By Matt Williams
---- — SALEM — Some teams might feel the effects of “Holiday Legs” — a post-Christmas lull brought on by short practice time and school vacation.
There is no such issue for Swampscott, however, as the Big Blue won their third straight with a 7-1 decision over Salem yesterday at Rockett Arena.
Since Christmas, Swampscott (5-1 overall) has won three straight contests while outscoring its opponents, 24-3, which includes yesterday’s win and a sweep of the East Boston Deep Freeze Tournament last week.
Nunzio Morretti led the Big Blue with two goals and an assist last night and Chris Carman scored twice to lead the Big Blue, who saw nine players record points and six skaters have multi-point efforts.
“We had three solid periods from all three lines, our defense and the goalie. We finally played the way we wanted for the entire game ... and the results were there,” said Swampscott head coach Gino Faia. “We’ve had some great periods this year, but not a complete game like this.”
Swampscott kept the pressure on Salem (1-4-2) for most of the game, putting 20 shots on goal in the first stanza and 50 for in the game. The Witches hung in there at times, keeping it scoreless for the first 10 minutes and trailing 2-0 after two, but couldn’t match up with the Big Blue’s speed over the long haul.
“Tonight was the first time we’ve really taken a shellacking,” said first-year Salem coach Ted Hanley. “We knew it would be tough tonight and at this point it’s about how we react to games like this. I’ve heard that last year, we buried our heads in these. We hadn’t seen that much this year and I think for the first time we did a little bit tonight.”
Witches goalie Brett Harring made 33 saves before Grant Thompson stopped all five shots in the final five minutes. Harring made several solid pad saves to keep it scoreless for most of the first, but Carman broke through with a blast from the point with 5:01 to go.
A few minutes later, Carman scored again — this time with a wrist shot on the power play.
“Brett’s a great goalie. We knew we’d need shot after shot and we knew we needed to look for rebounds and stick with it to create some offense,” said Faia. “We got the forecheck going and we stayed aggressive.”
The first goal ignited Swampscott, which outshot Salem 12-1 over the final five minutes of the first. The Big Blue added to their lead in the second, with Corey Carmody stickhandling around a defender for the goal at 5:18. Ryan Cresta then scored to make it 4-0 after two, and Morretti potted both his goals in the third. Joe Silva also scored for Swampscott in the final frame, 54 seconds after Morretti’s first marker.
“We’re spreading it out with goals from defense and all three lines. That’s what we want,” said Faia. “Everyone’s chipping in.”
Salem got on the board with a power play goal by Matt Jalbert with 9:27 to play. The goal, a hard shot from up high, was assisted by Sam Petri and Spencer Bergholtz.
“In the third, our approach was to try to win five-minute blocks and we kind of did that with the goal,” said Hanley. “We’re trying to put together some aspects of positivity; this is a prideful team and we need to find ways to keep that pride intact.”
Freshman Tristan Bradley made 16 saves for the Big Blue, including two solid pad stops during a Salem power play in the first. He also stopped Salem’s Jake Stahlman on a breakaway chance in the second.
The Witches penalty kill was a bright spot, going 1-for-7 and killing Swampscott’s last six opportunities.
Swampscott’s Noah Maeckerlein and Bob Serino each had two assists while Cresta and Carmody had a goal and an assist. Tyler Peterson and Trevor Massey had one assist.