Penguins pair wins Hap Holmes Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Jeff Zatkoff and Brad Thiessen of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are the recipients of the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the 2012-13 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.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton surrendered a league-low 178 goals in 2012-13, finishing its regular season on Saturday with a record of 42-30-2-2 and 88 points, qualifying for the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 11th consecutive season. This is the second time in the last three seasons that the Penguins ranked first in the AHL in goals against.

Zatkoff posted a 26-20-0 record and five shutouts in 49 appearances for the Penguins, leading the AHL with a 1.93 goals-against average and compiling a .920 save percentage. Thiessen, who also won the Hap Holmes Award in 2010-11, was 16-12-2 with four shutouts, a 2.68 GAA and a .902 save percentage in 32 games.

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, 2007), Dany Sabourin (2006), Cory Schneider (2009), Cedrick Desjardins (2010) and Ben Scrivens (2012).

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 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.