In a Saturday afternoon match against their island rivals at MV Arena, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys varsity hockey team unleashed its offensive firepower and defeated the Nantucket Whalers by a score of 9-1.
The first period began with a bang when senior captain Austin Morley’s near post shot slid past the Nantucket goalie after only 3 minutes into the game. Martha’s Vineyard skated well and kept possession for the majority of the first period, limiting Nantucket to very few offensive opportunities. With 4 minutes remaining in the first, the Vineyard dialed up the pressure. Off three consecutive face-offs, Emerson Mahoney, Joe Davies and Nainoa Cooperrider all had shots on the Nantucket net.
Emerson Mahoney doubled the Vineyard’s lead only 3 minutes into the second half following a slick pass from Austin Morley. The Vineyarders continued to pressure the Whalers and with 2:49 left in the second period, Jonas Lukowitz received the puck at the blue line, skated through the Nantucket defense and slotted the puck into the corner of the net for a beautiful unassisted goal, increasing the home team’s lead to 3-0.
Just 72 seconds later, Nantucket got one back after Vineyard goalie Nick Kent’s save ricocheted into the path of a Whaler.
With a score of 3-1 entering the third and final period, Nantucket increased the pressure. After just 30 seconds, Martha’s Vineyard goalie Nick Kent was forced into making a double save that kept his team’s two goal lead intact and changed the momentum of the game.
The Vineyard responded to the saves with tremendous gusto, scoring six goals in the final 14 minutes of the game.
A scramble in front of the net allowed Tristan Araujo to find an open Emerson Mahoney, and he would not be denied, scoring his second goal, and increasing the Vineyard lead to 4-1. The Vineyarders next goal came 150 seconds later when Greg McCarron slotted a goal through a pile of skaters that had fallen in front of the Nantucket goal.
During the celebration, Vineyard forward Steven Brown and a Nantucket defender had words for each other but were quickly separated by an official. Following that incident, the remainder of the hockey game was scrappy. The refs called several penalties and the players had several tangles, none escalating further than a shove and a shout.
With 11:29 left in the third period, Barry Macdonald’s goal put the Vineyard up 6-1. To the delight of the supporting student section, Nantucket’s goalie was replaced with their backup to a cacophony of cheers rising from the stands.
The prettiest goal of the game was unquestionably Tristan Araujo’s that put the Vineyard up 7-1. The sophomore defenseman received the puck at Nantucket’s blue line, fought off pressure from two Nantucket defenders and slid the puck through the legs of Nantucket’s goalie, making it look effortless.
Freshman forward Jacob Gundersen scored with 4:22 left in the game. The final nail in the Whalers coffin was hammered in by junior forward Jeremey Mercier with 77 seconds left to play.
The Vineyarders will look to continue this dominant performance when they take on Coyle & Cassidy at 5 pm, Wednesday at MV Arena.