Rays ink Jakaitis

Stingrays' Jeff Jakaitis blocks the shot of Gwinnett's Evan Bloodoff as Damon Kipp defends during the fourth game of the series Friday, April 12, 2013 at the North Charleston Coliseum. (Paul Zoeller/postandcourier.com)

It has been the philosophy of South Carolina Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery to build a team from the net out.

With that in mind, the Stingrays re-signed former ECHL Goalie of the Year Jeff Jakaitis for the upcoming season.

After joining the Stingrays in December of last season, Jakaitis, 30, earned an 8-5-4 record with a 2.34 goals-against average (GAA), .925 save percentage and one shutout in 17 appearances. During the 2011-12 campaign, the Rochester, Minnesota, native went 17-6-2, finished second in the ECHL with a 2.03 GAA and led the league with a .930 save percentage in 26 games with the Gwinnett Gladiators, earning him the ECHL Goaltender of the Year award.

“It (Stingrays) was a good fit for me last year coming off an injury and I’ve been trying for a couple years to get here to be close to family,” Jakaitis said. “I was really excited it worked well last year and I fell in love with the city and I’ve really enjoyed my summer here. I’m definitely happy to be re-signed.”

Jakaitis also led the ECHL with five shutouts and tied a league record with three consecutive shutouts. Ironically, the shutouts came against the Stingrays during that stretch in December 2011. Entering his seventh professional season, Jakaitis saw American Hockey League action with the Portland Pirates and Worcester Sharks, appearing in 10 total games from 2008-11.

“Jeff gives us a proven veteran presence in net,” Carbery said. “The goaltending position can be very unpredictable in the ECHL, which makes it a luxury to be able to add a guy that you know what you’re going to get out of every night. His numbers speak for themselves over the past few seasons. He has the ability to raise his level of play even further this year, being over a year removed from his injury and having a full off-season of normal preparation.”

Prior to turning pro, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound goaltender attended Lake Superior State University for three seasons picking up a 35-48-14 record, a 2.38 GAA and .923 save percentage in 100 games.