Michael Bullion

The late-season resurgences of a couple of Anchorage dudes, goaltender Michael Bullion and forward Alec Butcher, continued over the weekend in the ECHL.

Bullion reinforced his resurgence with the Savannah Ghost Pirates by delivering his second career shutout, and first this season, in a 1-0 shootout win at Jacksonville.

Bullion stopped 38 shots in regulation and overtime, surrendered a shootout goal on Jacksonville’s first bid, then snuffed eight straight shooters as Savannah won the nine-round shootout, 2-1. Little wonder he was named first star of the game.

Bullion on Sunday made his third start in three days and won another shootout. He stopped 33 of 37 shots, and two of three shootout bids, in a 5-4 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

Bullion started the season with the Norfolk Admirals. Things did not go well – he went 3-11-2 with a 4.08 goals-against average and .877 save percentage. Part of the problem was things have not gone well for Norfolk all season – the Admirals (15-39-4) sit in distant last place on the 28-team circuit.

Norfolk released Bullion on Feb. 2. He dropped down to the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Macon Mayhem, going 2-1-0, 2.54 and .925 before he was loaned to Savannah on Feb. 14.

Since joining the Ghost Pirates, the rookie in eight appearances has gone 4-2-0, 2.61, .926. That run seems more in line with what he showed late last season in Norfolk after turning pro following a Canadian college career at Ontario Tech. Bullion in nine appearances for the Admirals last season went 3-3-1, 2.67 and .912, with one shutout. Technically, he remains an ECHL rookie this season.

Bullion appears likely to continue to get regular work in Savannah’s crease. That’s because the Vegas Golden Knights’ system is plagued by goalie injuries, which is why rookie Isaiah Saville of Anchorage and rookie goalie Jordan Papirny were recently promoted to Henderson of the American Hockey League from Savannah.

Alec Butcher

Meanwhile, Butcher continues to make an impact with the Reading Royals.

The former UAA skater scored a goal Friday in a 6-1 win at Newfoundland, then generated two assists, including one on that game-winning dagger, in a 5-4 shootout victory at Newfoundland on Saturday. All that gave Butcher 6-6—12 totals in his last 12 games.

Butcher was held off the scoresheet in Reading’s 5-4 overtime loss at Newfoundland on Sunday, but Growlers rookie center Nolan Walker of Anchorage had an assist. Butcher owns 15-19—34 totals in 57 games and Walker has generated 12-19—31 totals in 54 games.

Also Saturday, winger Cayden Cahill of Anchorage made his ECHL debut after being summoned to the Toledo Walleye from the SPHL’s league-leading Peoria Rivermen. Cahill, who turned pro with Peoria late last season and continued there this season, fired one shot on goal and was plus-1 – he was on the ice for the game-winning goal – in 2-1 win over Indy.

Short promotion for Cahill. Toledo released him Sunday and he likely will return to the Rivermen, though he couldn’t rejoin them in time to dress for a Sunday afternoon game.

Saville, who began his pro career in Henderson last season after signing with Vegas following his junior year at Omaha, has been busy lately – three starts in a four-day span.

The run started rocky on Wednesday with 26 saves in a 6-3 road loss to Coachella Valley. Saville rebounded with 31 saves in a 2-0 loss at San Diego on Friday and stopped 25 of 28 shots in a 4-2 loss at San Diego on Saturday. With Henderson, he’s 1-3-0, 3.32, .898.

Pheonix Copley

Up where the big boys play, the NHL, Los Angeles Kings goalie Pheonix Copley on Saturday made 29 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to visiting Nashville. Copley stopped one of two shots in the shootout. He’s 20-4-3, which means the Kings have pocketed 43 of a possible 54 points (79.6 percent of available points) since he was promoted from AHL Ontario more than three months ago. Copley on Saturday lowered his goals-against average to 2.69 and raised his save percentage to .902. Both marks are in line with his NHL career numbers of 2.64 and .901.

Entering the season, Copley had played a total of 1,709 minutes in NHL nets. He has basically equaled that number this season with 1,694 minutes.

Boston Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman of Anchorage lost both his starts this week. He made 19 saves Tuesday in a 3-2 home loss to Edmonton and stopped 21 of 25 shots in Sunday’s 5-3 loss at Detroit. Swayman is 16-6-4, 2.37, .913.

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