Pirates’ Konopka gets Player of the Week nod

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Portland Pirates center Zenon Konopka has been named the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending November 12, 2006.

Konopka led all players with six assists and eight points last week while posting a plus-6 rating in three games, helping the Pirates retain a share of first place in the Atlantic Division.

Konopka started the week by scoring a goal and two assists in Portland’s 4-0 win at Springfield on Friday night. He followed that up by registering three assists in the Pirates’ 6-2 win over visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday. Playing in his third game in as many days, Konopka would record his third straight multiple-point game, tallying two points (1g, 1a) in a 4-2 loss to Springfield on Sunday.

In recognition of his achievement, Konopka will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Pirates home game.

The Niagara Falls, Ont., native is tied for third in the American Hockey League with 15 assists and tied for sixth with 19 points in 15 games played this season. His plus-11 rating for the year is also tied for fifth in the league. In 2005-06, Konopka scored 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in 34 regular-season games and 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 19 playoff games with Portland, leading the Pirates to within one win of the Calder Cup Finals. He also made his National Hockey League debut with Anaheim, scoring four goals and adding three assists in 23 games. In 171 career AHL games, the 25-year-old Konopka has registered 46 goals and 75 assists for 121 points, along with 495 penalty minutes.

Other nominees for CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week include Albany center Keith Aucoin, Bridgeport left wing Jeff Tambellini, Chicago left wing Brett Sterling, Hamilton goaltender Jaroslav Halak, Hartford right wing Ryan Callahan, Hershey center Eric Fehr, Houston goaltender Josh Harding, Lowell center Chris Minard, Manchester center Gabe Gauthier, Norfolk right wing Brandon Bochenski, Omaha center Dustin Boyd, Peoria goaltender Marek Schwarz, Philadelphia center Mark Cullen, Providence right wing Martins Karsums, Rochester left wing Clarke MacArthur, San Antonio center Jakub Koreis, Syracuse center Ben Simon, Toronto right wing Brett Engelhardt, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Jonathan Filewich and Worcester right wing Grant Stevenson.

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