Two games into the new season, it’s clear that Leland Irving is picking up right where he left off last year.
The Abbotsford Heat goaltender led the AHL in shutouts last season with eight, and he notched his first of the 2011-12 campaign on Saturday, turning aside 19 shots in a 1-0 road victory over the Lake Erie Monsters.
He got plenty of defensive help from his teammates, who snuffed all six Monsters power play opportunities while out-shooting the hosts 29-19.
Paul Byron supplied all the offence the Heat would require, potting a power-play goal at 3:31 of the first period, with Greg Nemisz and Clay Wilson picking up the assists.
The Heat leave Cleveland with two victories on opening weekend, and Irving’s numbers are off the charts. He’s the early-season league leader in goals-against average at a miniscule 0.50, to go with a save percentage of .976.
• The Heat now head back to Abbotsford to prepare for their first home games of the season. They host the Rockford IceHogs on Friday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.