NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Brad Phillips made 39 saves for his first pro shutout and the Gwinnett Gladiators trounced the top team in the ECHL, the South Carolina Stingrays, 4-0 on Friday night at North Charleston Coliseum.
With Phillips holding down the fort between the pipes, the offense erupted against one of the top goaltenders in the league.
Evan Bloodoff scored twice as Gwinnett won for the fourth time in its last six games and reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Month Jeff Jakaitis suffered his first regulation loss in 13 starts.
Gwinnett (11-19-0-2) outshot the Stingrays (23-6-1-2) in the opening period, but neither team could find the back of the net.
That was certainly not the case in the second period.
Jakaitis hadn’t allowed more than two goals in 12 straight starts, but the Gladiators solved him three times in the span of 20 minutes despite being outshot 18-7 in the period.
Brenden Walker opened the scoring nearly three minutes into the period, firing a shot through traffic from the point past Jakaitis. Josh Currie andBrett Lyon helped set it up.
A little under two minutes later, Gwinnett struck again right off a faceoff. Bobby Hughes won the draw to Maxime Legault, who immediately fired a low wrist shot through Jakaitis’ legs for a 2-0 Gladiators lead.
Bloodoff made it a 3-0 game at 19:03, deflecting a Jonathan Narbonne point shot past the Rays goaltender.
The period also feature two spirited bouts, with Gwinnett’s Dirk Southern battling Ryan Grimshaw and Lyon getting the best of South Carolina’s Igor Gongalsky later in the period.
Bloodoff added a goal on the power play in the third at 11:45. Southern took a feed from Currie and drove hard to the net front. Denied twice by Jakaitis, Bloodoff was there to tuck the third rebound in. The goal was original waved off by referee Kenny Anderson, but after consulting the goal judge, he changed the ruling. It was Bloodoff’s team-leading 12th goal of the season.
The loss is just South Carolina’s fourth in its past 17 games, with three of those defeats coming against Gwinnett.
Gwinnett is next in action tonight at 7:05 p.m. at the Arena at Gwinnett Center against the Florida Everblades.