Top-ranked college play kicked off a weekend of hockey nirvana at the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena last weekend, as Northeast Top 10 Division Three Curry College and Salve Regina each won twice at the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank College Hockey Showdown.
The biannual event, in its second year, brings in top college players, literally from Maine to California and from Europe and Canada, in a showcase event that delights Island hockey buffs, raises money for local charities, and provides a holiday weekend boost to the winter Island economy.
Salve Regina University, (Newport, R.I), ranked second among D3 regional programs at 12-3-2, beat (4-11-1) Pennsylvania’s Neumann College 2-1 in overtime on Friday night. Earlier, fifth-ranked (11-5-1) Curry College, of Milton, Ma., cruised by (3-9-1) Westfield State University (Westfield) by a 5-1 count after an early struggle.
In the Saturday finales, Salve beat Westfield State 5-3 and Curry thumped Neumann 8-3 in a raucous affair featuring a dozen penalties and five power-play goals.
Island youth hockey players were glued, wide-eyed, to the furious, you-missed-it-if-you-blinked action, and saw some stars in the making, including Curry freshman Michael Snow and sophomore Zack White. Medford native Snow had three goals and five assists on the weekend. White, from Milford, Conn., had three goals and two assists.
Neumann sniper junior assistant captain Joe Mitchell led all scorers with four goals on the weekend.
The Showdown is a feel-good affair for all participants, including the players. A group of Salve players, lounging in the stands before the high school girls Nan Rheault Tournament finals, were all about the event.
“Yeah, absolutely, we’ll come back. This is fabulous,” they chorused, while admitting that continuance of the on-and-off ferry schedule could work in their favor. “We’d stay an extra night, no problem. No classes tomorrow,” one player said with a grin.
And why not, with help from Island businesses including the MV Ice Arena and the Wharf, and local hockeydom officials, including Matt Mincone, coach of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys varsity squad.
M.V. Savings Bank president James Anthony seems to have realized his hope “to infuse the winter off-season with an exhilarating opportunity for the Island’s youth to experience college-level hockey, and to support our local retail establishments and businesses.”