SALEM — With a very big two points at stake, the Salem boys hockey team could have relied on goalie senior Brett Harring and simply sat on its one-goal lead over Swampscott headed into the third period yesterday.
Instead, the Witches kept the pressure on the Big Blue throughout the final frame, increasing their lead in an eventual 3-1 victory.
“We had to win the third period. That was the best period we’ve played all season,” said Salem (3-5-1) head coach Ted Hanley. “We cut it to two lines and told the boys they’d have to find their lungs. And it worked.”
Swampscott carried the momentum for most of the first two periods, but Harring was on top of his game and turned away all 25 shots he faced in that time frame.
Late in the second period with the Big Blue defense pressing hard at the opposing blue line, Salem’s Sam Petri was able to get behind everyone in the neutral zone. Eli Spector fired a pass to Petri, who cleverly played it up to his stick with his skates as he entered the Swampscott zone before making a nice move to his backhand for the goal to give Salem a 1-0 lead.
The Witches headed to the locker room with a one-goal lead as Swampscott couldn’t find a way to beat Harring despite some quality opportunities.
“I thought Brett had an unbelievable game,” said Big Blue (1-8-1) coach Gino Faia. “We had some golden opportunities, and he came up big every time.
“We’re struggling to finish and put the puck in the net. Once again the effort was there; we just didn’t get the result.”
Salem made it 2-0 early in the third period after a strong rush by one of its top forwards, Danny Heck. After a cross ice pass from Eamon Williamson, Heck went across the blue line going to his left and fired a low, hard wrist shot that banked off the left post and into the back of the net.