 (bronze) World Junior Championships as well as gold at the 2014 World Championships. 

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Goaltender of the Month