Sean Devin and the Jets will battle against Swampscott in tonight's (5:30) Division 3 North semifinal at Cronin Rink in Revere. (Item File Photo)
Sports

Extra rest benefits Lynn, Swampscott hockey teams

The Lynn and Swampscott boys hockey teams were supposed to meet in the Division 3 North semifinals last night at the Chelmsford Forum, but Mother Nature had other ideas. The game was delayed until tonight, which turned out to be a positive for both teams.

"The extra day actually helped us in a big way," said Lynn coach Mike Roberts. "We had some real tough battles in the first two rounds, and that took a toll on our guys physically. So with the extra day of rest, the guys were able to recover a little more and we were able to get in some really good practice time. Now the guys are really ready to go."

"We were able to get in one final practice (Thursday), which was big for us," said Swampscott coach Gino Faia. "At this point in the season, every extra practice will help you."

In addition to having the game delayed a day, the venue was also changed. Instead of being played at Chelmsford Forum, the game will be played at Paul Cronin Rink in Revere. That means a closer proximity to both Lynn and Swampscott, possibly resulting in a bigger crowd on both sides.

"I already told the guys, this game went from crazy to pure insanity," Roberts said. "You're not going to be able to find a place to park out there, and the crowd will be crazy on both sides. The key is to not let the crowd get to us and keep playing hard out there."

"It's great for both teams' fan bases, to be honest," Faia said. "Now the game is right in our backyard, so to speak, so now we can get a bigger turnout. It will be crazy I'm sure."

And with all that said, it's still just a hockey game. Both coaches know that despite all the delays, the hype and the craziness, it's all going to come down to execution.

"Swampscott is a very good defensive team, so we've got to attack them," said Roberts. "We have to keep the mindset of being fast and physical. We need to move the puck well, knock them off the puck and just keep fighting."

"We always expected that this would be a tight game," Faia said. "Lynn is big, fast and physical, and we've got to come at them with our absolute best if we want to come out on the right side of this game."

Look for this to be a close one, as both teams have had plenty of experience in tight games. The teams tied both times they played in the regular season (Swampscott won via shootout in the Lynn Christmas Tournament), and they've combined to earn 10 ties overall.

"We've played them close both times so far, so I expect no different," said Faia. "I'm sure it'll come down to the very end of the game once again, and I think our guys will be ready for it."

"One thing we know about our guys is that they'll always keep fighting," Roberts said. "We've come from behind a bunch and we've been in a lot of close games, so I'm confident that they'll know how to handle themselves in crunch time."

Lynn and Swampscott will drop the puck at 5:30 p.m. at Cronin Rink.

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