Bruce Cassidy often preaches that it is just as important keeping the puck out of your own net as it is scoring on your opponents.
Cassidy’s message has echoed across the Boston Bruins organization as they’ve invested heavily in the goaltender position. The results have created depth, competition and talent at every pro level.
And now they have another promising prospect perfecting his craft at the University of Maine in Jeremy Swayman.
Swayman, Boston’s fourth-round selection in 2017, is off to an impressive start to his third season in Orono. UMaine’s junior netminder, who earned Hockey East’s defensive player of the week honors following a pair of wins over rival New Hampshire, sports a 7-4-2 record this season and a .937 save through the first two months of the year.
This past weekend, Swayman and the Black Bears traveled to Boston for a slate of games against No. 14 Northeastern at historic Matthews Arena. Northeastern took both games, but the Alaskan-born netminder didn’t miss a beat. His 38-save outing in Maine’s 3-2 loss Saturday night provided another example of Swayman’s improvements over the last three seasons.
“It’s good to be back. We had a great start [to the season] but we got humbled a little bit,” Swayman said after the 5-2 loss in the first meeting with the Huskies on Friday night.
The 6-foot-3 netminder refined his game over the past few years and is now one of the best collegiate talents.
Swayman attended the last three development camps held by the Bruins at Warrior Ice Area. The level of competition during the mid-summer camp prepared him for the intense competition in Hockey East.
“The Bruins camp is full of top prospects and highly recruited players. So hats off to the staff there for picking quality guys. They just have great patience,” Swayman added. “When I’m in net there I expected the unexpected. It definitely gives me a midsummer tune-up and I’ve definitely taken positives from camp.
Even with his busy season on the ice and in the classroom, Swayman still keeps an eye on the Black and Gold.
Amidst the high-flying action and plethora of goals scored by David Pastrnak, Swayman tends to focus on the play of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak.
“I know they are the best there is and it’s noticeable watching them, and I try to mimic my game with what they do in certain situations,” Swayman said of Boston’s dynamic goaltending duo.
“I think there are a plethora of goalies I look after. Obviously there is a lot of young talent in the league now and I definitely learn tidbits from them. It’s not that I mimic one specific goalie. I just like to look at the top end goalies and take what they do and put it into my game.”
Swayman didn’t reveal any details regarding his future plans with the Bruins. He remains focused on helping the Black Bears achieve bigger and better things following one of their best starts to a season in recent memory.
“Right now I’m just focused on Black Bear hockey; just doing my job,” Swayman said. “I know if I do my job here it will get me to where I want to be.”
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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