The Martha’s Vineyard Mariners and Somerset-Watuppa-Swansea (SWS) Chiefs laced up the skates for a Southern New England Hockey Conference (SNEHC) PeeWee Smythe Division tilt Sunday morning at the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena.
MV started the season with six consecutive wins in the Wales East Division before the league bumped the team up to the tougher Smythe. Since then, the Vineyard team has posted a 1-5 mark. The Chiefs, meanwhile, came into the contest with a record of 8-2.
The Mariners got off to a hot start and a gave a solid effort throughout, but the Chiefs rallied with a four-goal second period and left the Island with a 5-3 win.
Liam Conley put the Mariners up 1-0 just 2:25 into the game by scoring on a breakaway. The speedy forward gained control of the puck at center ice, outskated the Chiefs’ defense, and slid the puck inside the left post while falling to the ice.
Although Vineyard netminder Zachary Mathias made a trio of excellent saves, the Mariners carried the play for the majority of the period, and struck again with 1:06 left before the first intermission. Cole Lambert started the play from the point, and Aiden Conley, Liam’s twin brother, put the puck home from the slot. Lambert and Wyatt Nicholson earned assists.
The 2-0 Vineyard lead held through the first six minutes of the second period until Jackson Harney circled the Mariners net and passed to Jacob Almeida, who zipped the puck inside the right post to put SWS on the board.
From there, the Chiefs found another gear and lit the lamp twice in 25 seconds to take a 3-2 lead with 6:03 left in the period. Liam Conley nearly got one back for MV by snaking his way through the Chiefs defense and breaking in alone, but his shot went wide of the left post.
With 3:30 remaining in the second period, Zachary Mathias made the save of the game, flashing the glove on a whistling wrister from the right circle, and moments later, stopped an SWS breakaway. A Vineyard power play late in the period did little to slow down the Chiefs’ attack, and the visitors scored their fourth goal of the period, shorthanded, with 1:51 left.
The Mariners responded with a goal only 37 seconds into the third period after Cole Lambert jammed the puck into the cage through a half-dozen bodies lining the crease. Unfortunately for the home side, Tristan Burkett scored an insurance goal for the Chiefs two minutes later to seal the win.
Mariners player recognized
On Nov. 15, SNEHC named Mariners Purple player Hunter Johnson of the Squirt Wales East the player of the week.