Faia’s club won four postseason games, the last three of which it trailed before storming back to win in the third period or overtime. They vanquished arch rival (and long-time playoff nemesis) Marblehead thanks to a third period hat trick from Corey Carmody; beat Bedford in the Division 3 North final on Nunzio Morretti’s game-winning goal with 6.2 seconds left to play; and stunned Medway, 4-3, in overtime of the state semifinals when freshman Noah Maercklein scored in the extra session.
A loss in their first-ever state championship game appearance, 4-1 to Westfield at the TD Garden, couldn’t put a damper on what Faia termed “a team that played for each other and believed in each other. They were a tight knit group that never quit”, finishing the year with a school record 19 wins.
A former Swampscott High hockey player who now owns a construction company in town, Faia and his wife Julie have three children: daughters Giana and Kara, and son Derek. He thanks his long-time assistant, Mike DeLisio, goalie coach J.J. Doherty, the Swampscott parents, school administration and town for their constant support of the program.
John Norris led the Danvers boys to a 7-0 record this winter, with several team members going on to excel at the big end-of-the-year meets.
Having coached for 31 years, Norris has been the Falcons’ indoor coach for the past 10 seasons. He had a lot of fun this year because of motivated athletes, strong senior leadership and good sportsmanship.
“We had a great bunch of seniors who set the example of working hard,” said Norris. “They were very good mentors for our younger kids. Talent like John Thomas, Joe Manson and Drew Piazza doesn’t come along often.
“We knew at the beginning of the year we had a possible state-level team and wanted to keep our eye on the prize and achieve it.”