SALEM — It looked like the big Northeastern Conference battle between Salem and Swampscott was headed for overtime, but in the final minute of regulation freshman Andrew Dove scored the biggest goal of his career to give the Big Blue a come from behind, 7-6 victory over the Witches at Salem State.
With the game tied at 6-6, Swampscott was threatening in front of the Witches’ goal when Noah Maercklein took a shot that bounced high up in the air. When it came down it glanced off Dove’s stick, and he deposited the ball in the back of the net for what turned out to be the game winner.
“Noah tried to force it over a defenseman’s head, and it hit my stick,” said Dove. “I bobbled it at first, but was able to pick it up and get a shot off.”
Salem had one last chance after a Swampscott player received a penalty, and senior Peter Slattery blasted a shot in the final second. Slattery, the leading scorer in the conference, came into the game with 48 goals, and added three more in the game, but Big Blue goalie Max Cohen made the save as time expired.
“We set it up and got the shot we wanted,” said Salem coach Anthony Nardella. “Both goalies (Christian Costa for the Witches) played well, but we need to do a better job shooting and executing. This was a defensive battle, and our defense has been leading the charge all season. The difference was we missed the cage too much. We had a lot of good chances, but didn’t finish.”
Slattery will play at UMass Lowell next season, the first year that program will be Division 1. The Witches dominated play in the first half, but only had a 3-1 lead. Slattery and Eamon Williamsen scored in the first quarter while Devin Conroy (2 goals, 2 assists) had the lone Big Blue goal. Slattery struck again for the only score of the second quarter.