Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Mike Murphy of the Belleville Bulls is the OHL Goaltender of the Year for the 2008-09 season. Murphy was also awarded the honour last season and is the first back-to-back winner of the award since it was introduced in 1988.
Murphy, a 20-year-old from Inverary, ON, posted a record of 40-9-2-2 with a league-best goals-against-average of 2.08 with a save percentage of .941 which was also the best mark in the league. He recorded five shutouts in 54 games.
Murphy limited the opposition to two or fewer goals in 36 games this season, including the final five games of the regular season where he recorded five wins, including one shutout to help the Bulls clinch first place in the Eastern Conference. He made 40 or more saves in eight games including a season-high 50 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa 67’s as first star of the game November 14. He won six straight games two different times this season including a streak from November 22 to December 11 and from February 11 to February 25.
“I definitely improved technically from last season” said Murphy. “My better numbers are a credit to our team, a phenomenal coaching staff, and our goalie coach Sebastien Farrese is always pushing me to be the best” added Murphy.
Murphy joined the Bulls as a fourth round pick in the 2005 OHL Priority Selection. He played for Team OHL at the 2008 ADT Canada Russia Challenge and represented the Bulls and the Eastern Conference as the starting goalie at the 2009 Subway OHL All-Star Classic in Windsor. He was named the ADT CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending November 2 and was named the OHL Goaltender of the Month for November, December, and March of this season. Murphy is a Carolina Hurricanes prospect selected in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
“Being the first back-to-back winner of the award says a lot about Mike” said Bulls head coach and general manager George Burnett. “It says a lot about his perseverance, about how hard he has worked, how determined he is, we have been happy to have him in Belleville” added Burnett.
The OHL Goaltender of the Year is awarded to the league's most outstanding goaltender as selected by OHL coaches and general managers. Teams were not permitted to vote for a goaltender from their own hockey club. Goaltenders received five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote and one point for a third place vote.
Murphy received 81 points in the voting process, followed by Thomas McCollum of the Brampton Battalion who received 44 points. Edward Pasquale of the Saginaw Spirit finished third with 19 points.
Past winners include Manny Legace (Niagara Falls 1992-93), Ray Emery (Sault Ste. Marie 2001-02), Adam Dennis (London 2005-06), and Steve Mason (London 2006-07). Jeff Fife won the award as a member of the Belleville Bulls in the 1989-90 season. Last season, Murphy won the award with a 36-7-3-1 record including three shutouts, posting a 2.24 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage.
Murphy will be formally presented with the award at the 2008-09 OHL Awards Ceremony taking place on Wednesday June 3, 2009, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)