South Carolina Stingrays goaltender Jeff Jakaitis was chasing down the modern day professional shutout record heading into Saturday’s contest against the Cincinnati Cyclones, but he will have to settle for minor professional’s all-time mark.
The Cyclones’ Steven Hodges scored on Jakaitis, who came into Saturday’s contest with a streak of 319:32 of consecutive shutout hockey, little more than two minutes into Saturday’s game. His final shutout mark stands at 321:46 and breaks the minor professional record set earlier this season by AHL netminder Matt Murray.
Even though Jakaitis didn’t quite reach the pro record – 332:01 set by Brian Boucher when he was a member of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2003-04 – but he did earn himself another major ECHL mark: he’s now tied for the most consecutive wins by a goaltender at 13. His four shutouts in a row coming into Saturday night were also an ECHL record.
Jakaitis’ 13th straight win came in shootout fashion, as the Stingrays, who themselves have now won 21 straight games, toppled the Cyclones in the skills competition. The record Jakaitis tied is a 20-year-old mark set by Roanoake Express goaltender Daniel Berthiaume in 1994-95.
At 31, Jakaitis has been a career minor-league goaltender, making only brief stops in the AHL throughout his eight-year professional career. Jakaitis played three seasons with NCAA’s Lake Superior State University before making the jump the professional game. Since leaving the NCAA, Jakaitis has played in Columbia (S.C.), Charlotte, Portland (Maine), Italy, Dayton, Worcester, Gwinnett, Providence and, now, South Carolina again with the Stingrays.
Jakaitis will likely get his shot at the record, and South Carolina their shot at extending their ECHL record 21-game winning streak, on Wednesday when the Stingrays take on the Cyclones in the second half of a home-and-home.