Irving heats up, takes 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. 1, 2009. Irving won each of his three starts on the week and stopped 81 of 83 shots for a 0.65 goals-against average and a .976 save percentage.

After the Heat had lost the first three games of their six-game road trip, Irving shut the door on the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday night, turning aside all 25 shots he faced for a 2-0 win and his second career shutout. He came back on Friday and stopped 30 of 31 shots before denying all four shootout attempts in Abbotsford’s 2-1 victory at Hamilton. And on Sunday, Irving made 26 saves as the visiting Heat posted a 2-1 win over Lake Erie.

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

Irving is now 6-3-1 in 11 appearances for Abbotsford this season, with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage along with one shutout. The 21-year-old native of Swan Hills, Alta., was a first-round draft choice (26th overall) by the Calgary Flames in 2006, and posted a 24-18-2 record (2.23, .912) in 47 games as an AHL rookie last season.

Other nominees for Reebok/AHL Player of the Week include Adirondack goaltender Johan Backlund, Albany right wing Matthew Pistilli, Binghamton center Jesse Winchester, Chicago defenseman Chris Chelios, Grand Rapids goaltender Daniel Larsson, Hamilton defenseman Yannick Weber, Hartford center Corey Locke, Hershey right wing Francois Bouchard, Lake Erie right wing David Marshall, Lowell left wing Alexander Vasyunov, Manchester defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov, Manitoba goaltender Daren Machesney, Milwaukee defenseman Robert Dietrich, Peoria center Nicholas Drazenovic, Portland right wing Mark Mancari, Rochester center Chris Taylor, Rockford left wing Bryan Bickell, San Antonio goaltender Al Montoya, Syracuse goaltender Dan LaCosta, Texas goaltender Brent Krahn, Toronto center Mike Zigomanis, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton left wing Ryan Bayda and Worcester center Steven Zalewski.

Also see: Past winners, AHL Player of the Week