Irving grabs weekly honor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Abbotsford Heat goaltender Leland Irving has been named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 20, 2011.

Irving made four starts last week and stopped 109 of 115 shots, going 3-1-0 with a 1.47 goals-against average, a .948 save percentage and two shutouts as the Heat staked claim to the best record in the Western Conference.

Irving made 34 saves on Tuesday night as Abbotsford recorded a 4-0 win in San Antonio to begin the week. Following a 4-1 loss at Oklahoma City on Friday, Irving bounced back with 21 saves as the Heat won Saturday’s rematch with the Barons, 4-2. Finally, Irving stopped 34 shots in regulation and overtime and was perfect in five shootout rounds as Abbotsford earned a 1-0 victory in Houston on Sunday evening.

Irving, who has started 18 of Abbotsford’s first 19 games this season, backstopped every minute of the Heat’s seven-game road trip which saw them go 6-1-0-0 to wind up in first place in the West Division.

The 23-year-old Irving is in his fourth professional season after being selected by the Calgary Flames in the first round (26th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. At 13-5-0, the native of Swan Hills, Alta., leads the AHL in wins, minutes played (1,022) and shutouts (3) while ranking fourth with a 1.94 goals-against average and 10th with a .927 save percentage. Irving led the league in minutes (3,436) and shutouts (8) last season as well, and has compiled a career record of 81-64-6 with 13 shutouts in 161 AHL appearances.

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

Also see: Past winners, AHL Player of the Week