Connecting you with Alaska athletes.

HOCKEY

Around The Rinks (Pro Edition): Anchorage’s Drake Glover wears SPHL goal-scoring crown, big wins for Jeremy Swayman and Isaiah Saville, Nolan Walker still riding heater

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Cover Story, Hockey

Anchorage’s Drake Glover crashes the net. Photo coutesy BirminghamSports

With time winding down in regulation Saturday on the final night of the Southern Professional Hockey League regular season in Evansville, Ind., Birmingham Bulls forward Drake Glover of Anchorage was tied for the league lead in goals.

The Bulls trailed 2-1 in the final minute and pulled their goaltender in search of the equalizer.

Enter Glover. The former Seawolf bagged his 33rd goal of the season with just 34 seconds left to force overtime – Birmingham won 3-2 in a shootout.

And with Quad City’s Cole Golka (32 goals) held off the scoresheet in a 2-1 loss at Peoria, Glover seized the circuit’s goal-scoring crown with his 33 goals in 55 games.

(Glover might be the first Alaskan to win a goal-scoring title in a domestic pro league. No one else leaps to mind; I could be simply having a giant brain fart; also, I’m old. If you know of an Alaskan who led a North American pro league in goals, please hit me up on X – previously Twitter – via @JaromirBlagr.)

In any event, banner season for Glover. He delivered 33-27—60 totals in 55 games – all are career highs for the pro in his third full season of play-for-pay. He finished second in the league in points, first in plus-minus (plus-33), first in game-winning goals (7) and tied for first in power-play strikes (8). He also tied a league record with four goals in a period.

Meanwhile, Peoria Rivermen winger Cayden Cahill of Anchorage finished 17th in the league in points with 15-28—43 totals in 55 games.

Birmingham won the President’s Trophy with its 38-9-9 record for 85 points and Peoria finished second in the 10-team league with a 37-14-5 mark for 79 points.

Birmingham plays Evansville in a best-of-3 playoff series. Peoria faces Pensacola in the first round. Both series start Wednesday.

Also on the pro front, a couple of Alaskan goaltenders enjoyed stingy starts last week.

Jeremy Swayman

Anchorage’s Jeremy Swayman of the Boston Bruins won his career-high 25th game of the NHL season with 28 saves in a 4-1 win at Carolina on Thursday. Swayman’s third straight win pushed his record to 25-8-8 with a 2.52 goals-against average that sits eighth in the world’s best league and a .917 save percentage that ranks fifth. His 25 wins are tied for 12th in the league.

Anchorage’s Isaiah Saville of the American Hockey League’s Henderson Silver Knights made 39 saves Saturday to snap his five-game losing streak and post a 4-1 win over the visiting Colorado Eagles. He was named first star of the game after making the second-most saves in his AHL career. Saville is 7-12-1, 3.09, .898.

In the ECHL, Kansas City Mavericks center Nolan Walker of Anchorage picked up where he left off after his first playing stint in the AHL – namely, scoring.

Nolan Walker

Walker, a second-year pro, notched a goal in Friday’s 7-4 win at Utah and another in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win against the Grizzlies. He has scored three goals in three games since his AHL time and he owns a career-high 11-game point streak in which he has generated 8-8—16 goals for a club that has wrapped up the Brabham Cup as the top regular-season team.

With 34-33—67 totals in 61 games, Walker is tied for third in the league in goals and is 15th in points. Gotta love his 32.7 percent shooting, which seemed likely unsustainable earlier this season, but has held steady.

Walker on Saturday also did something rare. He got busted for a penalty, for unsportsmanlike conduct of all things. That snapped his penalty-free streak at 57 games. His only other penalty this season came on a tripping call in the third game of the campaign.

Story made possible by:

Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson

Logo - Residential Mortgage

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Sports Categories