Oh, what a Knight: McElhinney named week’s best

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights goaltender Curtis McElhinney has been named the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending December 10, 2006.

McElhinney led the Knights to a pair of key division wins in Houston last week, moving the club to within three points of the top spot in the AHL’s West Division.

On Thursday night, McElhinney made 29 saves in regulation and overtime, holding the Aeros scoreless over 65 minutes for his second consecutive shutout and third of the season overall. He then denied four of five Houston shootout attempts to give Omaha a 1-0 victory. On Saturday, McElhinney extended his team-record shutout streak to 165:57 and made 28 saves before surviving a 13-round shootout, turning back all but two chances to lock up a 4-3 win.

In recognition of his achievement, McElhinney will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Ak-Sar-Ben Knights home game.

McElhinney (9-4-0), a 23-year-old Calgary native, has allowed a total of four goals on his current four-game winning streak to lower his goals-against average to 1.89 on the season, ranking second in the AHL. He is also second with his .931 save percentage, and his nine wins and three shutouts in 14 appearances this year already match his totals from his 2005-06 rookie campaign. McElhinney played four seasons at Colorado College before joining the Calgary Flames organization, which drafted him in 2002.

Other nominees for CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week include Albany goaltender Justin Peters, Binghamton forward Jeff Heerema, Bridgeport right wing Blake Comeau, Chicago right wing Darren Haydar, Grand Rapids center Matt Ellis, Hamilton right wing Andrei Kostitsyn, Hartford right wing Ryan Callahan, Hershey goaltender Frederic Cassivi, Houston goaltender Josh Harding, Lowell center Justin Papineau, Manchester goaltender Jason LaBarbera, Manitoba goaltender Drew MacIntyre, Milwaukee right wing Jason Guerriero, Norfolk goaltender Corey Crawford, Philadelphia forward Matt Ellison, Portland right wing Pierre Parenteau, Providence right wing Kris Versteeg, Rochester right wing Mark Mancari, San Antonio forward Randall Gelech, Syracuse center Andrew Murray and Toronto forward John Mitchell.

Also see: Previous winners, CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week