The Martha’s Vineyard Travel Mites concluded a magical season by winning the Cape and Islands League championship last weekend in South Dennis.
To do so, the Islanders had to conquer two foes who had given them fits all season — arch-rival Nantucket and the Hetland Panthers. Coming into the playoffs, Martha’s Vineyard had three losses and one tie against each.
Saturday at Tony Kent Arena, things would be different.
In contrast to the previous four meetings, M.V. dominated play for the majority of the Nantucket game. The Vineyard also got some huge saves from goalie Oliver Lively, one of them a game-saver with two minutes left in the third period.
The teams were deadlocked 2-2 after regulation play, but Will Brugiere scored early in sudden death overtime to cap off a 3-2 Vineyard win and bounce Nantucket out of the tournament. Brugiere finished with two goals and Micah Simmons scored once.
Sunday, the Vineyarders returned to Tony Kent Arena and trounced Hetland 5-1 to win the championship. Again, Oliver Lively was superb in goal. Will Brugiere and Liam Marek netted two goals apiece. Jack Lionette tallied once.
In other youth hockey news, the Travel Mites weren’t the only Vineyard entry skating in playoff action at Tony Kent Arena last weekend. The Peewees faced off with Nantucket on Saturday and came up on the short end of a 4-1 score.
Shay Sullivan set up Jacob Gundersen with a beautiful pass to give M.V. an early lead but Nantucket answered quickly with two goals. In the final period, M.V. never quit, and kept their fans on their feet, but they couldn’t find the net. Coaches Dave Pizanno and Peter Zonn were happy with their team’s effort. Auguste Pizzano, Kylie Hatt and Shay Sullivan played outstanding defense. Goalies Zach Fullin and Cathal Robinson were stellar between the pipes and made some dazzling saves.
Nantucket also prevailed over the Vineyard’s Neponset Valley League team, skating to a 5-3 win Friday night in Raynham.
At the Martha’s Vineyard Arena, the Bantam A team laced up the skates for a three-game series with a powerful AA team from Watertown, Connecticut, in preparation for the State Championship games next weekend.
The Islanders took it on the chin in the first two meetings, losing 6-1 and 3-1, but rallied in the final contest. The teams were tied 3-3 late in the third period, but Watertown earned the series sweep on a goal with seven ticks left on the clock.
Following the loss, coach Dan Merry praised the play of goalie Wyatt Jenkinson.
Despite the defeats, the games against Watertown served as solid preparation for the Bantams as they begin defense of their state championship this weekend in Waltham. M.V. skates against Marblehead on Friday at 7:50 pm and faces off with North Reading on Saturday at 10:30 am.