Scarborough High goalie AJ Swett has stopped 68 of 69 shots for a .986 save percentage over three playoff games. The Red Storm play Lewiston on Saturday for the girls’ hockey state championship. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Ariella “AJ” Swett, thought about the question for a second. Does she consider herself quirky? Goalies are often described that way. They have to be to allow themselves to be pelted with hard rubber pucks over and over, right?

“Meg, would you say I’m quirky?” Swett asked Meagan Donovan, her teammate on the Scarborough High girls’ hockey team. “I’d say I’m a little bit crazy. I’ve got a lot of energy.”

Donovan stopped and smiled.

“No chance!” she yelled, slapping her goalie on the back.

No matter how Swett describes herself, it’s certain that she’s nothing but comfortable and confident in goal. On Wednesday, she made 24 saves to help the Red Storm defeat Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, 3-1, in the South regional final.

Scarborough (12-5-1) will face Lewiston (16-2) in the state championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday at Troubh Ice Arena in Portland. The teams met twice in the regular season, with the Red Storm winning 4-2 on Dec. 15 and Lewiston responding with a 3-0 victory on Feb. 3.


Swett is one of eight semifinalists for the Becky Schaffer Award, presented annually to Maine’s top high school senior in girls’ hockey. During the regular season, she had a .950 save percentage, a 1.20 goals-against average and five shutouts.

Over three playoff games in the regional tournament, Swett was even better. She stopped 68 of 69 shots for a .986 save percentage and got another shutout in last Saturday’s 1-0, triple-overtime win over Cheverus/Old Orchard Beach/Windham/Kennebunk in the semifinals.

“She’s our rock back there. I’ll say it every game until the end, she keeps us in the games we need to win,” said Scarborough Coach Taylor Fowler. “Without her, we wouldn’t be winning those games. She’s been huge for us, day in, day out. She’s just so consistent.

“She always comes up big when we need her to,” said Evelyn Boardman, Scarborough’s leading scorer with 21 goals and seven assists. “She’s very energetic and happy.”

Scott Rousseau, coach of the Cheverus co-op team that beat Scarborough twice in the regular season before losing that marathon playoff game, calls Swett the Red Storm’s best player.

“She is very athletic but combines her athleticism with sound goaltending fundamentals.  She tracks the puck well, anticipates plays, and is always square to the shooter,” Rousseau said. “That preparation allows her to have very good command of her rebounds and has her set for when plays break down and she needs to rely on her athleticism to scramble.”


Rousseau also noted that Swett is left-handed and wears her glove on her right hand, a rarity that can be a tough adjustment for inexperienced high school shooters.

Swett made 40 saves in the triple-overtime win over the Cheverus co-op on Saturday night, and 24 saves in the regional final. Midway through the second period of Wednesday’s game, Swett stuffed Cape’s Libby Hooper on a breakaway with a nifty glove save to preserve the Red Storm’s three-goal lead. With the opponents buzzing around the Scarborough net late in the game, Swett was cool and under control.

“I like the mental part of the game,” Swett said.

Swett began skating when she was 4, but didn’t become a goalie until she was 10. On a team that was struggling to win, Swett volunteered to go in net.

“I said I wanted to try it. The first time I tried it, I loved it. I told my coach, I’m doing this for good,” Swett said.

Swett’s biggest asset as a goalie is her attitude, Fowler said.

“You find some goalies who get kind of down when they get scored on, and she just kind of bounces back and doesn’t let it bother her,” Fowler said.

Swett plans to play in the girls’ hockey all-star game Feb. 28 at Family Ice Center in Falmouth, where the winner of the Schaffer Award will be announced. After that, she’ll focus on softball, where she’s the center fielder for the Red Storm. Swett plans to continue her softball career at Simmons College in Boston.

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