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Crunch’s Pasquale wins Hap Holmes Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Eddie Pasquale of the Syracuse Crunch is the recipient of the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the 2018-19 season. Since 1972, the award has been presented to the goaltender(s) with at least 25 games played on the team which allows the fewest goals per game in the regular season.

The Crunch allowed an average of 2.46 goals per game in 2018-19 en route to capturing the North Division title for second time in the last three years. Syracuse finished with the fewest goals against in the AHL for the first time in the franchise’s 25-year history.

Pasquale made a career-high 45 appearances for the Crunch this season, posting a record of 27-12-6 with a 2.35 goals-against average, a .916 save percentage and four of the team’s league-best 12 shutouts. The ninth-year pro from Toronto, Ont., also made his NHL debut with Tampa Bay in 2018-19, going 2-1-0 in three outings for the Lightning.

Also contributing to the Crunch’s goaltending success this season were AHL All-Star Connor Ingram, who went 14-7-0 (2.26, .922) with six shutouts in 22 games; Martin Ouellette (3-0-1, 1.61, .939 in six games) and Atte Tolvanen (3-2-1, 2.32, .928 in six appearances).

The Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award, which was first awarded in 1948 to the goaltender with the best goals-against average in the AHL, is named for Hockey Hall of Famer Harry “Hap” Holmes, a prominent figure in early professional hockey and an outstanding goaltender of his time. Previous winners or co-winners of the award include Gil Mayer (1951, ’53, ’54, ’55, ’56), Johnny Bower (1957, ’58), Marcel Paille (1961, ’62), Gerry Cheevers (1965), Gilles Villemure (1969, ’70), Pete Peeters (1979), Pelle Lindbergh (1981), Clint Malarchuk (1983), Vincent Riendeau (1987, ’88), Corey Hirsch (1993), Olaf Kolzig (1994), Byron Dafoe (1994), Mike Dunham (1995), Manny Legace (1996), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (1998), Martin Biron (1999), Cory Schneider (2009), Matt Murray (2015), Peter Budaj (2016), Casey DeSmith (2017), Garret Sparks (2018) and Calvin Pickard (2018).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 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. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway Wednesday.

Photo: Scott Thomas