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TO THE VICTORS GO THE SPOILS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Two Grand Rapids Griffins players captured American Hockey League awards on Monday for their play during March, as Jimmy Howard was named the Koho/AHL Goaltender of the Month, and left wing Donald MacLean was awarded the CCM/AHL Milestone of the Month.

Howard, 22, posted a perfect 11-0 record during March, with a 1.80 goals against average and a 0.936 save percentage. His overall 12-game winning streak shattered the previous team mark of eight (Mike Fountain, 2000-01) and propelled the Griffins to a franchise-record 11 straight victories. Howard’s final win of March, a 5-4 overtime decision at Manitoba on Friday, clinched the North Division title (Sam Pollock Trophy) and the Western Conference regular season championship (N.R. “Bud” Poile Trophy) for the Griffins, whose 53-17-1-4 record gives them a commanding seven-point lead in the race for the AHL’s regular season crown (Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy).

A top candidate for Rookie of the Year, Howard places among the league leaders with a Griffins-rookie-record 25 wins (T5th, 25-5-2), a 2.65 GAA (T12th) and a 0.907 save percentage (20th). He has led the team to points in 23 of his last 25 decisions (21-2-1-1).

This marks the second major award in two weeks for the former top pick of the Detroit Red Wings, as he was named the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week on March 20. Howard becomes only the second Griffins goalie to win the AHL’s monthly award, following Simon Lajeunesse’s honor in January 2002.

MacLean, 29, was recognized for reaching the 50-goal plateau on March 12 at Chicago, becoming the first AHL player in five seasons (Hartford’s Brad Smyth in 2000-01) and the 46th player in league history to reach the golden milestone. His team-record and league-high 53 goals tie for 17th in AHL history and are the most ever scored by a player in 19 seasons of pro hockey in Grand Rapids, dating back to 1950.

In addition to his lamp-lighting prowess, MacLean ranks among the AHL’s best with 82 points (7th), 21 power play goals (2nd), eight game-winners (2nd) and a plus-17 rating (T19th).

In recognition of their achievements, Howard and MacLean will each receive an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Griffins home game.


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