Penguins duo captures Hap Holmes Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Matt Murray and Jeff Zatkoff of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are the recipients of the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the 2014-15 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 in the regular season.

For the third season in a row, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton led the AHL in goals against, surrendering a league-low 163 goals in 2014-15 and finishing its regular season on Sunday with a record of 45-24-3-4 and 97 points, qualifying for the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 13th consecutive season.

Murray, the recipient of both the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award (outstanding goaltender) and the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award (outstanding rookie) in 2014-15, finished his first professional season with a record of 25-10-3 in 40 appearances, and led the AHL with a 1.58 goals-against average, a .941 save percentage and 12 shutouts.

Zatkoff, who also won a share of the Holmes Award in 2013, was 18-14-4 in 37 games for the Penguins this season. The seventh-year pro registered a 2.45 GAA, a .910 save percentage and three shutouts.

This is the fourth time in five seasons under head coach John Hynes, and the fifth time in 10 years overall, that the Penguins have ranked first in the AHL in goals against.

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), Olaf Kolzig (1994), Mike Dunham (1995), Manny Legace (1996), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (1998), Martin Biron (1999), Joey MacDonald (2003), Jason LaBarbera (2005, ’07), Cory Schneider (2009), Cedrick Desjardins (2010), Ben Scrivens (2012) and Jeff Deslauriers (2014).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 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 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway Wednesday.