High school hockey teams warm up

Tony DeBettencourt is roughed up by a band of Andover Golden Warriors as the puck squirts out. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys and girls hockey teams laced up the skates for a slate of preseason scrimmages at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena over the weekend. High school league competition begins later this month.

The boys hit the ice Friday night, for the first of three stiff tests against strong division one competition. The Needham Rockets, coming from a Super Eight appearance last season, humbled the home side 8-0. The Vineyarders simply couldn’t get the puck out of their own end and M.V. goalie Louis Jacobs-Walsh and his defense got a real workout.

Things didn’t get any easier Saturday afternoon, against defending Connecticut state champion Hamden.

Max Davies lit the lamp late in the third period for M.V., but the Green Dragons chalked up a 7-1 win.

In Saturday’s nightcap, the Vineyarders faced off against Andover and lost 7-0.

The contest of the weekend proved to be Needham against Hamden. The game was a rough and rowdy affair, played at breakneck speed. Needham prevailed 3-1.

Sunday, the spotlight shifted to the Vineyard girls, who debuted in a scrimmage with Needham. M.V. goalies Texe Craig and Katy Smith were sharp and held Needham’s firepower in check, especially in the first two periods, but the Lady Rockets pulled away in the third for a 4-0 win.

New head coach John Fiorito has brought over lessons learned from several years as the boys’ assistant coach and has the girls playing with intensity with their goal this season stated simply as “20 points.” That is total number of points required to make the state tournament in March. The team is also sporting a new tee-shirt with its entire 2010-11 schedule printed on the back with the words “a new beginning” written underneath.

The girls open their regular season Saturday at the MV Arena against Wilmington. Game time is 1pm.

The boys are away for nine straight games, three scrimmages, and six regular seasons contests, until they finally return home on January 14 to face-off against the Nantucket varsity for the first time on home ice.