Michael Leighton breaks Johnny Bower’s AHL shutout record

Michael Leighton has broken Johnny Bower's 59-year-old AHL shutout record to move into first all-time. His 35-save shutout Saturday was his 46th.

Michael Leighton has broken Johnny Bower’s 59-year-old AHL shutout record.

The Rockford IceHogs goaltender made 35 saves Saturday night to beat the Lake Erie Monsters and make some history. With his 46th career AHL shutout, he passes Johnny Bower for first all-time — a record that’s stood since 1957.

“I want to be the best in whatever league I play in,” Leighton told the Associated Press on Feb. 4.

Bower played for years in the AHL before joining the Toronto Maple Leafs at age 33. He won three Cups in Toronto, winning two Vezina Trophies and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976. He’s now 91 years old.

Like Bower, Leighton is a journeyman goaltender. Over his 16-year pro career, he’s played with the Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes as well as three different stints with the Philadelphia Flyers. Add to that seven different AHL clubs.

“It’s just to show these young guys that, yeah I’m 34 years old and I’m still working as hard as anyone on the ice and I’m doing my job,” Leighton told the AP in February. “Hopefully these young guys see that and take what they see from me and put it in their own agenda and their own game plan and say, ‘If I want to be like him or I want to make it to the NHL, I need to work as hard as him and have the same attitude as him that he wants to get better and he’s still 34 years old.”’