Jeff Jakaitis (via South Carolina Stingrays)
ECHL goaltender Jeff Jakaitis, who plays for the South Carolina Stingrays, is on the cusp of setting the modern day professional record for the longest shutout streak. With a 4-0 victory over the Indianapolis Fuel Friday evening, Jakaitis stretched his shutout streak to 319:32, the longest mark in minor professional history.
Jeff Jakaitis of the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays -- the affiliate of the Washington Capitals -- has already helped his team break the league record for consecutive victories, but he himself is on his way to accomplishing something much greater.
In Friday night's game, Jakaitis stopped 35 shots en route to South Carolina's 20th straight victory and his fourth consecutive shutout, both ECHL records. By turning aside every shot he faced, Jakaitis has now posted 319:32 consecutive minutes of shutout hockey, only 12:29 fewer than the modern day professional hockey record set by Brian Boucher in 2003-04.
By blanking the Indianapolis Fuel Friday night, Jakaitis also set the minor professional record, surpassing the mark set by Matt Murray of the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on March 8 at 304:11.
Jakaitis, 31, hasn't allowed a goal since the 3:01 mark of the first period of a March 6 contest against the Gwinnett Gladiators, and is on the cusp of breaking even more records.
Friday's win was Jakaitis' 12th in a row, putting him into a tie with Cory Cadden who won 12 straight with the Knoxville Cherokees in 1993-94. With another win he will break the ECHL record for consecutive wins, which is currently held by Daniel Berthiaume who won 13 games in a row as a member of the Roanoke Express in 1994-95.
The blank slate was also Jakaitis' 22nd career ECHL shutout, which puts him just three back of the league record held by Marc Magliarditi, who spent 10 seasons in the ECHL with the Columbus Chill, Florida Everblades, Louisiana IceGators, Richmond Renegades and Las Vegas Rangles.
Jakaitis is in just his sixth season in the ECHL, previously spending time with the Columbus Inferno, Charlotte Checkers, Gwinnett Gladiators before landing with the Stingrays.
If Jakaitis can keep posting shutouts, there's no telling what he could accomplish. Maybe, in the most incredible feat of them all, he could conquer hockey's all-time shutout record, held by Alex Connell of the Ottawa Senators and set in 1927-28. Connell posted 460:49 of shutout hockey.
It's possible Jakaitis will play the second half of the back-to-back the Stingrays have this weekend when they play the Cincinnati Cyclones Saturday evening. If he doesn't, he will likely get his shot to break the modern day record Sunday when the Stingrays take on the Cyclones again on Wednesday night.