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Griffins’ Howard earns goalie honor for March

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Jimmy Howard of the Grand Rapids Griffins has been named the Koho/AHL Goaltender of the Month for March.

Howard was a perfect 11-0-0 with a 1.80 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage in 11 appearances on the month, as the Griffins clinched the North Division championship as well as home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference portion of the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Howard, who was named the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Mar. 19, starred in net for the Griffins during their team-record 11-game winning streak. Nine of his 11 victories in March came against North Division foes as Grand Rapids wrapped up its third division title in the last five years. Highlights of the month included a 3-2 win vs. Manitoba on Mar. 15 in which Howard made 32 saves before stopping 11 of the Moose’s 14 shootout attempts, and a 40-save performance – setting a personal season high – in a 4-1 win over Rochester on Mar. 25.

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

Howard, a second-round draft pick by Detroit in 2003, saw his personal 12-game winning streak come to an end on Apr. 1, but still owns a record of 25-5-2 in his rookie season out of the University of Maine. The native of Syracuse, N.Y., who turned 22 on Mar. 26, owns a 2.65 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage for the Griffins, and is also 1-2-0 in four NHL games with the Red Wings.

Other nominees for Koho/AHL Goaltender of the Month include Kelly Guard of Binghamton, Wade Dubielewicz of Bridgeport, Michael Garnett of Chicago, Josh Harding of Houston, Mike Smith of Iowa, Tyler Weiman of Lowell, Brian Finley of Milwaukee, Adam Munro of Norfolk, Brent Krahn of Omaha, Martin Houle of Philadelphia, Jordan Sigalet of Providence, David LeNeveu of San Antonio, Martin Prusek of Syracuse, Todd Ford of Toronto and Dany Sabourin of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.