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Locke, McDonald take scoring races

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.Corey Locke of the Binghamton Senators has won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the leading scorer in the American Hockey League, while Colin McDonald of the Oklahoma City Barons won the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s leading goal scorer for the 2010-11 campaign.

A First Team AHL All-Star and the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s most valuable player, Locke scored 21 goals and established career highs with 65 assists and 86 points for Binghamton, helping the Senators to their first Calder Cup Playoff berth in six years. Locke recorded at least one point in 54 of his 69 games played (78.3 percent), and finished as his team’s leading scorer for the fourth consecutive year.

This is Locke’s first career scoring title. The 26-year-old Toronto native has totaled 162 goals and 317 assists for 479 points in 535 AHL games over seven pro seasons.

The AHL’s leading-scorer trophy was originally named after Wally Kilrea, who held the AHL’s single-season scoring record when the award was instituted in 1947-48. That year, Carl Liscombe broke Kilrea’s record, and the award was renamed in his honor. In 1955, the AHL Board of Governors voted to name the trophy after John B. Sollenberger, a long-time contributor to the league as manager and president of the Hershey Bears and former Chairman of the AHL Board of Governors. Previous winners of the John B. Sollenberger Trophy include Fred Glover (1957, ’60), Willie Marshall (1958), Bill Sweeney (1961, ’62, ’63), Don Blackburn (1972), Paul Gardner (1985, ’86), Bruce Boudreau (1988), Peter White (1995, ’97, ’98), Derek Armstrong (2001), Jason Spezza (2005), Darren Haydar (2007), Jason Krog (2008), Alexandre Giroux (2009) and Keith Aucoin (2010).

McDonald captured the AHL goal-scoring title with 42 goals, surging to the title by scoring 10 times in his last seven games and breaking a tie with Hamilton’s Nigel Dawes with 2:32 remaining in Sunday’s season finale for Oklahoma City. The fourth-year pro entered the season with 34 goals in 226 games over his first three AHL campaigns, but scored 42 times in 80 games for the Barons, including a four-goal game on Apr. 8 at San Antonio.

The AHL’s goal-scoring award was established in 2004 to honor Willie Marshall, the AHL’s all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played. During his 20-year AHL playing career, Marshall won three Calder Cup championships (1955, 1958, 1959) and one scoring title. Jeff Hamilton (2004), Mike Cammalleri (2005), Donald MacLean (2006), Denis Hamel (2006), Brett Sterling (2007), Jason Krog (2008) and Alexandre Giroux (2009, ’10) were the first winners of the Willie Marshall Award; other previous yearly goal-scoring leaders include Bryan Hextall (1937), Lou Trudel (1942, ’45), Fred Glover (1951), Dunc Fisher (1958), Jimmy Anderson (1961, ’64), Yvon Lambert (1973), Gordie Clark (1980), Paul Gardner (1985, ’86), Jody Gage (1988) and Brad Smyth (1996, 2001).

Celebrating its historic 75th anniversary season in 2010-11, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2010-11 season ends on Apr. 10, and 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway on Wednesday.