South Carolina Stingrays goalie Ryan Zapolski signed a professional tryout agreement with the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals on Monday.
Zapolski, who was named the ECHL’s MVP earlier this month, was called up to the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in December, but not see any action.
Zapolski is only one of two players -- Frederic Cloutier (Louisiana, 2001-02) – in ECHL history to win rookie of the year, goaltender of the year and MVP in the same season. He is the first rookie to win MVP honors since Cincinnati’s David Desharnais in 2007-08, and joins Cloutier and Scott Stirling (Atlantic City, 2003-04) as the only goaltenders to be named MVP. He was also named to the ECHL’s First Team.
The Erie, Pa., native led the ECHL this season with a 1.64 goals-against average, a .942 save percentage and eight shutouts, while finishing tied for second with 27 wins and fifth with 2,378 minutes played.
He set an ECHL single- season record for lowest goals-against average, while tying the mark for most shutouts in a season and tying the second-best save percentage in league history.
Zapolski also earned MVP honors at this year’s ECHL All-Star Game, stopping all 17 shots he faced in the second period of the 7-3 win against Colorado.
In 32 of his 38 appearances this season, Zapolski allowed two goals or less and was at his best down the stretch, going 12-3-2 over his last 17 games with five shutouts, a 1.22 goals-against average and a save percentage of .960.
Zapolski is the second Stingrays player in team history to be named ECHL Most Valuable Player. Forward Mike Ross won the award following a 110-point season (50 goals, 60 assists) in 1996-97.
The Stingrays were eliminated from the Kelly Cup playoffs by the Gwinnett Gladiators.