The American Hockey League announced Wednesday that Michael Leighton of the IceHogs has been selected as the AHL Goaltender of the Month for January.
In 10 appearances during a history-making month, Leighton was 8-0-2 with a 1.22 goals-against average, a .954 save percentage and three shutouts as Rockford moved into first place in the Central Division.
Leighton allowed two goals or fewer in nine of his 10 outings, including a 33-save performance in a 3-1 win on Jan. 10 at Iowa, and the three shutouts in January allowed him to tie Hockey Hall of Famer Johnny Bower for the most shutouts (45) in the 80-year history of the American Hockey League.
Leighton made 23 saves in blanking Stockton on Jan. 16 and turned aside 28 shots in a 1-0 win over Iowa on Jan. 23 before the record-tying 20-save effort against Chicago on Jan. 29. Leighton is unbeaten over his last nine games at home, setting a team AHL-era record.
Leighton, who appeared in his fourth career AHL All-Star Classic earlier this week, has just one regulation loss in his last 20 decisions (15-1-4) and is 23-4-5 in 33 games for Rockford this season, ranking second in the league in wins, third in goals-against average (2.04), third in save percentage (.931), second in minutes played (1,910) and third in saves (876).
The 15th-year pro from Petrolia, Ont., ranks 10th in league history in victories (216-161-38 in 429 games) in addition to being tied for first in shutouts. His four All-Star appearances tie Jean-Francios Labbe, who was elected into the AHL Hall of Fame this year, for most by a goaltender in the last 20 years.
In recognition of his achievement, Leighton will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming IceHogs home game.