Brian Eklund of Pensacola picked up his 36th win of the season on March 28 at Texas and has moved into a tie for second place for most wins in a season by an ECHL goaltender. The ECHL record is held by Mark Michaud, who won 38 games for Hampton Roads in 1993-94. Eklund is tied with Kirk Daubenspeck (36 wins for South Carolina in 2002-03), Jan Lasak (36 wins for Hampton Roads in 1999-2000), Doug Bonner (36 wins for Louisiana in 1997-98) and Marc Delorme (36 wins for Louisiana in 1996-97).
Eklund is 36-17-7 with a goals against average of 3.03 and a save percentage of .921 while appearing in 60 of Pensacola’s 68 games. Pensacola hosts Texas on March 30 before playing at Louisiana on April 1, at Mississippi on April 2 and at Columbus on April 3.
Selected in the seventh round (226th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft and under NHL contract with the Lightning, Eklund leads the ECHL with 3,600 minutes which ranks him second behind Michaud, who played 3,723 minutes for Hampton Roads in 1993-94. The 6-5 and 210-pound Eklund leads the league with 2,114 saves and the season save record (1,831 by Michaud in 1993-94) on March 9.
Trevor Koenig of San Diego ranks second in the league with 34 wins while Scott Stirling, who won 32 games with Trenton as a rookie in 2000-01, of Atlantic City is third with 31 wins. Stirling is only the third goaltender in league history to win 30 games in more than one season. Nick Vitucci won 35 games with Toledo in 1994-95 and 32 games with Charlotte in 1995-96 while Jeff Salajko won 35 games with Columbus in 1996-97 and 30 games with Columbus in 1998-99.
Marc Magliarditi of Las Vegas, who won 32 games with Florida in 1998-99, and Greg Gardner of Mississippi, who won 32 games with Mississippi in 2002-03, are tied for fourth with 29 wins. With one more win, Gardner will join Vitucci as the only goaltenders in ECHL history to win 30 games in back-to-back seasons.Gladiators Tie Shutout Record
Gwinnett tied the ECHL record for consecutive shutouts with three shutouts in a row from March 21-26. The Gladiators, who held their opponents scoreless for 198:11 from March 20-27, tied the record set by Hampton Roads from March 23-29, 1997.
Hampton Roads holds the ECHL record for regular season scoreless streak with 203:05 from March 23-29, 1997. Hampton Roads continued its shutout sequence for the opening 32:58 in the first game of the 1997 Kelly Cup Playoffs for an ECHL record shutout sequence of 236:03 from March 23-April 2, 1997.
Gwinnett did not allow a goal in the final 4:35 of its 5-2 loss at Augusta on March 20 and following its three shutouts, the Gladiators did not allow a goal in the first 13:36 of their 3-1 loss at Louisiana on March 27. Trevor Prior made 31 saves in the Gladiators 5-0 win against Columbia on March 21 and stopped all 22 shots he faced in Gwinnett’s 5-0 win against Alaska on March 22 while Michael Garnett made 23 saves in an 8-0 win at Texas on March 26.
Prior improved to 13-6-4 while lowering his goals against average from 2.78 to 2.54 and raising his save percentage from .909 to .916. Reassigned from Chicago of the American Hockey League on March 26, Garnett is 20-10-2 with a goals against average of 2.12 and a save percentage of .927 in 32 games for the Gladiators. Selected in the third round (80th overall) by Atlanta in the 2001 National Hockey League Entry Draft and under NHL contract to Atlanta, Garnett ranks third in the league in goals against average and is tied for third with four shutouts.
Including the three shutouts by Gwinnett, the ECHL had eight shutouts last week and it has had 116 shutouts in 1,070 games. There has been a shutout every 9.2 games in 2003-04 compared to a shutout every 10.3 games in 2002-03 when the ECHL had a record 99 shutouts in 972 games.
Wheeling has an ECHL record 11 shutouts including three consecutive home shutouts February 20-28, tying the ECHL record held by Chesapeake, which had three home shutouts in a row from March 10-25, 1998. The Nailers set an ECHL record for longest home shutout sequence by not allowing a goal at home for 262:33 from January 31-March 7.