SALEM — First they came out and rocked their classic red hockey jerseys, worn only for special occasions and state tournament games.
Then they proceeded to rock their arch rivals from Swampscott.
Behind two goals from junior captain Tom Koopman as well as a goal and two assists from his freshman brother, Matt Koopman, the Marblehead boys hockey team imposed its will on Swampscott and controlled virtually all facets of the game, taking a 5-0 triumph last night at the Rockett Arena.
With junior Harrison Young recording his fourth shutout of the season, Marblehead (13-3) not only swept its two-game season series with the Big Blue, but also clinched at least a share of their fourth straight Northeastern Conference South title. A win or a tie in either of their two remaining league games will give the Headers the crown outright.
“I thought we played well in the first period, but in the second and third period Marblehead did what they do best: they won almost all the 1-on-1 battles and fought for everything they wanted,” said Swampscott head coach Gino Faia. His team finished with 19 shots, but only managing nine of those when the two teams were at even strength.
“We didn’t play as physically as you need to against a team like that ... they’re so strong physically that even those times we tried to battle them 1-on-1, they’re winning most of those battles.”
Playing without their best player, injured captain Trevor Massey on defense, hurt Swampscott (11-5) in several key areas. Not only were they unable to clear the front of their own net with regularity — four of Marblehead’s five goals came either off of rebounds or tipped shots — but without their on-ice quarterback, the Big Blue had trouble mounting a comeback once they fell behind.