8th Nan Rheault one to remember

Alexa Fisher sprays some ice cutting around Wilmington’s Meghan Pickett. — Ralph Stewart

The 8th annual Nan Rheault Invitational tournament featured some of the best girls hockey ever played in these parts.

When all was said and done last weekend at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena, Cathedral High of Springfield won the varsity tournament and Mount St. Charles Academy of Rhode Island won the jayvee bracket, but it was the play of the home teams that stole the show.

Both the varsity and junior varsity Vineyarders won their openers in thrilling overtime shootouts and finished as tournament runners-up.

The proceedings started Saturday afternoon with the mighty Mounties of St. Charles taming the Newton North Tigers 8-0.

What followed was a classic between the jayvee Vineyarders and Needham.

Despite dominating long stretches of the game, Martha’s Vineyard trailed 2-0 after two periods.

Early in the third, with Needham on the tail end of a power play, Rilla Hammett stole the puck at center ice, raced toward the Rocket goal, and fired in a snap-wrister to make it 2-1.

The Purple poured on the pressure to no avail until Leah Selby stuffed in a rebound at the left post to tie it with 3:48 left. Olivia Cimeno got the assist.

The game remained tied until the end of regulation and through five minutes of sudden-death overtime.

Thus, matters were decided by a shootout. Each team picked three players to skate in alone on the opposing goalie. The first 13 shooters failed to score – seven for Needham and six for Martha’s Vineyard

Enter Leah Selby who calmly zapped in a ten-foot wrister.

The teams traded misses and it was left to Vineyard goalie Amanda Rose to thwart one last Rocket. She did just that, capping a great performance and sending Martha’s Vineyard into Sunday’s final.

How to top that? Well, with another shootout, of course.

Following Cathedral’s 9-2 win over Peabody. The Martha’s Vineyard varsity faced off with defending champion Wilmington.

Martha’s Vineyard skated and forechecked tirelessly as the teams played to a 1-1 tie in regulation.

Alexa Fisher got the lone goal on the power play at 8:07 of the second period by alertly acting as a trailer on Phoebe Kelleher’s shot from the right circle.

Meagan O’ Rourke and Kelleher earned assists.

Once again, overtime was scoreless. The ensuing shootout was even longer than the first. Twelve players from each side took their best shots.

Through six shooters apiece, the score was 3-3, with Alexa Fisher, Gillian O’ Callaghan, and Maggie Johnson scoring for Martha’s Vineyard

Finally, Emma Forbes, shooter number 23, won the duel with her stick and goalie Jaime Forend, so brilliant throughout, did the same with her pads.

Officially, the result goes in the books as a tie, but to the Martha’s Vineyard girls (0-9-2), it was indeed their first win this season.

“It was incredibly exciting, worth every early morning practice, worth it all, just a great game overall,” coach Sam Sherman said after the shootout.

Sunday’s championships didn’t go Martha’s Vineyard’s way, but both teams performed admirably.

The Martha’s Vineyard jayvees played with grit and determination, but Mount St. Charles was simply too fast, too deep, and too skilled to be troubled by anyone.

The varsity final was an excellent contest, with Cathedral pulling out a 5-3 win.

The Panthers brought only eight players to the Martha’s Vineyard Arena for the weekend, but they could all skate, stickhandle, and shoot with great skill.

The teams traded goals three times. Shelby Ives scored Martha’s Vineyard’s first at 4:06 into the second period off a goalmouth scramble with assists to Gillian O’ Callaghan and Alexa Fisher. Emma Forbes countered the next Cathedral goal to make it 2-2. Olivia Hart got the assist.

Celia Mercier fired in a penalty shot 4:30 into the third period for the final Vineyard goal.

Jaime Forend was again outstanding in net, stopping 51 shots.

Barnstable 3, Martha’s Vineyard 0

The Red Raiders won a make-up game Monday at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena, despite a tremendous effort from goalie Jaime Forend.