TORONTO - Mike Murphy of the Belleville Bulls was named the Ontario Hockey League's goaltender of the year Monday, becoming the award's first back-to-back winner since its inception in 1988.
The 20-year-old from Inverary, Ont., was 40-9-2-2 with a goals-against-average of 2.08 and save percentage of .941, both tops in the league.
The Carolina Hurricanes prospect also recorded five shutouts in 54 games.
"I definitely improved technically from last season," Murphy said in a statement. "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."
Murphy limited his opponents to two or fewer goals 36 times this season, including the final five games of the regular season, all wins, as the Bulls clinched top spot in the Eastern Conference.
He stopped 40 or more shots eight times and made a season-high 50 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa 67's on Nov. 14.
"Being the first back-to-back winner of the award says a lot about Mike," said Bulls coach and GM George Burnett. "It says a lot about his perseverance, about how hard he has worked, how determined he is."
The award winner is selected by OHL coaches and general managers. Thomas McCollum of the Brampton Battalion and Edward Pasquale of the Saginaw Spirit finished behind Murphy in the voting.