After two straight home wins, goaltender Jeremy Swayman of Anchorage and the Boston Bruins slipped into elimination territory in the Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday night, when the host Carolina Hurricanes racked a deserved 5-1 win to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Swayman stopped 33 of 37 shots – the Canes bagged an empty-net strike. The telling blow came via frustrating friendly fire for Boston and splendid puck luck, and it furnished the Canes a 3-0 lead. During a chaotic sequence near Swayman’s crease, Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo smacked a clearing pass that ricocheted off the skate of teammate Jake DeBrusk and back over Swayman’s shoulder. Swayman tracked the puck at the last second and barely missed getting his right arm and stick on the puck as it tumbled over this right shoulder.
Swayman backstopped Boston to victory on home ice in Games 3 and 4, his first two NHL postseason starts.
In three games in the series, he is 2-1-0, with a 2.68 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.
Meanwhile, in the ECHL Kelly Cup playoffs, Wheeling rookie forward Cam Hausinger of Anchorage continued his goal binge. He scored twice in a 5-4 loss to Toledo, which seized a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 Central Division Finals. Hausinger owns 9-1-10 totals in nine games after scoring 21-22—43 totals in 64 regular-season games for the Nailers.
With that 9-1-10 scoring line, Hausinger is tied for the Cy Young. That’s a fictional award for the player with the biggest differential between goals and assists. Hausinger is plus-8 in Cy Young terms these playoffs. Utah defenseman Charle-Edouard D’Astous, is riding an insane heater, with 15 goals in just 11 playoff games. That leaves him just two goals shy of the league record for most goals in a single postseason. D’Astous is no fluke – he scored 26 goals in 52 regular-season games. With two assists against Rapid City on Tuesday, D’Astous is 15-7—22 in 11 games to tie Hausinger at plus-8 for the Cy.
Speaking of that Rapid City game, Rush forward Alec Butcher of Anchorage assisted on the game-winning strike 14 minutes into overtime, which delivered Rapid City a 6-5 win after it trailed 5-2 midway through the game. Butcher carried the puck into Utah’s zone on right wing and threaded a pass to Logan Nelson, who ended things and kept Rapid City’s season alive.
All Nelson managed among Rapid City’s four unanswered goals was a hat trick and primary assist. Butcher started the postseason without a point in four games, but now has four helpers in the last five games. Utah leads the series 3-1, with Game 5 Wednesday night in South Dakota. (Rapid City is coached by former Alaska Aces captain Scott Burt and also includes forward Tanner Schachle of Wasilla).
The other Hausinger in the Kelly Cup playoffs, Reading rookie winger Kenny, didn’t hit the scoresheet Tuesday, but his Reading Royals won 3-1 at Newfoundland to earn a 2-1 lead in the North Division Finals. He owns 3-1—4 totals in nine playoff games.
Monday night delivered the end of the line this season in the American Hockey League for goaltender Pheonix Copley of North Pole and his Hershey Bears.
Copley, one of just three goalies from Alaska to play in the NHL, and his crew fell painfully, 4-3 in overtime, at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the finale of a best-of-3, first-round series. That came after the Bears scored an extra-attacker, game-tying goal with 53 seconds left in regulation.
Copley stopped 42 of 46 Penguins shots. In the series, he went 1-2-0, with a 2.29 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. He’s been clutch in three AHL postseasons, going 9-7-0, 2.09, .935.