The Swampscott Big Blue hockey team (11-12), the 13th seed in Division 3 North, saw its Cinderella playoff run end, when Lowell, the ninth seed, shut them down, 4-0 in the sectional semifinal round at the Chelmsford Forum, March 5.
Lowell scored the only goal that it would need in the first period. It was the first time the Swampscott boys had trailed in the postseason after coming out on top, 2-0 and 2-1 in the previous matchups.
The Red Raiders doubled up their lead early on in period two. They added another goal late in the second.
With just over three minutes left in the third period, Lowell lit the lamp for the final time. Swampscott freshman goalie Jack Russo was kept busy, making 32 saves to keep his teammates close on the scoreboard.
Swampscott’s Conor Donovan and Drew Olivieri each had solid chances to spoil Lowell’s shutout bid, but were denied by its goalie Jake Viera.
Despite the loss, the Big Blue will still not forget this tournament run. In a first-round game on Thursday, Feb. 27, against No.4 Essex Tech, the Blue got a great game out of their first line of Ronan Locke, Donovan and Olivieri. Olivieri lit the lamp twice, while Russo was a perfect 17-for-17 in save opportunities to help secure the 2-0 triumph.
Essex Tech slightly outplayed Swampscott in the first period, but coach Gino Faia said that his team really took things over in the second and third, and were able to come away with a win.
The coach said that the key play to this game came right away in the first period, when Russo made a great save on a shorthanded Essex Tech breakaway.
The Blue also defeated the Hawks (11-5-5), 2-0 during the regular season.
On Monday, March 2, Ronan Locke was the star of the show after scoring his second goal of the game with just 44.7 seconds left in regulation to lead his teammates past fifth-seed Watertown (13-6-2) in a North quarterfinal round game, 2-1.
Defenseman Chris Barnes, who served as captain along with Donovan and Olivieri this year, said it was great to be a part of the Big Blue hockey program.
"As a kid from Salem playing in the co-op program, I never expected to be welcomed into the high school program with such open arms. The Swampscott athletic director, coaches and players were just great, and I think it will continue to be one of the best public school programs around," Barnes said.
"As for the playoff run, I feel like we loved being the 13th seed. Everyone called both those wins upsets, and I think the boys came into each of those games knowing those were very winnable. Everyone stepped up when we needed it, especially Jack Russo in net and Ronan Locke on offense. Every single person on our team bought in, and did what we had to do.
"Credit to that Lowell team, they are a good, solid team, and they played us hard. We fell short, but I don’t think anyone on our team has any regrets."
The 2019-2020 Swampscott boys’ varsity hockey roster consists of Jack Russo, Liam Locke, Conor Donovan, Drew Olivieri, Ronan Locke, Chris Barnes, Max Gadon, Matt Griffin, Alex Reid, Zack Pierce, Griffin Bruhm, Tyler Seller, Thomas Callahan, Chris Henriques, Aidan Sprague, Zack Ryan, Jake Sweeney, Ian Roddie, Aidan Fitzpatrick, Liam Herlihy, Nate Maercklein, T.J. McCarthy and Ryan Wood. They were led by veteran head coach Gino Faia and his assistants Mike DeLisio and Dan Libby.