Big Blue Hockey Aiming North
Big Blue have the Division III North title In their sights.
Having slayed the No. 1 (Lowell) and No. 2 (Marblehead) seeds along the way, Bedford High's Buccaneers and Swampscott's Big Blue arrive at Stoneham Arena for a 4:30 showdown today to decide who will represent the North when the MIAA Division III post-season tournament continues next week.
Swampscott comes into the game fresh off a surprising upset over Marblehead Wednesday, but the Blue's performance was no fluke. Despite having lost twice, rather decidedly, to Marblehead during the regular season, Swampscott unwrapped an aggressive, tight-checking defense and remained patient offensively.
That patience paid off. After a first period Nunzio Morretti goal was disallowed when the left net post dislodged, Marblehead went ahead 1-0 on a Tom Koopman goal. The bigger Marblehead team controlled play well into the second period, but Swampscott played scrappy defense and freshman goalie Tristan Bradley kept the margin to just one.
Freshman Noah Maerklein scored late in the second period to tie the game, and that goal invigorated Swampscott.
Then it became the Corey Carmody Show. The senior forward is on an offensive roll like no other, with Hat Tricks in each of Swampscott's two playoff wins. But his tally that broke a 1-1 deadlock Wednesday will be etched in the minds of Swampscott and Marblehead fans for years to come--for different reasons, of course. Intercepting a pass just outside the blue line, Carmody streaked down the left wing, cut in front of Marblehead goalie Harrison Young deked left then deftly slid a backhand under Harrison's left leg pad with the game winner. He added a pair of empty-netters in the closing minutes.
Ninth-seeded Bedford has followed its own improbable course to the title game, knocking off top seed Lowell (14-2-4) in a marathon 2-1, a game that remained tied through a 12-minute overtime and an eight-round shootout before sophomore Ethan Miller notched his second goal of the night to send the Buccaneers to the next round, where they topped Shawsheen 3-1.
The winner of Saturday's game moves on to the State Division III semi-finals Tuesday night at Harvard University agains the South champion, which will be decided Sunday between Pembroke and the winner of today's game between Medway and Holliston.