SPRINGFIELD, MA –
Garret Sparks, the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month, was 5-0-1 in six starts during January, allowing just six goals on 177 shots for a 0.98 goals-against average, a .966 save percentage and two shutouts.
Sparks began the month by recording 22 saves in Toronto’s 5-2 win at Laval on Jan. 3. He stopped 33 shots in a 3-2 shootout win over Lehigh Valley on Jan. 5, then denied 26 of 27 attempts in a 4-1 victory at Charlotte on Jan. 12. After a 28-save effort in a win at Syracuse on Jan. 19, Sparks authored back-to-back shutouts for the first time in his AHL career, making 31 saves in a 1-0 shootout loss at Bridgeport on Jan. 21 and then 31 more as the Marlies defeated Rochester, 2-0, on Jan. 26. Sparks ended January having shut out opponents over his last 154:01 of play.
Sparks, 24, has appeared in 25 games for the Marlies this season and ranks first in the entire AHL in goals-against average (1.60), save percentage (.944) and shutouts (4, tied), while his 17-6-1 record puts him one off the lead in wins. The native of Elmhurst, Ill., has a record of 66-25-6 with a 2.13 GAA, a .928 save percentage and 13 shutouts in 103 career AHL appearances, all with Toronto. Sparks is in his fifth season in the Maple Leafs organization after being selected in the seventh round of the 2011 NHL Draft, and has appeared in 17 NHL games with the Leafs.