The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys hockey team advanced to the Sunday championship round of the 20th annual Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Tournament with a 5-1 victory over Weston High School Saturday night in a game marred by a frightening injury to a Weston player in the opening minute.
Freshman defender George Herlihy took a big hit along the boards behind the MVRHS net at the 33-second mark and fell to the ice without moving. MVRHS athletic trainer Tania Laslovich was first to reach Herlihy. After a few minutes, Herlihy opened his eyes, began speaking and moving his limbs.
He was transported by ambulance to Martha’s Vineyard Regional Hospital, accompanied by his mother, Maria Herlihy. An official medical report has not been issued but midway through the game several Weston parents in the stands reported receiving text messages with a photo of Herlihy sitting up in bed with what was thought to be a concussion.
After a 45-minute delay to treat Herlihy’s injury, the game resumed as a hard-hitting, high-intensity affair marked by numerous scuffles and 16 penalties, including 10 on the Vineyarders, including a 4 minute major on Hunter Ponte for the Herlihy hit.
Weston and MVRHS play each other every year at the tournament and the games are generally relatively courteous and close affairs, but on Saturday night, along with 15 bad behavior (e.g.roughing, slashing, cross-checking, unsportsmanlike) penalties, animus was apparent. No puck went unchallenged, no check was unfinished.
The Vineyarders dominated play in this one despite missing five players to injury and illness, including captain Ian Trance, Jack Murray, Aiden Marek, Jackson Pachico and and Mike Wallace.
Younger players stepped up, such as sophomore Logan Araujo who played out of his mind on both ends all night. And it didn’t hurt that goalkeeper Michael Metcalf was steady and stellar in the Vineyard net, turning away more than 25 Weston shots.
Colby Zarba put the Vineyarders on the board first at 7:21 of the first period, finishing a nifty move after picking up a loose puck at center ice. Weston tied it nearly three minutes later at 10:18, ending first period scoring.
The Vineyarders took the lead at 8:20 in the second on Colin Henke’s tipin off a nice feed from Kenny Hatt at the point. Willson Slayton made it 3-1 at 12:38 on assists from Zarba and Ponte.
The Vineyarders continued their attacking style in third period, scoring just 1:17 into the frame on a laser from the point by Hoffie Hearn on a feed from Hunter Meader. Henry Pardo finished the scoring at 6:17 off a deft give and go feed from Pete Gillis.
This edition of the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Tournament is likely to be long-remembered, not just for the MVRHS-Weston battle but also for a classic three-overtime tilt between Attleboro High School and Old Rochester Regional(ORR) earlier in the day, Attleboro scored with 1:56 left in the third overtime for a 2-1 win.
ORR plays Weston in the consolation round on Sunday at 11 am. The Vineyarders play Attleboro for the championship at 1 pm.