Stingrays goalie Ryan Zapolski named to ECHL First Team

South Carolina Stingrays goalie Ryan Zapolski

The awards continue to roll in for South Carolina Stingrays goalie Ryan Zapolski.

One day after being selected to the ECHL All-Rookie team, Zapolski was named to the ECHL’s first team, joining five previous Stingrays to be so honored: goalie Todd Ford (2010), forward Travis Morin (2009), defenseman Chris Hynnes (1998), forward Ed Courtenay (1997) and forward Mike Ross (1997).

Zapolski, 26, is 26-11-2 this season and leads the ECHL with a 1.66 goals-against average, and a .942 save percentage and eight shutouts. Zapolski’s eight shutouts ties a single-season ECHL mark.

The Erie, Penn., native has allowed two goals or less in 33 of his 39 appearances this season.

Prior to turning pro, Zapolski skated for four seasons at Mercyhurst College appearing in 109 games, going 48-43-11 with eight shutouts, a 2.77 goals-against average and a save percentage of .920.

Zapolski was also named the MVP of the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game and is a three-time ECHL Goaltender of the Week selection and two-time ECHL Goaltender of the Month selection (December and February).

Zapolski is under strong consideration for the league’s MVP award.

Forwards Peter Boyd (two goals, one assist), Robby Dee (one goal, two assists) and Eric Alexander (three assists) each recorded three-point games to help the Stingrays (37-26-5-3) score a 5-1 victory over the host Greenville Road Warriors (36-26-2-6) on Thursday night.

The Stingrays close out their regular season today at 7 p.m. at Greenville and then begin the ECHL playoffs next week.

Boyd gave the Stingrays a 1-0 lead late in the first period slipping around the Road Warriors defense up the right wing and lifting a shot past the blocker of goaltender Connor Knapp (L, 22 saves on 27 shots). Alexander earned his first professional point with the primary assist. Defenseman Damon Kipp added the second assist.

Boyd made it a two-goal Stingrays advantage with his 22 goal of the season 3:41 into the second period from forwards Dee and Alexander. The Road Warriors jumped on the board at 6:19 with a tally from defenseman Sebastien Piche beating netminder Jeff Jakaitis (W, 26 saves on 27 shots) over the glove from the left-wing point. Dee made it 3-1 moments later with help from Boyd and Alexander at 17:48.

In the third period, Stingrays forward Chris Langkow extended his point streak to five games (three goals, three assists) with a power-play goal at 13:16 from defensemen Scooter Vaughan and Kipp. Forward Andrew Cherniwchan completed the game scoring at 18:38 from Dee. The Stingrays finished the contest 1-for-3 on the power play while the Road Warriors went 0-for-2.

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