|Mark Mancari, 2012-13 Scoring Champion|
Prior to the start of the regular season home finale against Hamilton on Friday night, the Rochester Americans announced the winners of the club’s annual awards that are handed out at the end of each season.
The Most Valuable Player award, as voted on by the Amerks players, was presented to netminder David Leggio for the second consecutive year. The 28-year-old currently leads all AHL goaltenders in wins, saves and and minutes played, and in just his second year with the club has become the 10th winningest goaltender in Amerks history. This season, he has tied the AHL record for most shootout wins in a season (9) and is less than 100 saves from reaching the AHL’s all-time single-season saves record. Leggio also repeated as the team’s Most Popular Player as voted on by the Amerks Booster Club.
Zemgus Girgensons was voted by his teammates as the Most Improved Player. Skating in his first professional campaign, Girgensons began the season as one of just two 18-year-olds in the entire AHL. He has steadily progressed throughout the season despite missing time due to injury after being selected in the first round of the NHL Draft last summer.
The Rob Zabelny Award honors the Amerks Unsung Hero and is voted on by members of the Rochester media. This award recognizes a player that exhibits courage, enthusiasm and love for the game of hockey, and was presented to defenseman Alex Biega. Despite seeing several personnel changes on the team’s defensive corps throughout the season, Biega has perhaps been the most consistent performer along the blue line, providing plenty of leadership and grit on the back end.
Evan Rankin earned the McCulloch Trophy and the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year awards as the player who has contributed the most humanitarian service to the community over the course of the season. Rankin has spent much of his free time this season reading to kids at libraries and schools, skating with the Rochester Ice Cats Special Hockey team and participated in a Radiothon to benefit the Golisano Children’s Hospital back in February.
Phil Varone was the recipient of the Fairand/O’Neil Sportsmanship Award, which is selected by the Amerks Off-Ice Officials. Varone exemplified sportsmanship through his strong work ethic, competitive nature and positive attitude.
Mark Mancari earned the team’s scoring title with 61 points on 22 goals and 39 assists. The veteran has now scored at least 20 goals in seven straight seasons and has reached the 60-point mark on four separate occasions. He also took home the Game-Winning Goals award, leading the team with four.
The Rochester Americans Booster Club also presents several awards which are selected by its members. In addition to Leggio being named Most Popular, Brian Flynn captured Rookie of the Year honors as he recorded 16 goals and 16 assists with the Amerks before being promoted to the Buffalo Sabres.