A key for Swampscott in the playoffs has been its physical play; everyone, from defenseman Trevor Massey, Chris Carman, Patrick Burkett and Chris Dandreo to the team’s three forward lines has been battling along the walls, in front of the net and aggressively winning 50/50 battles all over the ice. Setting the tone in that regard has worked wonders for them.
Faia has been starting his team’s second line of Robert Serino (5-13-18), Griffin Hunt (7-1-8) and Ryan Cresta (7-9-16) against his foes’ top lines in the postseason, so look for them to match up against the Spohr-Collier-Anthony Cagliostro (8-19-27) trio. If circumstances work out that way, Swampscott’s top unit of Corey Carmody (23-11-34), Nunzio Morretti (15-17-32) and Noah Maercklein (13-16-29), who scored the OT game-winner against Medway in the state semis Wednesday night, to go up against Westfield’s second line of Gentile, center Neil Parrow (11-12-23) and Santinello.
Freshman Tristan Bradley, who has surrendered just seven goals in four playoff games, will be in goal for the Big Blue against the Bombers’ Liberto. The two netminders have similar numbers: Bradley is 14-2 overall with a 1.64 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and has pitched three shutouts; Liberto sits at 15-2-2 with a 1.59 GAA, .928 save percentage and one shutout.
An interesting note: Swampscott is 17-1 with Massey — the team’s four-year starter on defense and team captain — in the lineup this winter. He’s also among the team’s top scorers with 28 points, followed closely by fellow D-man Carman (23 points).
While Westfield has been to the title game five times before (most recently a 2011 loss to Marblehead), Swampscott is making its first-ever appearance — and everyone in Swampscott is caught up in it, said Faia.
“It’s been unbelievable, everywhere you go in town,” said Faia, a former Big Blue player who now owns his own business in town. “I’m hearing from alumni all the way back to the 1960s who are all excited about what the team is doing.