Meet Jeff Jakaitis, the Holder of the ECHL Shutout Streak


If you follow minor league hockey, chances are you know who Jeff Jakaitis is by now. He broke the ECHL shutout record this March when he played 319 minutes of shutout hockey for his South Carolina Stingrays. We caught up with the goaltender to discuss his stellar season, the Stingrays playoff push, and life in the ECHL.

Marisa Ingemi:: Can you describe how it felt during the duration of your shutout streak?

Jeff jakaitis: To be honest I didn’t think a lot about it until maybe after fourth game against Indy. There was a lot of focus on how the team was playing and the winning streak that we were on so it wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. I try to approach every game with the same focus and effort no matter who the opponent is or what the circumstances may be so really it didn’t feel all that different from any other game or games that I’ve played.

Ingemi: The Stingrays are fighting for a playoff spot thanks to a 23 game winning streak. What kind of an experience was that run?

Jakaitis: The season leading up to the start of the winning streak had been a bit of a rollercoaster as far as wins and losses but I think the team always believed in each other and knew if we kept good habits and focused on our game we would have success. It obviously was a lot of fun being a part of the winning streak. I think when you can get on a little run it’s breeds confidence and we had a lot of guys step up on different nights to contribute to the success and we really had a lot of fun with it.

Ingemi: During your shutout streak, did you have any idea that you were close to breaking the all time pro hockey shutout streak?

Jakaitis: I didn’t really know how close I was until the game against Cincinnati. I knew I was near the ECHL record leading up to that from past experience but I try not to think about things like that. I find it only creates distractions. If I can eliminate those distractions and focus only on the next shot things seem to work out.

Ingemi: You’ve clinched a playoff spot in the east division; your likely opponent is Reading. What do you guys need to do as a team to have a deep playoff run?

Jakaitis: Playoff hockey is obviously very tough and I think the most important thing for us to focus on is playing our game and really playing within the structure that we have in place. The staff does a great job of preparing us for each opponent and it’s up to us to execute.

Ingemi: You are on pace for the lowest goals against average in your career. What has clicked this season?

Jakaitis: I really believe that a goalies numbers are a reflection of the entire team and I’ve been lucky to play for some very good teams throughout my career. We’ve done a great job of limiting chances against all season and that really translates into my numbers.

Ingemi: After winning the goalie of the year award last season, your second in your ECHL career, you’ve accomplished a lot in the ECHL. Is a championship the next goal?

Jakaitis: Definitely, a championship has always been the goal. Individual awards are nice but what I really enjoy about hockey is being in the room and around the guys and winning a championship together is the ultimate goal. There’s only one team in each league that can win each year and being that team is I’m sure very special.

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