Marblehead is off until Saturday, when it will face the winner of Thursday’s first round contest between seventh seeded Wayland (9-7-4), last year’s North champion, and No. 10 Rockport (8-8-2), which beat the Headers in last year’s playoffs. The game site and time have yet to be determined.
“Right now we’re just preparing to play someone in a dark colored shirt,” said Jackson. “Those two teams are similar in that they’ve got strong goaltenders, a couple of good defensemen and forwards who can score.”
Their rivals could say the same thing about Marblehead. Seven of its top nine forwards have at least 10 points, led by Tom Koopman’s 40 points and Trip Franzese’s 34, as well as two defensemen (Liam Gillis with 15 and Kyle Koopman with 11). Junior goalies Harrison Young and Myles Barry have rotated all season, and Jackson is leaning towards continuing that trend in the postseason.
It’s been 44 long years since Swampscott beat Andover, 6-0, for its last playoff win. This year’s Big Blue (15-5) have made it their mission to change that, beginning Saturday against the winner of No. 6 St. Joseph Prep (9-6-3) and 11th seeded Northeast Regional (8-8-4). Swampscott crushed St. Joseph, 8-0, in the East Boston Deep Freeze Tournament back in late December, but head coach Gino Faia is taking nothing for granted.
“We definitely can not look ahead. Whoever we play, we have to go in and not worry about what they’re doing, but focus more on what we need to do,” said Faia. “For us it all starts with defense, and the offense will come from that.”
Never before has one of Faia’s teams have five 20-point scorers, but they do this winter in Nunzio Morretti (24), Corey Carmody (22), Trevor Massey (22), freshman Noah Maercklein (20) and Chris Carman (20). All three lines are capable of popping home goals and the defense is also dangerous when they cross center ice. In goal, Swampscott will put its hopes on Tristan Bradley, who went 10-2 with a 1.68 GAA and three shutouts this winter as a freshman.