Salak backstops way to league honor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Rochester Americans goaltender Alexander Salak has been named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 25, 2009. Salak made three starts in a 48-hour span over the weekend and won them all, stopping 88 of 91 shots for a 0.98 goals-against average and a .967 save percentage.

On Friday night, Salak turned aside 32 of 33 shots and was named the game’s first star in Rochester’s 2-1 victory at Albany. On Saturday, he finished with 22 saves as the Americans rallied for a 3-2 overtime win in Syracuse. And on Sunday evening, Salak was again selected as the number-one star of the game as he stopped all 34 Syracuse shots for his first career AHL shutout, a 3-0 decision over the Crunch.

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

Salak is now 5-0-0 with a 1.60 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage in six appearances for Rochester, helping the Amerks to a seven-game winning streak and an 8-1-1-0 record overall, good for first place in the North Division. The 22-year-old rookie is in his first season of North American pro hockey after signing with the Florida Panthers on May 29, 2009. A native of Strakonice, Czech Republic, Salak spent the previous two seasons playing with TPS Turku in Finland.

Other nominees for Reebok/AHL Player of the Week include Adirondack center Jon Matsumoto, Albany left wing Zach Boychuk, Binghamton left wing Josh Hennessy, Bridgeport left wing Justin DiBenedetto, Chicago right wing Spencer Machacek, Grand Rapids right wing Jeremy Williams, Hamilton left wing Tom Pyatt, Hartford right wing P.A. Parenteau, Hershey right wing Francois Bouchard, Lake Erie left wing Chris Durno, Lowell right wing Vladimir Zharkov, Manchester right wing Jonathan Bernier, Manitoba goaltender Cory Schneider, Milwaukee center Mike Santorelli, Norfolk right wing Brandon Bochenski, Peoria left wing Chris Porter, Portland right wing Mark Mancari, Rockford center Mark Cullen, San Antonio goaltender Josh Tordjman, Springfield left wing Chris Minard, Syracuse center Derek MacKenzie, Texas center Greg Rallo, Toronto left wing Jiri Tlusty, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton center Mark Letestu and Worcester defenseman Danny Groulx.

Also see: Past winners, AHL Player of the Week