The Hanover High School hockey team certainly lived up to its billing as a solid hockey team from the goal to defense to the forwards.
The Indians (24-0-1) rolled out three solid lines and wore down the Big Blue, ending Swampscott’s magic playoff ride with a 5-0 win Wednesday night in Stoneham.
The Indians will now play Shrewsbury for the D-3 state title on Sunday afternoon at the TD Garden.
"They are certainly a good team. All good things come to an end, and this season is over for us, but I’m really proud of my guys," said co-captain Steve Santanello.
The Big Blue were tied 0-0 after 15 thrilling minutes of hockey in the opening period.
Brett Benoit, Thomas O’Keefe and Santanello had chances to get the Blue on the board, but Hanover goalie Kevin Chandler showed why he has only allowed one goal in five playoff games.
"We battled. We certainly came close, but got a little frustrated when we couldn’t pop one in," coach Gino Faia said. "My guys played great. We went 8-1-1 in our last 10 games, tying Marblehead and losing to Saugus, both Division 2 teams. We played hard tonight, but they are a heck of a team."
Goalie Dan Johnson was spectacular again, stopping 33 of 38 Indian shots. The Blue were outshot 16-9 after one period, but 22-9 over the final 30 minutes. The Indians hit the post four times, so the Big Blue were playing with fire when they couldn’t bury their chances in the first period.
Hanover broke through on the power play in the second, and made it 2-0 when the Big Blue had a bad line change that led to a breakaway for Manning Morris. He didn’t miss it.
Hanover scored three more in the third, earning their spot in the title game Sunday afternoon.
Johnson said he wouldn’t trade this season, with this group of guys, for anything on the planet.
"It was an awesome run and if I could redo it, I wouldn’t pick another group of guys. What a team. These guys are amazing and made my senior year one to remember for sure," the goalie said.
Senior defenseman Dom Codispoti, who flattened a few Hanover forwards trying to crash the net, said it was a great ride for the Big Blue, the Division 3 North champs. It was a season filled with good memories.
"I love my guys. I would do anything for these guys," Codispoti said. "We went into the season not knowing what was going to happen, with the merger with the Salem guys, and what-not, but I love every single one of these guys. They’re all a bunch of great players and great guys, and I’ll never forget the run we had."
Swampscott finishes up the 2017-2018 season 13-6- 6. Members of the team included: Ian Roddie, Dan Johnson, Jake Sweeney, Michael Eisner, Thomas O’Keefe, Casey Williamson, Chris Henriques, Jack Poska, Steve Santanello, Thomas Callahan, Tyler Sellar, Griffin Bruhm, Brett Benoit, Tim Farley, Matt Griffin, Dom Codispoti, Chris Barnes, Louis Pilotte, Drew Olivieri, Zach Elwell and Conor Donovan.
Mike DeLisio, Dan Libby and J. J. Doherty assisted head coach Gino Faia on the bench.