SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

March 18, 2013

Swampscott's state title chase falls short in Garden loss to Westfield (With Photo Slideshow)

(Continued)

Swampscott didn’t do itself any favors on the power play, failing to score in six opportunities. None were bigger than the minor they drew with 4:43 to go, but the Bombers managed to get sticks in passing lanes and deny any real man advantage pressure.

“They had an aggressive kill,” said Faia. “We rushed things with the puck and we didn’t get the setups that we wanted.”

Swampscott employed four forwards on the top power play unit (which was missing Massey) and generated tipped shots by both junior Nunzio Morretti and freshman Noah Maerckklein (rotating down from the point) that sailed just wide. Liberto was very strong on his pads, denying rebound chances by senior Corey Carmody and junior Griffin Hunt along the line.

“We didn’t have our ‘A’ game, and Westfield played really well. They deserve the credit,” said Carmody.

The Big Blue had most of the pressure early on, but Westfield scored first on a late developing 2-on-1 finished by Connor Sullivan. Freshman goalie Tristan Bradley (21 saves) then saved a partial break by Westfield’s Michael Santinello, only to see another 2-on-1 break by the Bombers’ Adam Collier make it 2-0 with only 40 seconds left in the first.

Swampscott generated just three shots on goal in the second, with Westfield adding another goal on Collier’s rebound bid with 2:48 left in the middle frame. Despite generating speed, the Big Blue couldn’t get to the net for good angle shots.

“They weren’t the most physical team, but they got right in front of us and made it really hard on us,” Morretti said of Westfield’s defense.

Serino capitailized behind the net midway through the third as a Westfield defender finished a check on Hunt but left the puck loose.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it went in,” said Serino. “I was kind of shocked for a second. To score a goal at the Garden is pretty awesome.”

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