A banner year, but a tourney loss, for Vineyard girls skaters

Kassidy Bettencourt breaks away in the first period against Latin Academy.
Photo by Robin Davies

Kassidy Bettencourt breaks away in the first period against Latin Academy.

After another banner year in which the MVRHS girls’ hockey team qualified for the state tournament for the second year in a row, the Vineyarders lost 4-2 to Latin Academy on Monday, in the opening round of the tourney to end their season. Last year the Vineyarders qualified for a berth in the MIAA tournament for the first time in the program’s 15-year history. This year they finished the season with a record of 10-7-3 to again punch their ticket to the tourney.

The 18th-seeded Vineyarders traveled to South Boston to play the opening round of the MIAA tournament against 15th-seeded Latin Academy, a team they defeated and tied earlier in the season.

This was the first year that Latin Academy qualified for the MIAA tournament.

Coach John Fiorito said a number of Vineyard fans accompanied the team on the trip, and easily outnumbered the Dragon fans at the South Boston Murphy Rink. Some showed up in full purple and white regalia.

The game remained scoreless through the first period, and the Vineyarders lit the lamp first on a goal by Sydney Davies with assists Callie Jackson and Emily Hammett.

The Dragons tied the game just over a minute later to knot the score at 1-1. The Vineyarders took back the lead with 5:34 left in the period on a short-handed and unassisted goal by Aubrey Ashmun, a sophomore and the team’s leading scorer.

But the Dragons exploded for three goals in the third period to put the game on ice. After the game the coach congratulated the players on a great game and stellar season.

“They played great, not just against Latin Academy but all season, and they should hold their heads high,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls.”

He said overall the future of girls hockey on the Vineyard is bright. There is now an effort to establish girls Under-10 and Under-14 youth hockey teams. Previously girls who wanted to play youth hockey had to play on the boys’ teams.

The team will say good-bye to six seniors overall: Emily Cimeno, Kassidy Bettencourt, Tayla Kuehne, Skylah Forend, and goalies Texe Craig and Katy Smith. The loss of so many key players, especially the two goalies, will be hard to overcome.

“We’ve been sort of blessed to have not one but two talented goalies,” coach Fiorito said. “They will leave big shoes to fill.”

Reflecting on the past two seasons, he gave all the credit to the players. “We have 20-plus wins over the past two years: this team has come a long way in a short time,” he said. “The seniors have really led the way in transforming this program into what it has become. I hope they realize that.

“The loss may hurt a little for a little while, but they should be proud of what they accomplished.”