AHL names award winners for January

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Lehigh Valley Phantoms center Nick Cousins, Milwaukee Admirals right wing Viktor Arvidsson and Rockford IceHogs goaltender Michael Leighton have been selected as the CCM/AHL award winners for January.

Cousins, the CCM/AHL Player of the Month, led all AHL skaters in scoring during January, tallying 17 points on seven goals and 10 assists in 13 games for Lehigh Valley. 

Cousins began the month by scoring the winning goal in Lehigh Valley’s 3-2 overtime victory at Norfolk on Jan. 2. He assisted on the game-winner late in a 4-2 decision at St. John’s on Jan. 10, and added a goal and two assists in the first period of the Phantoms’ 6-2 win over the IceCaps on Jan. 11. Cousins netted his first career hat trick on Jan. 17, part of a four-point performance in a 5-1 win over Binghamton, and he closed out January by tallying a goal and two assists to help Lehigh Valley past Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 6-2, on Jan. 31. 

A third-round pick by Philadelphia in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Cousins has 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points in 44 games for Lehigh Valley this season, already surpassing his rookie totals from a year ago. The 21-year-old native of Belleville, Ont., has now totaled 25 goals and 39 assists for 64 points in 126 career AHL games. 

In recognition of his achievement, Cousins will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Phantoms home game

Also see: Past winners, AHL Player of the Month

Viktor Arvidsson
Arvidsson, the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month, scored six goals and added seven assists for 13 points in 12 games in January, helping the Admirals to a 10-2-0-0 record. 

Arvidsson notched the game-winning goal and added an assist to help Milwaukee to a 4-1 win over Hamilton on Jan. 3, and tallied a pair of goals in a 5-0 win over Charlotte on Jan. 10. He assisted on the winning goal in the final minute of regulation on Jan. 16 at Utica, and his two-goal effort on Jan. 17 at Adirondack included scoring the winner in overtime. Arvidsson ran his point-scoring streak to six games (5g, 3a) with a goal in a 4-3 win vs. Iowa on Jan. 23, and closed out the month with an assist in Milwaukee’s 4-0 win at Grand Rapids on Jan. 31. 

A fourth-round pick by Nashville in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Arvidsson ranks fourth among AHL rookies with 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 43 games for Milwaukee this season. The 21-year-old Arvidsson played the last two seasons with his hometown Skelleftea AIK in the Swedish Hockey League, helping them to back-to-back league championships. 

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Rookie of the Month

Michael LeightonLeighton, the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month, made seven appearances for Rockford in January and allowed just seven goals on 224 shots, going 4-0-2 with a 1.05 goals-against average, a .969 save percentage and two shutouts. 

Leighton began the month by making 31 saves in Rockford’s 3-0 win at Chicago on Jan. 3, then stopped all 14 shots he faced in a relief appearance at Milwaukee on Jan. 8. Leighton turned aside 34 of 35 shots in a 1-0 overtime loss to Milwaukee on Jan. 9 and made 43 saves in a 3-2 shootout loss to Charlotte on Jan.13, then got back in the win column on Jan. 17 at Chicago, stopping a season-high 44 shots and stopping all three shootout attempts for a 3-2 IceHogs win. Leighton registered a 23-save shutout at Iowa on Jan. 22, and finished the month with 28 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory over Chicago on Jan. 30. 

Leighton owns a record of 12-7-4 in 25 games with Rockford this season, ranking fifth in the AHL with a 2.01 GAA, third with a .931 save percentage and tied for second with four shutouts. The 14th-year pro from Petrolia, Ont., has made 379 career AHL appearances, and ranks 15th all-time with 183 victories and third with 40 shutouts. A three-time AHL All-Star, Leighton won the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender in 2007-08. 

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Goaltender of the Month