2011-12 ECHL Goaltender of the Year Jeff Jakaitis has gotten off to a magnificent start in 2013-14, which continued on Saturday night. The 30-year old turned aside all 21 shots he faced, improving to 16-1-3 on the season, as the South Carolina Stingrays blanked the Wheeling Nailers, 3-0.
In the first period, the Stingrays opened the scoring, courtesy of a pair of shorthanded markers. At the 4:10 mark, Igor Gongalsky stole a pass on the far side of the Wheeling defensive zone, before connecting with Luke Greiner high in the slot. Greiner took a wrist shot from that location, sliding the puck into the back of the net. Later in the frame, South Carolina used the power play to add a second goal to the board. Ryan Grimshaw received a pass from Jeremy Price, and proceeded to power a one-timer into the top-left corner of the cage. Gongalsky also picked up an assist for his second point of the period.
After being outshot 17-4 during the first period, the Nailers produced a better result in the second, outshooting the Stingrays, 11-6. However, Wheeling was unable to cash in, as South Carolina carried its 2-0 advantage into the third.
The score remained that way until the dying seconds, when Peter Boyd used his speed to his advantage to get past the Wheeling defense, before tapping in an empty net goal for a 3-0 final.
Jeff Jakaitis improved his league-leading goals against average and save percentage, stopping all 21 shots he faced, earning the win for the Stingrays. Alex Westlund played well, making 26 saves on 28 shots for Wheeling, but suffered the loss.
The Nailers will return home on Tuesday night for a 6:00 game against the Reading Royals.