Jakaitis named ECHL Goalie of the Year

  • Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 3:02 p.m., Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 5:46 p.m.
Stingrays' Jeff Jakaitis was named the ECHL Goalie of the Year for the second time in his career on Thursday. Paul Zoeller/Staff Buy this photo

South Carolina Stingrays goalie Jeff Jakaitis was named the ECHL Goalie of the Year for the second time in his career, the league announced on Thursday.

Jakaitis, who won the award during the 2011-12 season with the Gwinnett Gladiators, becomes only the second goalie in ECHL history - joining Scott Stirling - as the only two-time winner of the award. This also marks the second straight season a South Carolina goalie has won the award and the third time in franchise history. Ryan Zapolski captured the honor last season and Todd Ford won it during the 2009-10 season.

Jakaitis finished the regular season third in the ECHL with 24 wins and .924 save percentage, fifth with a 2.16 goals-against average and tied for sixth with three shutouts. The Rochester, Minn., native compiled a 24-12-1-2 record in 40 games and was named the ECHL Goaltender of the Month in October and December.

"Jeff is very deserving of the award and you can see the kind of respect he gets from coaches around the league," said Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery. "He played at an extremely high level all season, and in the middle of the season when we had injuries and call-ups, Jeff probably won a few games for us that maybe we shouldn't have. When we would have a breakdown, Jeff always seemed to be there to bail us out."

Jakaitis, who was named to the All-ECHL First Team last week, allowed two goals or less in 28 of his 40 appearances this season.

Jakaitis, 30, had season-ending knee surgery last week and will not play in the Kelly Cup playoffs.

"I feel terrible for Jeff on so many levels because he desperately wants to make a long playoff run and win a championship," Carbery said. "He's the ultimate team guy and to miss the playoffs this season I know is very painful for him."

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