Stingrays look for 20th straight win on Friday

Already with a piece of ECHL history, the South Carolina Stingrays look to become just the second team in North American professional hockey history to win 20 consecutive games when they host the Indy Fuel on Friday at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum.

South Carolina set the ECHL record with its 18th consecutive win on Saturday with a 6-0 win against Gwinnett, and then extended the streak to 19 on Sunday with a 4-3 victory against the Gladiators. The previous record for longest regular-season winning streak in ECHL history was 17 set by the Cincinnati Cyclones from Jan. 13-Feb. 29, 2008. The Cyclones went on to capture the Kelly Cup title that season. The Stingrays’ 19 straight wins are one more than the 18 in a row won by the Las Vegas Wranglers from March 10-April 22, 2007. Las Vegas won its final 13 regular-season games and added wins in its first five games in the 2007 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Only one team in professional hockey history has won more consecutive games than South Carolina. The American Hockey League’s Norfolk Admirals hold that distinction with a 28-game winning streak from Feb. 10-April 15, 2012. The Admirals won their final 28 games in the regular season and went on to capture the 2012 Calder Cup title.

The Stingrays began their streak with a 7-1 win at Greenville on Feb. 7. South Carolina had been just 1-7-2 in the 10 games leading up to the first win of the streak, and was 18-18-7 on the season, sitting in sixth place in the East Division and 10 points out of a playoff spot.

Thanks to the winning streak, the Stingrays have improved their overall record to 37-18-7, and with 81 points, they are just five points behind the division-leading Florida Everblades entering Wednesday’s action.

South Carolina has outscored its opponents 82-25 during the streak, and has won 18 of the 19 games in regulation. The Stingrays have allowed two goals or less 15 times during the streak, and have shutout their opponents five times.

During the course of the winning streak, South Carolina has won 11 consecutive road games, which is also an ECHL record.

Goaltender Jeff Jakaitis has recorded 11 of South Carolina’s 19 wins during the streak. His personal 11-game winning streak is tied for the third longest winning streak by a goaltender in one season in ECHL history. Jakaitis has not allowed a goal in an ECHL record 259:32, and he has posted shutouts in his last three starts, marking the second time in his career and the seventh time in league history that a goaltender has recorded shutouts in three consecutive games.

Jakaitis, who last year became just the second goaltender in league history to be named ECHL Goaltender of the Year two times in his career, leads the league this season with five shutouts, and his 21 career shutouts are second all-time, four behind Marc Magliarditi.

In addition to Friday’s game against Indy, the Stingrays host Cincinnati on Saturday before hitting the road for a seven-game road trip from March 25-April 4.