SOMERVILLE– Missed opportunities will come back to haunt you. That was the key takeaway for the Swampscott boys hockey team in Saturday night’s 4-2 loss to Somerville at Veterans Memorial Rink.
The Big Blue logged nine minutes of 5-on-4 play but couldn’t make anything of their opportunities. Still, they led 2-0 early in the second period before the Highlanders closed the game with four unanswered goals.
“At the beginning of the year the power play was our strength,” Swampscott coach Gino Faia said. “Right now we’re kind of struggling with it. We’re just not making good plays there. We had a five-minute major that turned out to be a three-minute because we took one. We’re just not clicking on the power play.”
Swampscott captains Zach Elwell and Casey Williamson each scored one goal. Matt Griffin and assistant captain Conor Donovan each logged one assist.
Big Blue goalie Victor Kratik made 13 saves.
Somerville’s Christopher DeSousa scored two goals with one assist. Cosmo Curtatone and Aidan O’Donovan scored one goal apiece.
Swampscott got the start it wanted when Elwell took Donovan’s assist and cashed it in for a 1-0 Big Blue lead five minutes into the game. Looking to stretch their lead, the Big Blue received a boost when Somerville took a five-minute major penalty with 5:30 to go in the first period. After three minutes of fighting Somerville’s penalty kill, Swampscott took a penalty and the two teams skated 4-on-4 for the majority of the closing minutes. The Big Blue led 1-0 at the first intermission.
Williamson lit the lamp (on Griffin’s assist) 90 seconds into the second period, bumping the Big Blue’s lead to 2-0. Just when it looked like Swampscott had control, the Highlanders made their statement.
DeSousa put Somerville on the board with 11:28 left in the period and tied the game on a shorthanded goal two minutes later. It stayed tied at 2-2 heading into the third period.
Swampscott came up empty on two power plays in the second period.
“We’re just forcing bad plays when we don’t need to,” Faia said. “It’s unforced turnovers, really and decision making with the puck.
“It’s just kind of what it’s been lately,” Faia said. “We’re forcing things, we’re rushing with our decision making with the puck. Until we can figure out how to clean that up, I think the results will be the same.”
Curtatone lit the lamp with the eventual game-winner, giving Somerville it’s first lead of the night with 6:00 to play in the final period.
Another Swampscott power play came and went with 5:40 remaining, placing the Big Blue on their heels as they chased the equalizer in the closing stretch. Swampscott emptied the net after a timeout with 44 seconds on the clock.
O’Donovan’s empty-netter after a scrum in front of Somerville’s net put the game out of reach and capped the 4-2 final.
“Somerville works hard,” Faia said. “We knew that coming in. They only played two lines the whole game. They just never stopped, they never quit. We have to give them credit.”
Swampscott (2-5-1) has a week of practice before Saturday afternoon’s (1) trip to Everett. The Big Blue are 0-4-1 in their last five tilts.
“We’ll work on the fundamentals,” Faia said. “We have to work on handling the puck, making plays and just not forcing things.”