Goaltenders stepped up over the weekend as the ECHL had a record nine shutouts by nine different goaltenders in three days with three on Friday, three on Saturday and three on Sunday. There have been 19 shutouts in the ECHL in 2003-04 by 19 different goaltenders. The previous high for shutouts in a three-day period was seven which happened twice in 2002-03, first on January 16-18 and again on February 5-7.
Idaho picked up back-to-back home shutouts against Cincinnati as Dan Ellis made 33 saves in Friday’s 3-0 win and Blair Allison stopped 33 shots in Saturday’s 1-0 win. It was the first professional shutout for Ellis, who was selected in the second round (60th overall) by Dallas in the 2000 National Hockey League Entry Draft. It was the first shutout of the season and the 15th of his professional career for Allison, who leads the ECHL with a 1.20 goals against average and ranks second with a .952 save percentage.
Alaska’s Lance Mayes recorded a shutout in his first professional start making 33 saves in a 4-0 win at Long Beach on Friday while South Carolina’s David Brumby made 19 saves in only his second start of the season, a 3-0 win against Columbus on Friday.
Reading’s Cody Rudkowsky recorded his sixth career ECHL shutout and his 10th professional shutout stopping 44 shots in a 5-0 win at Peoria on Saturday. Rudkowsky was 2-0 against Peoria while improving his save percentage to a league-leading .964 and lowering his goals against average to 1.23, the second lowest in the ECHL. Johnstown’s Arturs Irbe, who has 33 shutouts in the NHL, picked up his first ECHL shutout on Saturday making 29 saves in a 3-0 win at Trenton.
Atlantic City’s Scott Stirling recorded his 10th ECHL shutout on Sunday stopping 25 shots in a 5-0 win against Johnstown. In 2000-01 with Trenton, Stirling tied for the league lead with five shutouts and was named Goaltender of the Year, Rookie of the Year and First-Team All-ECHL.
Louisiana’s Derek Gustafson made 25 saves in a 2-0 win against Columbus on Sunday for his first shutout of the season and the 10th of his professional career. Bakersfield’s Peter Hirsch picked up his first professional shutout in North America making 26 saves in a 1-0 win against Florida. The shutout completed a weekend that saw Hirsch go 2-0-0 while lowering his goals against average from 2.95 to 2.64 and raising his save percentage from .886 to .902.
In the first 150 games of 2003-04 there has been a shutout every 7.9 games compared to a shutout every 9.8 games in 2002-03 and a shutout every 11.4 games in 2001-02.