The Vineyard boys’ varsity hockey team finally played its home opener Friday night, one month into the season after going 1-4 on the road.
They opened a four-game home stand against the Nantucket Whalers, a team playing in its first season at the varsity level. M.V. handed the Whalers a 4-0 blanking on New Year’s night in Nantucket and looked to complete a series sweep in the first-ever meeting between the inter-island rivals on Vineyard soil.
The Whalers had other ideas. Nantucket overturned a 2-0 second period deficit with three straight goals and settled for a 3-3 tie after Colby Gouldrup scored his second goal of the night for M.V. with 2:19 to play.
The game was slow to gel before a packed house at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena. Neither team was particularly sharp in the first period. The Vineyarders outshot Nantucket 10-1 and scored nine minutes in as Colby Gouldrup rushed in from center ice, turned on a burst of speed to split the Whaler defense and deked the Nantucket goalie left to right to put the hosts up 1-0.
M.V. made it 2-0 at 7:23 of the second period on Shay Hill’s rebound after Gouldrup attempted a wrap-around from behind the Whaler cage.
Then, the trouble started. With one minute left in the period and the Vineyard power play expiring, Codie Perry jumped on an errant pass in the Vineyard zone and scored to cut the M.V. lead to 2-1.
Nantucket came out confidently in period three and promptly tied the game on Jack Moran’s breakaway goal at 1:13. Six minutes later, the Whalers took the lead when Hunter Slade flipped the puck into the crease from the right boards past Vineyard goalie Mike Sylvia.
The Vineyarders came to life in the final minutes and Colby Gouldrup scored the equalizer by poking the puck through a maze of players in the crease.
Mike Sylvia made 17 saves for M.V., and Christian Lombardi stopped 26 shots for the Whalers.
The Purple were back on home ice Saturday afternoon for an Eastern Athletic Conference clash with Somerset. From the first drop of the puck, the Vineyarders had a noticeable spring in their skates and dominated in a 5-1 victory. Tyson Araujo scored a hat trick to lead M.V. in the win.
The Vineyarders jumped out in front five minutes into the game as Bobby Perry set up Araujo for his first goal.
Brother Tyler Araujo made it 2-0, 25 seconds into the second period following some nifty tic-tac-toe passing by Colby Gouldrup and Max Davies, who earned assists.
The elder Araujo turned playmaker and fed Gouldrup for goal three at 3:38.
Somerset fired back on the power play to draw within 3-1 at the second intermission, but the Blue Raiders would get no closer. Tyson Araujo scored on a wrister from the slot at 7:49 of the third period and iced his hat trick with an empty-netter.
Mike Sylvia was the winning netminder and each team had 24 shots.
Vineyard assistant coach Max Sherman praised the squad after the win. “Today was a full 45-minute effort. Every period, we won, and that’s what we had to do,” he said.
The Vineyarders were back in action Monday, for the third time in four days.
Dennis-Yarmouth came to town and got superb goaltending from Mike Lambais, who stopped all 36 Vineyard shots in a 3-0 win for the Dolphins.
M.V. is 2-5-1 and closed out their home stand against Franklin in a late game yesterday.
The Vineyarders named goaltender Mike Sylvia as player of the week. The MVRHS junior went 1-1-1 last week with a 2.00 goals against average.