Monthly award winners named for October

Photos: Vince Rappleyea, JustSports Photography, Christian Bonin/

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Stockton Heat forward Andrew Mangiapane, Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Mike Vecchione and Utica Comets goaltender Thatcher Demko have been selected as the league’s award winners for October.

Mangiapane, the CCM/AHL Player of the Month, has begun the season with a nine-game scoring streak for Stockton, recording five goals and 10 assists for 15 points to go with a plus-10 rating.

Mangiapane scored Stockton’s first goal of the 2017-18 season on Oct. 6, helping the Heat to a 4-1 win over Bakersfield. He registered a goal and two assists vs. San Jose on Oct. 7 for his second career three-point night, and assisted on the winning goal in Stockton’s victory over Grand Rapids on Oct. 14. Mangiapane had a two-assist effort against San Diego on Oct. 21 — his first of three consecutive two-point games — and he recorded a goal and an assist before converting on his shootout attempt at San Diego on Oct. 25.

Mangiapane sits on top of the entire AHL in points and shares the league lead in assists while ranking tied for second in plus/minus rating. A 21-year-old Toronto native, Mangiapane was a sixth-round pick by the Calgary Flames in the 2015 NHL Draft and is coming off a rookie season in which he tallied 20 goals and 21 assists in 66 contests for Stockton. Mangiapane played three seasons for Barrie in the Ontario Hockey League and was a Second Team OHL All-Star after notching 51 goals and 106 points in 2015-16.

Vecchione, the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month, tallied two goals and eight assists for 10 points with a plus-8 rating in 10 games, helping the Phantoms to a 7-2-0-1 record and a share of first place in the Atlantic Division.

Vecchione registered two assists and a plus-5 rating in his AHL debut on Oct. 7 as Lehigh Valley downed Hershey, 7-2. His first goal as a professional came in the Phantoms’ 3-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Oct. 14, and he set up the winning goal in a 4-3 decision at Binghamton on Oct. 21. Vecchione scored again in a 3-2 overtime win vs. Springfield on Oct. 25, and he closed out the month on a seven-game scoring streak thanks to assists on Oct. 27 at Springfield and Oct. 28 vs. Hartford.

Vecchione is tied for the AHL lead in rookie scoring with his 10 points and ranks second among rookies with eight assists thus far. The 24-year-old native of Saugus, Mass., signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers on July 1 following four seasons at Union College, where he won the 2014 national championship as a freshman and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as a senior last year.

Demko, the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month, helped the Comets through the gauntlet of a season-opening seven-game road trip and allowed eight goals on 160 shots in five appearances, going 4-1-0 with a 1.61 goals-against average, a .950 save percentage and one shutout.

Beginning his second professional season on Oct. 7, Demko stopped 24 of 26 shots in a 3-1 loss in Toronto, then came back with a 33-save shutout at Rochester on Oct. 13. He made 24 saves in a 3-2 win at Syracuse on Oct. 14, and turned aside 40 shots in the Comets’ 5-1 win in Rochester on Oct. 21. And after a two-day recall to Vancouver, Demko finished the month with a 31-save effort in a 6-3 victory at Charlotte on Oct. 29.

A second-round choice (36th overall) by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2014 NHL Draft, Demko posted a record of 22-17-4 in 45 games with Utica as a rookie in 2016-17, with a 2.68 GAA, a .907 save percentage and two shutouts. The 21-year-old native of San Diego, Calif., played three seasons at Boston College and won the Mike Richter Award as the NCAA’s top goaltender in 2015-16.

Each monthly award winner will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming home game in recognition of his achievement.