Thiessen joins elite company

Aldergrove netminder named AHL's top goalie

A pair of Aldergrove boys — the Abbotsford Heat's Matt Keith (white) and goaltender Brad Thiessen search for the loose puck during an AHL game last month. On Monday

A pair of Aldergrove boys — the Abbotsford Heat's Matt Keith (white) and goaltender Brad Thiessen search for the loose puck during an AHL game last month. On Monday

Brad Thiessen’s name will soon be etched on the same trophy as the goaltender he idolized.

“You never think something like that is going to happen when you are growing up,” he said.

Thiessen was referring to being named the winner of the Aldege ‘Baz’ Bastion Memorial Award on Monday. It is presented to the American Hockey League’s most outstanding goaltender.

Felix Potvin won the award in 1992, prior to embarking on his 12-year NHL career.

“It is great to be able to match what he did on his way to the NHL,” Thiessen said.

“Anytime you are getting an award it is a surprise and a nice one,” he said. “It is recognition of the hard work I have put in over the year and the summer.”

It has been an outstanding season for the 25-year-old from Aldergrove who has been adding his name to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins record books.

In just his second professional season with the team, Thiessen is 34-7-1 and ranks first in the league with a franchise-record 34 wins, is second with a 1.93 goals against average and is ninth with a .922 save percentage. He is tied for the league lead with nine shutouts.

Earlier this season, his coach said that Thiessen showed up to training camp in great shape and that has helped launch his outstanding sophomore season.

“From the start of the year, he has been very consistent, just game after game,” said John Hynes. “He knows he can compete and play well.”

Thiessen has not lost back-to-back games this season. But there is no magic secret to his sensational season.

“Just trying to stay consistent, that is the biggest part of pro hockey,” he explained. “If you are able to bring the same effort game in and game out, it is going to put you in the best position.”

He was also quick to credit his team, which has run away with the AHL’s regular season title with 113 points and three games remaining. No other team has cracked the 100-point barrier.

“An award like this is a byproduct of the team we have,” he said.

Thiessen is looking forward to a lengthy post-season run.

He got into one game last season, but was then called up to Pittsburgh because of injury. By the time he returned, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was swept in their opening round series.

Prior to joining the Penguins organization, Thiessen spent three seasons with the Northeastern Huskies, where he set numerous school records. Before that, he played junior A with Penticton, Prince George and Merritt in the BCHL.

Other past winners of the award include: Jonathan Bernier (Los Angeles Kings), Cory Schneider (Vancouver Canucks), Michael Leighton (Philadelphia Flyers), Dwayne Roloson (Tampa Bay Lightning), Martin Biron (New York Rangers), Jason LaBarbera (Phoenix Coyotes) and Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres).