Former Peoria goaltender Curtis Sanford was named Defensive Player of the Week by the National Hockey League on Monday.
Sanford, who was the starting goaltender for the Northern Conference in the 2002 ECHL All-Star Game, was 2-0-0 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 1.00 and a save percentage of .971 for the St. Louis Blues.
Making his first NHL appearance since 2002-03, the 26-year-old stopped all 36 shots in a 2-0 win at Columbus on Wednesday, ending St. Louis’ losing streak at 11 games while recording his second NHL shutout in only his 10th career appearance. He then had 32 saves in a 3-2 win at Detroit on Saturday to improve to 2-1-0 with a goals-against average of 1.69 and a save percentage of .949 in 2005-06 and 7-2-0 with two shutouts in 11 career games.
In his first professional season in 2000-01, he was 15-7-4 with three shutouts, a save percentage of .925 and a league-record setting goals-against average of 1.91. He returned to Peoria in 2001-02 and was 13-8-2 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 2.45 and a save percentage of .906.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL and there is one head coach, 12 assistant coaches, 13 referees and five linesmen working in the NHL in 2005-06 who have ECHL experience.
There have been 20 players in 2005-06 that have made their first NHL appearance since playing in the ECHL: Evgeny Artyukhin (Tampa Bay on October 20), Adam Berkhoel (Atlanta on October 15), Derek Boogaard (Minnesota on October 5), Kevin Colley (New York Islanders on October 27), Brian Eklund (Tampa Bay on November 8), Michael Garnett (Atlanta on October 12), Trevor Gillies (Anaheim on November 6), Steven Goertzen (Columbus on October 21), Jeff Giuliano (Los Angeles on November 5), Timo Helbling (Tampa Bay on October 5), Colin Hemingway (St. Louis on October 19), Raitis Ivanans (Montreal on October 8), Greg Jacina (Florida on November 12), Zenon Konopka (Anaheim on October 30), Jay Leach (Boston on November 5), Mike Morrison (Edmonton on November 7), George Parros (Los Angeles on October 5), Nolan Schaefer (San Jose on October 26), Martin St. Pierre (Chicago on November 4), and Mark Streit (Montreal on October 8).