The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys hockey team’s season ended March 1 with a 3-1 loss to Medfield High School in the Division 2 south regional state tournament semifinals at Asiaf Ice Arena in Brockton.
Some league observers made Medfield the favorite to win the state championship, but the Vineyarders were brewing an upset halfway through the fast-paced game, following a first period goal by senior Brian Fraser, set up by linemate seniors Tyson Araujo and Sam Burke.
The Warriors, however, struck for two goals eight seconds apart at the eight-minute mark of the second period to take a two-goal lead, adding an insurance goal with less than seven minutes left in the third period. The Vineyarders had some legitimate scoring chances late but clever Warrior goalie Matthew Malvese Jr. made the stops, steering several rebounds to wingers to begin rushes the other way.
Both teams played disciplined system hockey although the speed and aggressive backchecking of the Medfield forwards gradually forced the Vineyarders to abandon their favored neutral ice passing game and dump and chase the puck into the Medfield zone.
Medfield completely dominated play for the first ten minutes of the game, peppering Vineyarder netminder Wyatt Jenkinson with at least 10 of the two dozen shots he faced in the game. Wyatt held the fort until the Vineyarders got their legs going and scored on a nice setup and finish by the Vineyarder top line to take a 1-0 lead to the finish of the first period.
The second period was relentless, exhausting up and down action that favored Medfield only
slightly until the Vineyarder roof fell in with eight minutes left. The remainder of the game was a close checking grinder with dozens of individual battles for puck possession along the boards and behind both nets.
The Vineyarders recorded a 7 to 6 shot advantage in the third period but were frustrated by a
smothering Warrior defense, particularly during a late Vineyard power play on the game’s only penalty.
After the game, coach Matt Mincome was subdued but proud of the Vineyarder effort. “Our kids left it all out there,” he said, noting that he made several line switches, including playing Emerson Mahoney and Andrew Wiley on the first line for a few shifts to rest players. “We just couldn’t beat a very good team today. I’m proud of these kids. They were running on fumes at the end.
“And we were trying to get matchups we wanted. Tough to do since they had last call,” he said. Hockey rules allow the home team, Medfield in this case, to designate its players on the ice after the visiting team has designated their players following a stoppage of play.
In the time-honored sports tradition, Coach Mincone was thinking about next season, shortly after this one ended.
“We’re losing a lot of talent, no question, but we have a lot of good young players who’ll help next year,” he said.