Falcons’ McElhinney earns weekly honor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Springfield Falcons goaltender Curtis McElhinney has been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 11, 2012.

McElhinney was perfect in two starts last week, stopping all 55 shots he faced for his third and fourth shutouts of the season and helping the Falcons lay claim the best record in the AHL.

On Friday night vs. Connecticut, McElhinney made 20 saves as Springfield recorded a 2-0 victory over the Whale, and on Sunday he turned aside 35 shots to backstop the Falcons to a 5-0 win over Norfolk. Springfield, now a league-best 8-1-0-2 (.818) on the season, has recorded consecutive shutouts for the first time since posting three in a row from Jan. 21-26, 1996, and McElhinney’s four shutouts are already just one off the single-season team record of five, set by Manny Legace in 1995-96.

McElhinney, who has allowed two goals or fewer in nine of his 10 starts for Springfield this season, is 8-1-1 with a 1.29 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage, leading the league in wins and shutouts (four). Now in his eighth professional season, McElhinney has a record of 82-63-6 with 17 shutouts in 166 career AHL games, and he was a Second Team AHL All-Star after going 35-17-1 (2.13, .917, 7 SO) with Omaha in 2006-07. The native of London, Ont., has appeared in 69 NHL games with Calgary, Anaheim, Ottawa and Phoenix, and was acquired by Columbus from the Coyotes on Feb. 22, 2012.

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Player of the Week