NORTH BILLERICA — The Swampscott boys hockey team had payback on its mind when it met Marblehead — its most heated rival — in a Division 3 North semifinal last night at the Chelmsford Forum.
A pair of lopsided regular season losses and a crushing playoff disappointment from five years ago served as the Big Blue’s inspiration in a stunning 4-1 Swampscott victory.
The Big Blue, who will play ninth-seeded Bedford (12-8-3) in the North final on Saturday (4:30 p.m.) at Stoneham Arena, lost to Marblehead 6-3 and 5-0 in the regular season.
“This means the world to us. They honestly embarrassed us during the regular season,” said Swampscott senior forward Corey Carmody, who scored the game-winner on a breakaway with 2:01 to go. “We just knew that we had to work hard. We had to give everything we had. It was one of those miracle games. We were the underdogs by far and we took it to them. It’s hard to beat a team three times and we showed that it was hard.”
The Big Blue (17-5-0) didn’t have to look far for examples of underdog teams achieving tournament revenge for a couple of regular season losses. Danvers’ win over Beverly in Division 2 North action last week certainly fit that criteria, but Swampscott coach Gino Faia dug a little deeper and actually used an old Headers team as an example.
Swampscott won the Northeastern Conference Small title for the first time in the 2007-2008 season, twice defeating Marblehead along the way. The Headers then got the best of the Big Blue in the first round of the tournament.
“We went back to that 2007-2008 season where we were the favorites,” Faia said. “We shut them out both times during the season and were clearly the heavy favorites and they beat us in overtime. We wanted a little payback, so it can’t be any sweeter.”