The boys varsity hockey team skated to a 3-0 lead and held on for a 4-3 win over visiting Somerset Berkley Saturday night in a contentious Eastern Athletic Conference opener.
The Vineyarders (4-1-1) went on the attack from the opening faceoff, outshooting the Raiders 8-1 in the first period. Tyson Araujo put the hosts in front, 7:10 into the game, by snapping a wrister inside the near post. Alexander Vukota assisted.
The Purple picked up where they left off in the second period. Andrew Carroll poked in a rebound, while falling prone to the ice, scoring on the power play at 3:13. Brian Fraser and Alexander Vukota assisted. The Vineyarders were flying and took a 3-0 lead at 5:52 as Brian Fraser finished off a 2 on 1 by zapping in a perfect feed from Tyson Araujo. Matt Davies had the other assist.
As the second period wound down, perhaps things were going a bit too easily. A game that threatened to become a blowout, got very uncomfortable for the hosts in a hurry. The Raiders, with only two shots on goal to their credit in the opening 27 minutes, put successive shots in the goal, 90 seconds apart, cutting the Vineyard lead to 3-2 heading into the third period.
With the game taking on an increasingly belligerent tone, Alexander Vukota gave the Vineyarders the insurance goal they ultimately needed to secure the two points. Taking the puck from the Vineyard blueline, the junior defenseman gathered a head of steam, cut to the net, and tucked the puck through the five hole with 6:27 left on the clock to make it 4-2.
Somerset Berkley would not go quietly. With penalties mounting on both sides in the fractious contest, the Raiders scored on the power play with 58 seconds left to make for a tense final minute but the Vineyarders hung on for the win.
M.V. hits the road for successive games, Wednesday at 4 pm against Bourne at the John Gallo Arena and Saturday at 6 pm in Raynham against EAC archrival Coyle Cassidy of Taunton.