South Carolina Stingrays goalie Phillip Grubauer put on a show for his boyhood idol.
Grubauer stopped all 26 shots he faced to record his first professional shutout and lead the Stingrays to a 1-0 victory over Toledo on Saturday night before a crowd of 2,937 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Stingrays improved to 7-3-0 (14 points) and remained in first place in the ECHL's South Division. The Walleye fell to 1-5-0 (2 points).
Growing up in Germany, there was only one goalie who Grubauer followed closely, and that was fellow countryman Olaf Kolzig, who for years played in net for the Washington Capitals. Kolzig now serves as a goalie coach for the Capitals and was in attendance, watching the young Washington prospect play one of the best game of his young professional career.
"There was only one German goalie in the NHL and it was Ollie," said Grubauer, who improved to 5-0. "He's the one guy that all of us looked up to growing up. So to have him as my goalie coach now is unbelievable. I'd heard he might be here, but I wasn't sure."
Having Kolzig watching from the stands didn't add any pressure, Grubauer said.
"I try to treat every game the same, no matter who's here or what the situation is," Grubauer said. "If it's a regular season game or a playoff game, it's still the same. Having Ollie here doesn't matter -- I want to be my best every night."
While the defense in front of Grubauer was solid, the rookie still had to come up with a couple of big saves, especially in the third period. "Phillip is a quality goalie," said South Carolina coach Spencer Carbery. "His skills are elite for our level, and it scares me to say that a little bit, but it's a fact."
Carbery said the Stingrays' effort was in stark contrast to Friday's 1-0 loss to Florida.
"I was disappointed with Friday night's loss to Florida," Carbery said. "Our compete level wasn't where it needed to be. It was totally opposite tonight. We played a complete 60-minute effort. We were smart with the puck and we battled pretty hard. We can't find the back of the net right now, and you're going to go through spurts of that during a season. It was nice to see us being responsible defensively. It was a well-rounded game."
The Stingrays' only goal came from Zach Tarkir off a beautiful pass from Anthony Maiani in the second period.
"Just a great pass from Anthony," Tarkir said. "I was trailing on the play and I wasn't sure he saw me, but he found me and I was able to score."
--The Stingrays signed Greg Stewart. Stewart played 26 games in the NHL for the Montreal Canadians from 2007-10.
--Stingrays captain Matt Scherer is out at least a month with a broken wrist he suffered Wednesday night against Florida.
--Stingrays forward Billy Ryan is out at least six weeks with a broken jaw he suffered Wednesday night against Florida.
--Chris Higgins (hand) missed the game with an injury.
--Rookie defenseman Nick Tabisz was a healthy scratch.
First Period: No goals. Penalties: Harvey, T (unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:31; McEwan, SC (unsportsmanlike conduct, slashing), 4;31; Kroll, SC (high sticking), 19:07.
Second Period: 1. SC, Tarkir 2 (Maiani), 11:33. Penalties: Fletcher, T (charging), 7:46; flick, T (slashing), 7:46; Flick, T (fighting), 10:50; Baier, SC (fighting), 10;50; Flick, T (unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:41; Stevenson, SC (unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:41; Rauch, T (tripping), 18:41.
Third Period: No goals. Penalties: Stewart, SC (holding), 2:54.
Shots on Goal: Stingrays 14-10-11-35; Toledo: 6-13-7-26. Penalties: Stingrays 7-52; Toledo 6-15. Power Play: Stingrays 0 for 3; Toledo 0 for 4. Goalies: Stingrays - Phillip Grubauer (5-0-0) 26 shots, 26 saves. Toledo - Thomas McCollum (1-3-0) 35 shots, 34 saves. Att: 2,937.
Reading Royals at South Carolina Stingrays
When: Today, 4 p.m.
Where: North Charleston Coliseum
Records: Reading (4-3-1, 9 points); Stingrays (7-3-0, 14 points)