HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - A pair of former Michigan Tech hockey players are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Pheonix Copley is the backup goaltender for the defending Stanley Cup Champions Washington Capitals, and Joel L'Esperance got called up to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday (April 17).
The Capitals hold a 2-1 lead in their first round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. The teams will meet in Game 4 tonight at 7 p.m. in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Copley (North Pole, Alaska) has posted a record of 16-7-3 this season with a 2.90 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound goaltender has allowed two goals or fewer in 14 of his 27 appearances. Copley went on a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) from November 24 through January 9, including a 4-0 shutout of the Ottawa Senators on December 22.
In 29 career NHL games, Copley is 16-8-3 with a 2.98 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage. Copley made his NHL debut on February 27, 2016 as a member of the St. Louis Blues at Nashville and made 24 saves in his first career NHL start on January 21, 2017 at Winnipeg.
Copley played two seasons for Michigan Tech from 2012-14, winning 18 games with four shutouts. He had a 10-13-6 record with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage in 2013-14. He was twice named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week and signed a free agent contract with Washington in March 2014.
The Stars evened up their series with the Nashville Predators on Wednesday with a 5-1 win in Game 4. The two teams will head back to Nashville for Game 5 Saturday at 3 p.m. L'Esperance is in a group of seven players called up to Dallas for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
L'Esperance played in 18 games for Dallas in the regular season and scored a pair of goals. His first career NHL goal was in a 4-1 win at Minnesota on March 14. He scored the lone goal for the Stars on April 5 in a 6-1 loss at Chicago. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound native of Brighton, Michigan was originally undrafted and signed with Dallas as a free agent on July 1, 2018.
L'Esperance scored 30 AHL goals in his first full pro season to rank ninth in the league in scoring and lead the Texas Stars. He was second amongst all rookies in the league in goals and also added 15 assists in 54 games. L'Esperance scored 13 power play goals and five game-winning goals.
L'Esperance played four seasons for the Huskies, appearing in 152 career games from 2014-18. He was an alternate captain as a senior and finished with 98 career points, racking up over 25 points in each of his final three seasons. In 20 career playoff games, he had 23 points on 10 goals and 13 assists while finding the scoresheet in all three NCAA games with two assists and a goal.