SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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March 18, 2013

Phil Stacey column: Bigger win for Swampscott may be the lasting legacy this team leaves behind

BOSTON — So they didn’t reach their ultimate goal.

In any championship setting there has to be someone who loses, and yesterday that was the Swampscott hockey team. A more opportunistic Westfield team came from Western Massachusetts into the TD Garden and played solid three-zone hockey, getting stout defensive play and timely scoring in a 4-1, Division 3 title-clinching victory.

It was a bittersweet ending for the Big Blue boys, who went from being part of a program without a postseason victory in 44 years to the cusp of their school’s first ever state hockey crown. It certainly didn’t help that they were missing two of their top players yesterday, senior captain and defenseman Trevor Massey and sophomore right wing Ryan Cresta, who had been suspended for the game for violating school and MIAA policies.

But there were no excuses being made postgame. No woulda, coulda, shoulda’s.

Those who skated with the Swampscott crest on their jerseys seemed inherently cognizant that they were part of something special. Not ‘we just won the state title’ special, but special nonetheless.

”It was an honor to play here. We had a great season and a couple of miracle wins in the tournament,” said senior defenseman Chris Carman. “It’s bittersweet, but I’m glad we made it here.”

”It was a great ride,” added senior left wing Corey Carmody, the team’s leading scorer. “We made it as far as we could, and I’m pretty happy about that. The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but we tried our best and got as far as we could.”

If these words ring as hollow or insincere to you jaded types, well, you couldn’t be more wrong than if you thought Dewey won the 1948 presidential election.

For a town of under 14,000 residents, Swampscott High has a wonderful athletic history. It has long been known as a football school, from its powerhouse days of the 1950s to the present day. At various times it’s also had remarkable success in baseball (including a state title in the early 1990s) and boys and girls basketball.

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