NORTH BILLERICA — It’s been nearly impossible to match the drama of the Swampscott High hockey team’s playoff run these last two weeks.
Now, the North Shore’s best show on ice is bound for TD Garden.
The Big Blue punched a ticket to their first ever state final when freshman Noah Maercklein scored with 6:25 to go in sudden death overtime, lifting Swampscott over Medway, 4-3, in a Division 3 semifinal at Chelmsford Forum.
It was the third straight playoff game won by the Big Blue (19-5) in the waning moments. And, up to this point, it was the sweetest one yet.
“This is unbelievable,” said Swampscott head coach Gino Faia. “I couldn’t be more happy for these guys, they way they’ve worked all year. They never quit and they showed it again.”
Medway, the Division 3 South champions, tied the game with just 58 seconds left in regulation when Bobby Schindler scored an extra-attacker goal on a rebound. The Big Blue had already let a 2-1 lead slip away earlier in the third, and seeing the 3-2 advantage disappear could’ve been devastating.
“Good teams bounce back from low points,” said senior captain Trevor Massey. “That’s exactly what we did.”
Indeed, freshman goalie Tristan Bradley stood tall during a Medway flurry in overtime. Then Corey Carmody, who scored a ridiculous end-to-end goal earlier, broke in along the left wing boards. This time, he was looking to pass.
“You can’t have a better guy to finish there than Noah,” said Faia. “I knew it was going in as soon as I saw that Corey was looking to pass.”
Maeckerlein, who had two goals in the game, joined the rush and turned it into a 2-on-1 as Carmody hit the offensive zone circle. He fed it back to his freshman linemate, and Medway goalie Mike Narducci couldn’t recover.