The Concord-Carlisle boys’ hockey team had a rare Sunday matinee in North Andover and goalkeeper Jason Swaim was kept very busy all game, facing 27 shots from a powerful and hungry Scarlet Knights squad.
Swaim shut down odd-man rushes and breakaways and his d-men helped keep the net space clear. The Patriots had a few solid chances at the other end, with about four close-range shots going just over the crossbar within a span of a couple of minutes.
But the real action got started in the third period.
The Scarlet Knights attacked relentlessly, and the Patriots stayed busy keeping them at bay. Kal Longergan blocked a few shots before they got to Swaim, and Chris Sim and Oliver Erston kept their attackers to the outside and got the puck up to the forwards. On the offensive side, CC had some solid chances, but the North Andover goaltender was dialed in.
After Swaim used the top of his stick to make an incredible save, play moved up the ice and a CC flurry ensued with a barrage of shots on net.
At the six-minute mark, Will Manchuso got the puck and passed to Jay Carter, who one-timed it past the goalie to get CC on the board, 1-0.
Less than a minute later, however, North Andover answered back, tying it up. And, just 30 seconds after that, they scored again, taking a 2-1 lead.
With 1:34 remaining, the Scarlet Knights got a penalty, and after a timeout to set a play, CC pulled their goalie and added an attacker for a 6-on-4 man advantage.
The puck never left the offensive zone, and it didn’t take long (just 16 seconds!) for CC to score again when Joe Grasso passed down low to Manchuso. He sent it across the slot to Carter, who cradled the puck and quickly released it for the tying 2-2 goal.
The final 1:18 was a series of faceoffs and battles in the CC zone, and North Andover prevailed, scoring their third goal and killing off the remaining seconds on the clock.
Final: North Andover 3; Concord-Carlisle 2.
January 31, 2024 v. Tewksbury
January ended with a tough one in Tewskbury for CC boys’ hockey team — a physical and frustrating grind that ended in a 6-1 loss.
The first period was mostly controlled by the Redmen, but CC stayed in the game thanks in huge part to Sam Griswold, who was in net. He faced a barrage of shots and turned away just about everything he saw. With a power play opportunity and a shorthanded challenge, the Patriots escaped the first frame only down by one goal.
Early in the second, the Patriots had another power play and capitalized on a goal by Joe Grasso, who skated the puck through the neutral zone, around some defenders, and down to the low faceoff dot before shooting and beating the goalie.
Tied 1-1, the Patriots got a burst of energy and tried to gain some offensive ground, getting a few shots in on the Tewksbury goalie. Griswold made an impressive kick save that stunned everyone on the ice, but CC faced heavy attack in their own zone for the remaining eight minutes and the Redmen ended up netting two more to end the period up 3-1.
The final frame was choppy with lots of whistles and penalties, making it even harder for the Patriots to gain traction.
CC moved Jason Swaim into net to see if this would help shake things up, but the game remained a physical battle across every inch of the ice. Swaim had some highlight saves and was able to tie up the puck in key situations. The Patriots D-men cleared out the area in front of CC’s net and fought for control along the boards, and the offense tried working the puck up the ice, but were met with a wall of Redmen too many times.
As they say in hockey, the team who scores the most goals usually wins the game.
CC boys’ hockey next plays Saturday, February 10 at Newton South.