APRIL 7, 2021
Jeremy Swayman's main priority on Tuesday night, April 6 was to help the Bruins secure two points. But the rookie netminder also wanted to embrace the moment.
From the time he hit the ice in Philadelphia for warmups until the final buzzer sounded, the 22-year-old made sure to have a smile on his face no matter what came his way.
"It's a game and it's a game that I love," said Swayman. "I enjoyed every second of it. That's what a lot of the vets told me going into it, especially Tuukks. Enjoy it, it's once in a lifetime. That's exactly what I did. I love this game. To do it on the biggest stage with the best players in the world, how could you not have fun doing that? It was fun, it was fun."
It was, indeed.
Swayman had a night to remember with an impressive NHL debut that included 40 saves to help pace the Bruins to a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center. The 42 shots that Swayman faced were the most for a Bruins goalie in his first start since Bernie Parent saw 44 on Nov. 3, 1965.
"What an incredible experience. To get a win here in Philly means everything, being the first one," said Swayman, who was named the game's second star. "My mentality throughout the game was don't get too high, don't get too low. I learned that from [assistant coach] Alife Michaud back [at the University of] Maine. That's gonna stick with me for a long time. One shot at a time."
A year ago at this time, Swayman had just completed his NCAA career with the University of Maine and was being named the winner of the 2020 Mike Richter Award.
Swayman played the entire 2015-16 season in the NAPHL for the Pikes Peak Miners 18U team. In 18 regular season games played, Swayman posted a 9-8-1 record with a 1.79 goals against average and a 94.0% save percentage. His four shutouts tied for the NAPHL 18U lead and he ranked 3rd in save percentage. Swayman also was selected to and played in the 2015-16 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game in Troy, Michigan.
The shots on Tuesday night came fast and furious for the former Hobey Baker finalist and NAPHL grad, who took on a Flyers' barrage in the second period during which Philadelphia peppered him with 25 shots. The 2017 fourth-round pick turned away 23 of them to keep things even at 2 through 40 minutes.
"He's pretty relaxed, competitive guy, obviously," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "What I've been told is he's been used to some of those nights at Maine, but that's atypical of our team. I thought we did a nice job in the third, obviously, in front of him. He deserved it. He deserved much better support than we gave him, and he eventually got it in the third. I'm happy for him, got his first NHL win. Certainly earned it, important game for us. Good for Sway."
Swayman saw just four shots in the third period as the Bruins tightened things up defensively, which proved to be a more difficult task than usual for the Black & Gold, who were without ace blue liner Charlie McAvoy due to an upper-body injury. The young netminder did his part, too, as his strong effort between the pipes helped to set up Brad Marchand's shorthanded winner with 8:21 gone in the third.
"I think it was about this young guy going in, playing his first NHL game, basically standing on his head to keep us in the game," Cassidy said of the B's turnaround in the third. "The guys that have NHL talent need to provide NHL effort with that talent in the checking game and managing pucks. Guys that aren't quite at the same level as NHL talent, they have to work on their NHL execution and make good reads and decisions.
"We asked for a little bit of both from each kind of player, or each category the player falls into, and I thought we got it. Certainly got it on that shorthanded goal by [Jeremy] Lauzon, made a heck of a play [to Marchand on a 2-on-1]. Shortened the bench a little for the guys that were willing to check and manage pucks and play the right way to help our goaltender and it worked out for us."
Jeremy Swayman played in the NAPHL (Pikes Peak Miners) during the 2015-16 season and was selected to and played in the 2015-16 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game in Troy, Michigan.