The South Carolina Stingrays and Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Spencer Carbery announced today that the team has signed goaltender Jeff Jakaitis. In keeping with club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
After joining the Stingrays in December of last season, Jakaitis, 30, earned an 8-5-4 record with a 2.34 goals-against average (GAA), .925 save percentage and one shutout in 17 appearances. During the 2011-12 campaign, the Rochester, Minnesota, native went 17-6-2, finished second in the ECHL with a 2.03 GAA and led the league with a .930 save percentage in 26 games with the Gwinnett Gladiators, earning him the ECHL Goaltender of the Year award. Jakaitis also led the ECHL with five shutouts and tied a league record with three consecutive shutouts from December 17-28, 2011 all against the Stingrays. Entering his seventh professional season, Jakaitis saw American Hockey League action with the Portland Pirates and Worcester Sharks, appearing in 10 total games from 2008-11.
"It (Stingrays) was a good fit for me last year coming off an injury and I've been trying for a couple years to get here to be close to family," mentioned Jakaitis. "I was really excited it worked well last year and I fell in love with the city and I've really enjoyed my summer here. I'm definitely happy to be re-signed." Click here to listen to the full interview.
"JJ gives us a proven veteran presence in net," Carbery said. "The goaltending position can be very unpredictable in the ECHL, which makes it a luxury to be able to add a guy that you know what you're going to get out of every night. His numbers speak for themselves over the past few seasons. He has the ability to raise his level of play even further this year, being over a year removed from his injury and having a full off-season of normal preparation. His work ethic, passion for the game, and positive community involvement are the exact qualities that we look for in players that are potentially going to represent this great organization."
Prior to turning pro, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound goaltender attended Lake Superior State University for three seasons picking up a 35-48-14 record, a 2.38 GAA and .923 save percentage in 100 games.
The Stingrays kick off their 21st season of hockey in the Lowcountry on Saturday, October 19 against the defending Kelly Cup Champion Reading Royals at 7:35 p.m. in Reading, Pennsylvania and celebrate Opening Night, Stingrays Alumni Game, Zooperstars! and 2013-14 schedule giveaway presented by Savage Law Firm at the North Charleston Coliseum on Saturday, October 26 against their in-state rivals, the Greenville Road Warriors, at 7:05 p.m.