And then there were two.
The 33 teams playing in the Eastern Mass. Division 3 boys hockey high school postseason are down to two: Swampscott and Hanover.
Swampscott won the North title with a 7-2 win over Wayland Sunday at the Tsongas Center in Lowell. Hanover took care of business earlier in the day with a 6-0 shutout of Rockland at Gallo Arena in Bourne.
From the Cape to the North Shore, it’s on: The mythical Eastern Mass. championship for the right to go to the TD Garden and take on the Central/Western Mass. semifinal winner in the state championship game Sunday, March 18.
Each program is familiar with that building: Swampscott (13-5-6) went there in 2013 in its best season to date, losing to Westfield. Hanover (23-0-1) lost in the state finals there in 2014 and won in 2016 and has a rich history of state success.
The EMass D3 semifinal will be Wednesday night at Stoneham Arena at 6 p.m.
Hanover Firing on All Cylinders
The Indians had three shutouts out of its four wins in the South tourney, outscoring foes, 23-1. They beat Abington, 9-0, Bishop Stang, 2-1, Ashland, 6-0, and Rockland, 6-0.
The South championship between No. 1 Hanover and No. 3 Rockland (20-3-3) Sunday at Gallo pitted two of the division’s best teams since 2014: Hanover’s now 16-2 in South tourney play since then, Rockland 9-5.
But this was all Hanover.
Zach Taylor (two), Connor Morris (two), Lucas Lanagan and Nick O’Sullivan had Hanover’s goals against Rockland. Kevin Chandler got the shutout win for Hanover, which now has eight shutouts on the season.
Hanover’s been perfect since December. It’s only blemish was a 1-1 tie with D2 Canton Dec. 10.
Taylor (two), Lanagan, Sam Perkins (two) and Morris Manning had the goals in the win over Ashland in the South semis.
Big Blue Coming Up Very Big
Swampscott hadn’t won a postseason game since its Garden run in 2013 coming into this postseason.
They’ve exorcised the demons pretty empatically here in 2018 with four straight wins and the North championship with a seven-goal performance against Wayland Sunday afternoon.
Swampscott was the No. 8 seed out of 12 in the North. The Big Blue are calling their tourney journey the Revenge Tour because they beat No. 1 seeded Lowell in the quarterfinals, one year after Lowell did the same thing to No. 1 Swampscott in 2017.
It started with a victory over Revere/Malden (4-2), then continued with Lowell (3-2), Lynn (3-2) and now Wayland.
Wayland, the No. 11 seed, was the hottest team in the North coming into the game with an 8-1-1 mark in its last 10 games. But Swampscott’s pretty hot, too. The Big Blue is now 8-1-3 in its last 12 games heading into its Eastern Mass. showdown with Hanover.
Against Wayland, Drew Olivieri (two empty-netters), Connor Donovan, Brett Benoit (two), Stevie Santanello and Chris Henriques had the goals. Wayland’s Riley Bonner had a goal to make it 2-1, but Swampscott’s Dan Johnson was solid between the pipes (34 saves).
Donovan had the game-winner for Swampscott in the semifinal against Lynn, and he added another in the matchup between the Northeastern Conference neighbors. Benoit also scored.