Even in mid-summer, hockey is alive and well on Martha’s Vineyard. Last weekend, the MV Arena hosted the fourth annual East Coast Classic. The few dozen souls who passed on the beautiful beach weather and turned up in the stands were treated to some excellent, free-wheeling men’s AAA level pro-am hockey.
The Island entry in the eight-team tourney, the Martha’s Vineyard Mariners, skated all the way to the championship game, before bowing to the Sulzer Wolfpack of Hamden, Conn, 4-2.
The champs from the Nutmeg State, captained by tournament director and organizer Peter Alden, play in the Southern Connecticut Hockey League, alongside ECC entries Dragon Club and the New England Red Wings.
The 17-man Mariner roster boasted six Islanders: Will Levesque, formerly of Northeastern and the American Hockey League Chicago Wolves; Joe Merry, from Sacred Heart and Merrimack; Mike Jackson, former MVRHS boys varsity hockey coach; Max Sherman, current assistant boys varsity coach; Matt Goethals, who played for HC Davos in Switzerland; and Steve McCormack, who once skated with National Hockey League and World Hockey Association great Ralph Backstrom’s Colorado Eagles.
Also skating for the Mariners were Merrimack College grad and N.Y. Rangers scout Brendon Clark and recent Anaheim Ducks signee Chris Wagner from Colgate University.
Tournament play got underway Friday afternoon. The Mariners started off with a forfeit victory over Pro Edge of Quincy, who arrived late to the show.
Instead, Roll Tide, a Massachusetts side made up largely of Babson College alums, gamely stepped in to provide some spirited competition for the local entry. The Tide had just played in the first game against the eventual champion Wolfpack.
The two teams combined for 21 goals in a 13-8 Mariner win.
The Island squad overturned a 7-4 deficit and took command over the ebbing Tide with a five-goal flurry in a span of 4:46, late in the third period.
Billy Revillini notched a hat trick and added two assists to lead M.V. Chris Wagner scored twice with three assists; Willie Levesque had a pair of each; Spiro Goulakos had two goals; Kevin McNamara tallied once, with two assists; Matt Goethals and Kevin Welch each had a goal and an assist.
Saturday morning, M.V. met the Wolfpack and came up a goal short, 7-6.
Will Levesque potted a pair of goals and added an assist. Billy Revillini, Chris Wagner, Max Sherman, and Tony Johnson had a goal each. Kevin McNamara earned two assists.
In the matinee game, the Mariners rolled over the Tide, 10-4, to close out the opening round at 2-1. Billy Revillini chalked up another hat trick for the Mariners. Kevin Welch scored twice; Chris Wagner had a goal and three assists; and Spiro Goulakos and Will Levesque totaled a goal and an assist. Steve McCormack and Kevin McNamara each chipped in with two assists.
The playoffs began Sunday morning. The second-seeded Mariners skated against the seventh-seeded Dangle Pies from Fairfield County, Conn. and romped to an 8-2 win. Matt Goethals and Brendon Clark each lit the lamp twice. Chris Wagner, Willie Levesque, and Kevin McNamara also scored. Kevin Welch was the top playmaker, setting up four Mariner goals.
Next up were the New England Red Wings. The teams played a tight, defensive game, won by the Mariners, 3-1. Chris Wagner put in the first two goals, unassisted. Billy Revillini scored the insurance goal, with assists to Levesque and Joe Merry.
The final on Sunday afternoon fittingly matched the the top two teams. The Wolfpack were 5-0 and the Mariners, 4-1.
Kevin Hayes of Boston College lit the lamp for the Nutmeggers 22 seconds after the opening faceoff, and former BU Terrier Mike Pomichter made it 2-0 eight minutes later.
M.V. needed just 28 seconds to cut the lead in half. Kevin Welch snuck the puck just inside the left post to make it 2-1. The Mariners tied the score 3:40 later on a skipping wrister from Billy Revillini.
With 11:05 to play, the Pack took the lead back for keeps on a goal by BC’s Pat Mullane and added an insurance marker 90 seconds later from Matt Anderson, to claim the ECC trophy.