(Photo Credit: Peter Buehner)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19
University of Maine goaltender Jeremy Swayman was named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week. This past weekend Swayman had two stellar performances, leading Maine to two wins. The junior from Anchorage, Alaska, and his fellow Black Bears faced off against Hockey East rival UNH twice at Alfond Arena in Orono.
Friday night Swayman stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced and led Maine to a 3-1 victory over the Wildcats. New Hampshire was coming off a big win over 2nd-ranked Massachusetts and they came out of the gate quickly, going on the PP at 5:20 of the first. Maine managed to kill the penalty off, but seven seconds after they were all square, Junior forward Kohei Sato put UNH up 1-0.

In the 2nd period, UNH outshot Maine 12-9, but Swayman stopped all 12 shots and the Black Bears were able to take the lead with two goals of their own. More of the same in the 3rd period with UNH putting 12 more on Swayman without denting the twine, and Maine getting one goal on nine shots to close it out. All-in-all, Swayman stopped 28 consecutive shots after giving up the only score on the 3rd shot of the game.
Saturday night figured to be a spirited contest with the Wildcats loaded for Bear (pun intended) after their loss the night before. Instead, Maine came out and had the better of the early play, aided by an early power play. Once UNH killed the penalty, they seemed to get their skating legs under them. They ripped off the next nine shots in a row (including a PP) with Swayman stopping them all.

Maine had the better of the play in the 2nd period, outshooting UNH 14-9, but the Wildcats had the only goal on the PP with Angus Crookshank tipping a Kalle Eriksson shot past Swayman about halfway through the session. The score after two periods was UNH 1-0, with Swayman stopping 19 out of 20 shots.
Just like the night before, Swayman would allow only the one goal. In the 3rd period, he blanked the Wildcats, stopping all ten shots he faced, keeping the Black Bears in the game. At the 17:23 mark, UNH took a roughing penalty and with less than a minute to go, Maine’s Tim Doherty evened the game at 1-1. In OT, Swayman stopped both UNH shots allowing teammate Ryan Smith to bury the game-winner at 2:11 of the extra period.

For the weekend, Swayman faced 63 shots altogether, allowing just the two goals, for an absolutely ridiculous .968 save percentage. This raised his percentage for the season to .946 through the first 12 games of the season. Because of Swayman’s stellar play early this year, the Black Bears have gotten off to a surprising 7-3-2 start, putting them near the top of the Hockey East standings. After carrying the team to a weekend sweep of one of their league rivals, it was no surprise that he was honored with the Defensive Player of the Week award, his first of the season.

By the time this is published, Maine will have lost to Northeastern 5-2 on Friday evening. A rough outing for Swayman, allowing five goals on twenty-two shots. By all accounts, he actually played well but was as they say, “hung out to dry” on multiple occasions. I have no doubt that Swayman will bounce back tonight when the two teams meet again at Matthews arena. The game will be televised on NESN Plus at 7pm. Bruins fans should do themselves a favor and check out a prospect that will hopefully form quite the tandem in Boston with Kyle Keyser a few years from now.

Check out our new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 5 that we recorded on November 17th, 2019! Our BNG Prospects Pod can be found on the same RSS Feed as our original Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, which can be found on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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