BUFFALO — For about three months last season, David Leggio and Drew MacIntyre split time tending goal for the Rochester Americans, neither one impressing enough to earn regular duty.
Then, two starts the first weekend in January jumpstarted Leggio’s season. First, the Williamsville native stopped 42 shots during a win in Binghamton. He made 49 saves in a shootout loss in Hershey the next night, earning the Amerks’ No. 1 job.
Leggio played 35 more games the rest of the regular season, making 26 straight appearances at one point.
On Friday, the same day the Sabres brought back AHL scoring star Mark Mancari, they re-signed Leggio to a one-year deal. He should begin the season as the Amerks’ top goalie and the organization’s No. 3 netminder.
“The turnaround was the weekend we played Binghamton and Hershey,” Leggio told the Gazette by phone Friday. “I really wasn’t playing much. … From there, I think I just earned some confidence from coach (Ron) Rolston. It snowballed into more quality starts.
“Fortunately for me, I was able to put together some really good games consecutively and gain that confidence of coach Rolston.”
Leggio finished his second full AHL season 28-24-2 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 54 games.
The 27-year-old St. Joe’s graduate has always seized his opportunities at various level of professional hockey. He dazzled in the ECHL, won a championship in Finland’s top league and kept Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth on the bench during the 2011 postseason in Portland.
If Leggio keeps performing well, he could earn an NHL recall.
“If I get a recall, taking advantage of the opportunity is definitely a goal of mine,” Leggio said. “Not just getting called up and maybe getting a game. But if I get called up, I want show that I can play in the NHL.”