The Martha’s Vineyard boys varsity hockey team played one good game and one not-so-good game during the 15th Annual Fairleigh S. Dickinson tournament this weekend at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena, but the result was the same in both games: a loss.
The Vineyarders had perhaps their toughest challenge of the season Saturday night against Lynnfield, the number-one ranked team this year in Eastern Massachusetts Division II hockey. The home team played well, but eventually lost 2-0 to the powerful Pioneers.
Coach Matt Mincone said his team played strong hockey most of the game and made only two mistakes; one a positioning mistake where they left the Pioneers’ top scorer all alone and the second when a defenseman took the puck out of the zone and turned it over. Both led to Lynnfield goals.
The coach said it was good for his team to play such a strong opponent as they head into the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) tournament next week. “They were very fast up and down the ice, and I think it was a good experience for our players,” he said.
“After the game the kids were real down in the locker room,” Coach Mincone said. “They wanted [to win] this tournament. I thought it would be a little bit of a wakeup call for everyone the next day back, but it’s tough to recover in just one day after a loss like that.”
The Vineyarders took to the ice just 16 hours later against Masconomet, who lost 5-2 to Dennis-Yarmouth on Saturday. The Vineyarders clearly came out flat against the Chieftains, perhaps still suffering a hangover effect from the tough loss the previous night, and went on to lose 9-4.
The Chieftains scored goals just nine seconds into the game, then again 22 seconds into the game, and again two minutes into the game.
Just like that the Vineyarders were down 3-0 in the opening minutes and never really recovered. Senior Defenseman Charles Goldthwait scored with 6:45 left in the period to make it 3-1, thanks to an assist from junior Shay Hill.
But the Chieftains scored two more times before the end of the period; once on a short-handed goal to take a 5-1 lead. Vincent Zingarelli had a hat trick in the first period for the Chieftains and Danny Crowther had two goals.
The Vineyarders showed signs of life early in the second period when Shay Hill scored unassisted when the Chieftains turned the puck over near their own net. But the Chieftains scored twice in the next few minutes, including another short-handed goal, to dampen any thoughts of a comeback.
Four different Vineyarders scored in the loss: Goldthwait, Hill, Nelson Dickson, and Brian Fraser. Zingarelli led the Chieftains with five goals.
Coach Mincone did not mince words after the tough loss Sunday. “They beat us like we didn’t belong in the rink,” he said. “We’re going to have to play better than that moving forward.”
The Vineyarders have one more game — against Sandwich on Friday at 6:30 pm — before the MIAA tournament begins next week. The tournament brackets will be released this weekend, and the Vineyarders are expected to be seeded between 4th and 7th, depending on the result of Friday’s game.
Coach Mincone said he was glad there was one more game on the schedule before the state tourney. “We could change everything on Friday and go out there and have a positive game and get it together,” he said. “I think we can show that we are going to be a dangerous team for anyone to play. But still, no matter what we will be a considered an underdog in just about any game. We are going to go up against bigger programs with a bigger pool of players. Some years I have 25 players who try out, and some of these teams have 30 freshman. That lack of depth showed up this weekend, I think, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be a tough out in the tournament.”
The Vineyarders are also facing some injury problems heading into the final stretch, as freshman goalie Noah Kleinhenz was injured in Saturday’s game against Lynnfield. It is unclear if he will return for Friday’s game against Sandwich or for the state tournament.