Martha’s Vineyard Mites are hockey champs

Youth hockey Mites travel team wins the title at Needham.

Youth hockey Mites travel team wins the title at Needham.

It was a fantastic weekend for the Martha’s Vineyard Youth Hockey travel Mites, who beat Winchester to claim the championship of the Frank Bell Invitational Tournament, played at Needham. Each of the four games the Mites played was decided by fewer than two goals. The championship game was tied with two minutes to skate. Will Brugiere and Liam Marek put the Vineyard over the top. The final score was 4-2.

During the weekend, the Vineyarders beat the Needham Mites 5-3 on Saturday, then Milton, 6-4, and Winchester 5-4, on Saturday, before the championship contest Sunday.

Oliver Lively played goal in the first game and set the tone for goaltending for the weekend.The Vineyard used three different goalies, Oliver, Riley Sylvia, and Dylan Biggs. Dylan played two games in goal, including the championship game, in which only two goals got by him. Riley played a wonderful game in goal in the second game on Saturday, stopping three breakaways.

The Vineyard skaters played terrific defense, they were “in it to win it” on every shift, and they just plain got it done. The ice sheet at St. Sebastian’s is Olympic sized which means there is about 15 additional feet of width. For skaters between seven and nine years old, that’s quite a big change. Combine that added ice surface with evening swims in the hotel pool, and we expected to have some tired legs, but the skaters wouldn’t give in.

Will Bruguiere came up big in the weekend play. He scored 12 goals in all. Including the Mites’ 20 regular season games, eight tournament games, and two pre-season contests, Will scored more than 60 goals total.

Liam Marek broke a bone late in August, came back in December and furnished an immediate spark to team play. He had four goals in the tournament weekend. And Eli Gunderson, a defenseman, was the second leading scorer.

One weekend of competition remains left, a first-round showdown with the 12-1 Nantucket Mite team. The Vineyard tied them the last time they played, so players, coaches, and parents hope to keep the effort going and upset that Nantucket squad.