Nunzio Morretti made sure the best start in recent Swampscott High hockey history remained on course Saturday night.
A junior forward, Morretti scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 2:57 to play, as the Big Blue rallied from two goals down to defeat Saugus, 3-2, at the Rockett Arena in Salem, improving to 8-1 on the season — the best start in head coach Gino Faia’s 13 years.
Defenseman Patrick Burkett, a senior in his first year playing high school hockey, scored his first career goal on the power play with 4:59 remaining, tying the game at 2-2. Then Morretti put his team ahead by burying a pass from freshman Noah Maercklein (2 assists).
Freshman goaltender Tristan Bradley made 14 saves to earn his fifth win.
“We were down two goals after two (periods), but we were playing good hockey and talked about staying patient. We knew if we stuck with our systems, the puck would go in,” said Faia. “Coming back like this against a (Northeastern Conference) North team, we probably wouldn’t have won this game in the past. But we stuck with it and saw good things happen.”
Beverly 10, Salem 2: Sophomores Clinton Cabral and Jesse McLaughlin both registered hat tricks — with Cabral netting the first three goals of his varsity career — as the unbeaten Panthers (9-0) rolled. Cousins Andrew and Connor Irving both had a goal and an assist, as did sophomore J.J. Bachini; Graham Doherty also scored; Nate McLaughlin and defenseman Nick Albano both had two assists; and junior netminder Bryce Mitchell made 10 saves for the win. Freshman defenseman Sean Hanlon also had a terrific game while logging big minutes.
For the Witches (1-7-2), Danny Heck had a goal and an assist while Ben Kapnis added a power play tally for his first varsity goal. Junior goaltender Grant Thompson stopped 27 of 31 shots in two-plus periods of relief.