Sholl Earns Second Straight Shutout over Stingrays
North Charleston, SC - Just 24 hours after earning his first ECHL shutout, Tomas Sholl was at it again on Friday night at North Charleston Coliseum, stopping all 28 shots he faced to lead the Idaho Steelheads (37-20-7) to a 1-0 win over the South Carolina Stingrays (39-15-7).
Sholl, earning ECHL Goaltender of the Week honors last week, stopped all 60 shots fired his way in back-to-back shutouts and has not surrendered a goal against in 152:24 of play. Will Merchant scored for the Steelheads, who improved to 19-11-3 on the road this season.
Merchant broke through for the Steelheads at 2:49 of the third period, finding the rebound of an Eric Sweetman point shot and poking it through the legs of goaltender Jeff Jakaitis for his 15th goal of the season and the eventual game winner.
The Steelheads had an opportunity to expand that lead with 1:38 of 5-on-3 power play time during the third, but were not able to put another puck past Jakaitis. Former Stingray Steve McParland nearly scored against his former team when he cut across the front of the Stingray net in the third, but was stopped by a diving Jakaitis at the right post.
The Stingrays managed only five shots on goal in the final frame, but did come within inches of tying the game when a deflection by former Steelhead Travis Walsh went up over Sholl and rang the crossbar.
The Steelheads closed out the win without center Brady Brassart, who served the first game of a two-game suspension, and without defenseman Corbin Baldwin. Baldwin was called for an illegal head check in the first period on a neutral zone check on Patrick Gaul. Gaul was injured an did not return, while Baldwin received a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
The Steelheads killed off the major, helped in part by a Steve Whitney interference minor taken during the major power play for South Carolina.
Sholl is undefeated in 12 ECHL appearances with Adirondack and Idaho this year. He has stopped 114 of 117 shots faced as a Steelhead.
The win reduced Idaho's magic number to clinch a playoff spot to five points, either gained by Idaho or lost by the Tulsa Oilers.
The Steelheads return home for their final home stand of the season, opening with a three-game series against the Rapid City Rush beginning on Wednesday at CenturyLink Arena. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:10pm MT. The game is available on 1350AM KTIK and seen on Cable One and ECHLTV.
Goals: Merchant (15)
Tomas Sholl: 28 saves on 28 shots
Power Play: 0-for-6
Penalty Kill: 2-for-2
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Tomas Sholl IDH
2. Jeff Jakaitis SC
3. Will Merchant IDH
COORS LIGHT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Will Merchant: Game-winning goal, 5 shots, plus-1
PLAY OF THE GAME:
Tomas Sholl's work was impressive but the Steelheads still needed an answer for Jeff Jakaitis to get the win. The goal came early in the third period when Eric Sweetman's left point shot skipped in on goal, deflected by Alexander Dahl. Jakaitis made the initial save but couldn't corral the rebound. Will Merchant got to the loose puck, fighting off a check and squeezing a backhander through Jakaitis' pads for the only goal of the game.
Images from this story
Idaho Steelheads Goaltender Tomas Sholl makes a save vs. the South Carolina Stingrays
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ECHL Stories from March 16, 2018
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