Tokarski almost unbeatable in three games

AHL Player of the Week Dustin Tokarski (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson/Aerial Promotions)

AHL Player of the Week Dustin Tokarski (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson/Aerial Promotions)

Hamilton Bulldogs goaltender Dustin Tokarski has been selected the American Hockey League’s Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 24.

Tokarski stopped 98 of the 100 shots he faced in three starts last week (3-0-0, 0.67 goals-against average, .980 save percentage, one shutout), helping the Bulldogs pull into a tie for first place in the AHL’s North Division.

On Tuesday night, Tokarski made 30 saves in Hamilton’s 5-1 victory over the visiting Texas Stars (AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars). At the Bell Centre in Montreal on Friday, he turned aside 25 of 26 shots and was named the game’s first star as the Bulldogs defeated the Syracuse Crunch (AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning), 4-1. And in Saturday’s rematch with the Crunch back in Syracuse, Tokarski stymied his former teammates with 43 saves – the most by a goaltender in a shutout this season – to lead the Bulldogs to a 3-0 victory.

For the season, Tokarski (8-3-1) ranks second in the AHL in both goals-against average (1.91) and save percentage (.935), allowing two goals or fewer in 12 of his 14 appearances.

Tokarski has appeared in 208 career AHL games with the Norfolk Admirals, Crunch and Bulldogs over his five professional seasons, compiling a record of 112-75-12 with a 2.42 goal-against average, a .912 save percentage and 18 shutouts.

The 24-year-old native of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, won a Calder Cup Championship with Norfolk in 2012 and is 14-6 (1.67 goals-against average, .937 save percentage) in 20 career post-season contests. Originally drafted by Tampa Bay in 2008, Tokarski was acquired by the Montreal Canadiens in a trade with the Lightning on Feb. 14 this year and has made seven appearances in the National Hockey League.

The end of the week wasn’t as positive for Erik Nystrom. The Bulldogs released the forward from his professional try out contract.

In 17 games with Hamilton this season, Nystrom had five points (one goals, four assists) and four penalty minutes. The 20-year-old split last season between Sweden’s MODO of J20 SuperElit (junior) and Karlskrona HK of Allsvenskan (professional). In 22 regular season games with MODO, he posted 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) and 32 penalty minutes. In 24 regular season games with Karlskrona, the Stockholm native recorded 11 points (five goals, six assists) and four penalty minutes.

He was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the sixth round (154th overall) in the 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Hamilton’s next game is scheduled for Wednesday (Nov. 27) in Rochester to face the Americans (AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres). The Bulldogs will be back at Copps Coliseum two nights later when the Toronto Marlies visit for a 7:30 p.m. game.