Bulldogs playing in NHL make AHL all-star team

Hamilton Bulldogs’ forwards David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty along with goaltender Curtis Sanford have been named to the 2011 Western Conference American Hockey League All-Star team. Desharnais was designated a starter for the team.

AHL fans determined the starting lineups via on-line balloting at theahl.com, while a committee of the league’s coaches selected the remainder of the roster. The Bulldogs and host Hershey Bears each had an AHL-high three players selected for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic.

Desharnais, 24, is currently on recall to the parent National Hockey League Montreal Canadiens. The native of Quebec City began the season on a 13-game scoring streak for Hamilton, still the AHL’s longest run of the season, and put up a league-high 45 points (10 goals, 35 assists) in 35 games prior to being paged on New Year’s Eve.

Desharnais’ 45 points still rank second in the league while he also ranks fourth in the AHL in power-play points with 21. The 5-foot-7, 170-pound centre was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for December after recording 20 points (three goals, 17 assists) in 14 games during the month. Desharnais has played in three games with the Canadiens this season recording one assist.

Pacioretty, 22, is also on recall to the Canadiens. In 27 games with the Bulldogs this season, he has recorded 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists). Pacioretty was recalled to Montreal on Dec. 12 and has recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) in 12 games with the club. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound left winger was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for November after posting 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in 13 games during the month. The native of New Canaan, Connecticut was drafted by Montreal in the first round, 22nd overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Sanford, 31, has a record of 13-7-1 in 23 games with the ‘Dogs this season while ranking fifth in the AHL in goals-against-average with a 1.82 and ranking fourth in the league with a .935 save percentage. The native of Owen Sound is in his second season with Hamilton after posting a 23-11-3 record with a 2.13 goals-against-average and .916 save percentage with the ‘Dogs last year.

Sanford, along with netminder Cedrick Desjardins, won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the 2009-10 season. It is presented to a team’s goaltenders allowing the fewest goals in the regular season.

For full rosters of the 2011 Western and Eastern Conference AHL All-Star teams, or for more information, visit www.theahl.com. The 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross in Hershey will feature the top young talent in the AHL competing in the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, Jan. 30 (3 p.m. ET), and the AHL All-Star Game on Monday, Jan. 31 (7 p.m. ET). The events will be televised nationally in the United States and Canada.

The Bulldogs will host the Lake Erie Monsters on Wednesday, Jan. 12 in a 7 p.m. game at Copps Coliseum.