The Martha’s Vineyard Girls Youth Hockey Ospreys spend a lot of their ice time learning their game. Last weekend they showed what they’ve learned, trimming two tough York, Maine, Wildcats 14-under squads with three victories and a tie over three days of head-to-head play.
And if you spotted Islander girls varsity hockey coach John Fiorito around the MV Ice Arena with an added bounce in his step last weekend, he had reason to feel good. The work put in by the kids and their Island coaches, including Osprey’s coach, Nell Coogan, and her clan, Mr. Fiorito and others, was on clear display.
There were outstanding individual performances, and we’ll get to those in a minute, but the picture you got this weekend was of a group of middle school players who have learned how to play the game successfully: backchecking, overlapping, headmanning, and defensive positioning; stuff that wins games but doesn’t show up in the box score.
Some of the stuff that did show up in the box score was eye-popping. For example,
Osprey Izzy Blake had eight goals on the weekend, including five in one game on Saturday. Emily Coogan scored four times, including a hat trick on Saturday, and six other Ospreys lit the lamp, including Reese Malowski, Lila Mikos (2), Clara Mikos, Lizzie Robinson, Lily Moran, and Marin Gillis.
Five of the six games were squeakers, one- or two-goal affairs, kept that way on Sunday by the goaltending of Bailen Darack, who exhibited uncommon athleticism and poise for a developing player, and earned a 2-0 shutout in the penultimate tilt. In the final game of the weekend, goalie Sarah Hartenstine blanked the ’Cats by the same scoreline.
Coaches created two split squads each for weekend play, including Osprey White and Purple and York White and Blue.
On Friday night, Osprey Purple and York White knotted at 2-2 in the early game. Lily Moran and Marin Gillis provided the 2-1 margin in an Osprey White win over York Blue.
On Saturday, Ms. Blake erupted for five goals to lead Osprey Purple past York White by an 8-1 count in the early game. Ms. Coogan dropped a hat trick on York Blue in the nightcap, as Osprey White took a 3-2 verdict.
The Ospreys pitched shutouts on Sunday, winning both contests by 2-0 scores.
The weekend tournament was a first for the Ospreys, and got a thumbs-up from the York visitors. “This has been a great weekend for the kids and for us,” York Assistant Coach Jeff Wright said.
For Kathryn Mikos, whose daughters Ava, Lila, and Clara play for the Ospreys, the competition was refreshing. “We practice most of the time, and pay half-ice games, so it’s exciting for the kids to compete on the full rink surface,” Ms. Mikos said from her vantage point in the scorer’s box, where she alternately kept score and dispensed both coffee and information to chilled refs, coaches, and reporters.
Osprey Coach Nell Coogan said the rivalry will continue. “They have invited us up to Maine later this year or early next season, so we are looking into that as a possibility. We play Norwood in February [holiday weekend], and that is always competitive and fun, and divided into more age groups [U-10, U-12, and U-14] … and we will keep looking for teams. But overall, we had a blast; the York girls [who were missing some talented skaters this past weekend due to youth hockey conflicts] had a blast, so yes, we will do this again.”
“We have a great mix of kids: youth hockey players, former youth hockey players, figure skaters who want to try hockey too — a diverse group. Just such a great weekend for our young female athletes. So many parents, refs, and coaches to thank: Chad Metell, Lauren Goethals, Michelle Cacchiotti, Tasha Snowden, Will Coogan, Brian Donnelly, and Becca Solway for coaching, youth hockey (Joe Mikos and Geoghan Coogan especially), and head girls varsity Coach John Fiorito were tremendously supportive,” Ms. Coogan said.