Atherton Named ECHL Player of the Week

( release)

Johnstown Chiefs rookie defenseman P.J. Atherton is the In Glas Co ECHL Player of the Week for Dec. 25-31, 2006.

The 24-year-old helped the Chiefs close out 2006 with back-to-back wins scoring seven points (2g-5a) in three games. In a 7-1 win at Wheeling on Dec. 30, Atherton scored the game-winning goal and set a career high with four points including his third three-assist game of the season. He had two assists, including on the game-winning goal, in a 5-2 win against Toledo on Dec. 31 for his fifth multiple-point game and fourth multiple-assist game of the year.

Selected in the sixth round (170th overall) by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and under contract to the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League, the 6-foot-2 and 205-pound Atherton is tied for the team lead with two game-winning goals and is third with 17 assists and fourth with 21 points in 28 games. The former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher is tied for second among ECHL defensemen in game-winning goals and is seventh in scoring while among league rookies he is tied for third in assists and is tied for fourth in game-winning goals.