, Salem, MA


March 16, 2013

Big Blue hope to diffuse Bombers in Division 3 final

So far this postseason, the Swampscott High hockey team has:

Won the program’s first playoff game in 44 years;

Scored three goals in the final two minutes and one second to stun their arch rivals;

Scored two goals in the final three minutes, including the game-winner with 6.2 seconds to play, to capture their first North title; and

Vaulted into the state championship game after winning the semifinal on a dramatic overtime goal -- by a freshman, no less.

So what more can the Big Blue (19-5) do as they get set for the biggest game in their history, squaring off against Western Mass. champion Westfield (18-3-2) in tomorrow’s Division 3 state final at the TD Garden in Boston?

“The only thing left,” said head coach Gino Faia, “is to win the whole thing (tomorrow).”

Faia was at the Wallace Civic Center in Fitchburg Thursday night and watched the Bombers defeat Wachusett, 6-4, in the other Division 3 state semifinal. He was impressed with their speed, puck moving ability and overall balance, not to mention their quick-strike capabilities offensively.

Senior Sean Spohr, Westfield’s first line left winger and leading scorer (32 goals, 18 assists), had a pair of goals against Wachusett while sophomore Chris Gentile (10-15-25), the second line left wing, added a goal and two assists. Junior right wing Michael Santinello (21-17-38) and senior center Adam Collier (12-15-27) both added a goal and an assist while sophomore third liner Connor Sullivan (10-11-21) also tallied.

“They can do a lot of good things with the puck,” Faia said of the Bombers, who are coached by long-time head man Moose Matthews. “Their goalie (senior Nick Liberto) looked good, too; you can tell he’s quick and athletic.

“I think we’ll match up well as long as we come out with the same intensity that we have in our previous tournament games. Obviously, we’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game again; if we do I think we have a decent shot.”

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