Memorable weekend around the ECHL
The ECHL Record Book received a makeover last week with several memorable moments around the league.
On Thursday, Stockton head coach Matt Thomas moved into fifth place on the league’s all-time wins list, as he picked up career win number 333 in the Thunder’s 4-1 win at Bakersfield. Thomas added another win on Sunday against Ontario, and has a career record of 334-221-80 in nine seasons with Atlantic City, Fresno and Stockton.
The all-time wins leader among coaches is 2012 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee John Marks, who won 491 games in 15 seasons with Charlotte, Greenville, Pensacola and Augusta. John Brophy, a 2009 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee, ranks second with 480 wins in 13 seasons with Hampton Roads and Wheeling. In third place is Jeff Pyle who recorded 446 wins in 12 seasons with Mobile and Gwinnett. Ontario head coach Jason Christie ranks fourth all-time with 388 wins in 10 seasons with the Reign, Peoria and Utah.
Friday night saw the Evansville IceMen and Florida Everblades wage a memorable, and lengthy, shootout. Evansville’s Andre Bouvet-Morrissette scored in the 21st round as the 42nd shooter to give the IceMen a 5-4 victory.
The 42 shooters ties the all-time ECHL record, originally set by Hampton Roads and Birmingham on Oct. 16, 1992. Birmingham won 7-6 when Brett Barnett, its 21st shooter, scored.
Both goaltenders were stellar in the shootout, with Evansville’s Paul Dainton stopping 19 of the 21 shots he faced, including each of the final 11 attempts, and Florida’s Pat Nagle turning aside 18 of 21, including 10 consecutive shots before Bouvet-Morrissette notched the winning goal.
Trenton’s Stephen Schultz entered the ECHL Record Book on Saturday, as he scored four power-play goals in the Titans’ 6-0 win against Reading. Schultz joins South Carolina’s Michael Dubuc (Feb. 7, 2009 vs. Florida), Cincinnati’s Barret Ehgoetz (Jan. 14, 2009 vs. Wheeling), Dayton’s Chanse Fitzpatrick (Nov. 3, 2007 vs. Trenton) and Columbus’ Matt Oates (March 8, 1996 vs. Erie) as players to score four power-play goals in one game. Schultz, who added another power-play goal on Sunday at Reading, has moved into the ECHL lead with 14 power-play goals this season.
South Carolina’s Ryan Zapolski became the fifth goaltender in ECHL history to post three consecutive shutouts on Saturday with 27 saves in the Stingrays’ 3-0 win against Greenville.
Zapolski began his streak on Feb. 17, making 15 saves in a 3-0 win at Orlando and followed that up with 32 saves in a 2-0 victory against Greenville on Friday. He joins Jeff Jakaitis (Gwinnett, 2011-12), Shane Connelly (South Carolina, 2009-10), Sebastien Laplante (Pee Dee, 2004-05), Andrew Allen (Trenton, 2002-03) and Darryl Paquette (Hampton Roads, 1996-97) as goaltenders to record three consecutive shutouts.
The 26-year-old has fashioned a shutout streak of 184:17, and is 51:46 away from the league record for longest shutout sequence of 236:03, set by Paquette in 1996-97.
Zapolski, who was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game, has seven shutouts this season, which is tied for the second-most in one season in ECHL history. He is just shutout away from tying the league’s single-season record of eight, set by Alaska’s Jean-Philippe Lamoureux in 2008-09.
Zapolski has posted four shutouts in his last six games, and leads the ECHL with a 1.69 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.