By Dan Harrison
---- — NORTH BILLERICA — When the Swampscott boys hockey team went on the power play in the first period of last night’s Division 3 semifinal against Medway, the Big Blue man-up unit really clicked and did everything right except score.
The goals would come later.
The Big Blue went on the man-advantage twice in the third period and both times the power-play unit found the back of the net with goals that proved to be extremely important in a 4-3 Swampscott overtime win.
The Big Blue went from down a goal to leading 2-1 in a span of 3:58 in the third period. Swampscott wouldn’t trail again all night.
“That first power play was unbelievable. We were getting shots left and right from the point like we wanted. We thought we had a couple (goals) there but the kid (Mike Narducci) made the saves and we had a hit post,” said Swampscott coach Gino Faia. “But we stuck with it. I can’t say enough about this group.”
Senior captains Chris Carman and Trevor Massey were superb at the point going D-to-D to set each other up for low hard slappers at the net. In the first period, the duo had a few shots tipped wide, hit a post and saw Narducci make a couple of phenomenal saves.
But in the third the puck bounced more favorably. In the first power play Noah Maerkclein nearly got his stick free from a Medway defensemen to bury a puck that skittered wide on a shot from the point, but he and Corey Carmody chased the puck behind the net. Somehow, the rubber squirted out to the front of the net, hit a Mustang defenseman’s skate, and found Nunzio Morretti, who jammed it past Narducci at a tough angle.
“That was the momentum shifter right there. When we got that (first power play of the third period) knew that was the spark we needed,” noted Massey. “We had to capitalize on that moment. That’s what we needed. The team followed through.”
Minutes later the Big Blue would go man-up again as Medway was whistled for a charge and this time it would be Maercklein playing Johnny on the spot.
The puck came back to Carman at the point who calmly fired a crisp pass across to his partner Massey. Instead of ripping a one-timer, Massey took an extra step to the outside to get his shot around the Medway defender.
The shot was low, hard and made it all the way to Narducci who made the initial save. But the rebound trickeled to his left and Maercklein finished confidently to put Swampscott ahead with just under eight minutes left in the third.
“The power play has been working for us lately,” said Carman. “We (Carman and Massey) have been playing all four years together so we have a lot of chemistry. We got a lot of momentum from those goals and it really helped us out.”
The momentum didn’t completely kill Medway as the Mustangs would twice tie the game up in the third quarter. However, had Swampscott gone man-up again the Big Blue were confident they would have scored. That confidence is something the team will need Sunday in the finals at the TD Garden.
“When we are working together, we feel like we can do anything out there and accomplish anything and that’s what we did tonight,” said Massey. “We need to bering that to the Garden.”