One up, two down for Island skaters

Darren Gazaille looks for a rebound in the first period against Framingham. — Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard boys hockey team reached the halfway point of the season, playing three games in four nights.

Call it the story of the good, the bad, and the respectable.

The Islanders started the week with their finest effort of the season against Bridgewater-Raynham, followed that with perhaps their worst against archrivals Hanover, and finished up with a hard-fought but tough loss to division one Framingham.

Last Wednesday night, the Vineyarders completed a home and home sweep of the Bridgewater-Raynham Trojans with a resounding 5-0 victory at Bridgewater Arena.

Tad Gold lit the lamp for a hat trick, with Chris Davies and Matt Flynn chipping in a goal apiece. Trey Rasmussen had two assists and Mike Capen stopped 16 shots.

“It was an absolute team effort,” head coach Matt Mincone said. “That’s textbook hockey, the way we want them to play it. We skated the whole game.”

Such was not the case two nights later in Hanover. The Indians, motivated, no doubt, by Martha’s Vineyard’s three-game sweep last season, came out firing and put Martha’s Vineyard in a two-goal hole.

Jock Cooperrider and Darren Gazaille got Martha’s Vineyard level in period two, but Hanover won it with 1:49 left in the game.

“Not one player played decent; they overlooked the whole game,” Coach Mincone said. “Hanover played with heart.”

“The rival games you have to get up for because they are up for you.”

Saturday night at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena, the Vineyarders faced powerful Framingham High.

The Flyers, a solid division one program, were four lines deep and used to playing top-flight competition every game.

The Vineyarders needed their ‘A’ game to win this one. They got high marks indeed for effort, but fell short on execution in a 4-1 loss.

The first period was terrific – fast, exciting, and hard-hitting. The Flyers tormented Martha’s Vineyard on the opening shift, swarming around goalie Mike Capen and drawing a Henry Smith penalty.

The Vineyarders killed the penalty with aplomb and followed that with an impressive power play, but the period would end scoreless.

Framingham’s Kyle Donnelly scored 49 seconds into the second, but Colby Gouldrup answered two minutes later for Martha’s Vineyard, slapping in a feed from Darren Gazaille after Chris Davies clanged a shot off the post.

Strangely enough, the Vineyarders played some of their best hockey with experienced defenders Matt Flynn and David Flanders in the box serving matching roughing and misconduct penalties.

Gouldrup and Brooks Billingham stepped up and did yeoman work.

The Flyers closed out the period up 2-1, however, after Tyler Byrne scooped a high backhander over Capen’s shoulder.

Try as they did in the final period, the Islanders’ consistent pressure never drew further reward. Too many Vineyard shots floated harmlessly into Flyer goalie’s Cam Chassie’s chest.

Framingham weathered the storm and added two more goals to put the game away.

Martha’s Vineyard outshot Framingham 26-24.

“It was a good effort, but we made too many defensive mistakes in our zone,” Coach Mincone said.

Three Flyers goals came from rebounds after Mike Capen made the initial save.

Martha’s Vineyard (6-3-1) next plays in Gloucester on Saturday night, hoping to avenge one of their two losses from last season.

Coach Mincone is hoping for consistency the rest of the way. “We keep taking five steps up, then six down,” he said.

Following the Framingham loss, the coach also wanted his players to raise their expectations. “Our guys were like, ‘We skated with them [Framingham], that’s good.’ No, it’s not good. I didn’t put them on the schedule to lose. This is a good time for us to have a little humble pie and go and win out the rest of the season.”