Shamrocks skate to men’s winter hockey title

With the scoreboard a goal short, the victorious Shamrocks pose with the championship hardware. Front row, from left: Ted Kram, Brandon Willett, Billy Jackson, Jon Black, Antone Silvia; Back row, from left: Nelson Dickson, Bob Branca, Travis Thurber, Jeremie Rogers, Travis McCarthy, William Elliston, John Chandler, Charlie Greene. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The top-seeded Jim’s Package Store Shamrocks skated to a 7-2 win over Max Fitness in the John Gibson Memorial Men’s Hockey League (JGMHL) winter season final, played Thursday night at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena. Trevor McCarthy was the hat-trick hero for the Shamrocks, who broke out to a quick 3-0 lead and never looked back.

The teams played each other straight up through the first five minutes, with neither team mustering many quality shots.

Brandon Willett broke the stalemate 5:55 into the first of two 22 minute halves of running time by stealing the puck at the blueline and scoring on a breakaway to put the Shamrocks up, 1-0.

The ‘Rocks made it 2-0 at 8:30 with Trevor McCarthy polishing off a Casey Elliston feed to complete a two-on-one break.

Kraig Mundt had the first good scoring chance for Max’s, skating in alone on the breakaway but Shamrock goalie John Black was up to the challenge. The Shamrocks then rushed out on the counterattack and dumped the puck into the corner. Billy Jackson controlled the disc, skated behind the cage and fed a perfect pass to the left point, where Travis Thurber drilled a shot into the top left corner for a 3-0 lead with nine minutes left in the period.

Max got on the board with 65 seconds remaining in the first stanza. Mike Snowden scored from the slot off a fine centering pass from Kraig Mundt.

At the halftime buzzer, the Shamrocks led, 3-1.

The green-clad team wasted little time increasing their lead in the second period. Antone Silvia set up Trevor McCarthy for a goal just 90 seconds in. McCarthy chalked up the hat trick again assisted by Antone Silvia at 10:20 by scoring from the left circle while falling on his belly. The lead was 6-1 with 7:15 to play. Antone Silvia scored on a breakaway, set up by John Chandler.

Three minutes later, Kraig Mundt got one back for Max Fitness by stuffing the puck through a maze of players in the crease. Mike Snowden and Max Sherman assisted.

Down 6-2, Max’s pulled goalie Chuck Sylvia for the extra attacker. Jeremy Rogers capped off the championship for the Shamrocks by scoring an empty net goal with 18.6 left on the clock.

The champs finished the season at 12-2-2. Max Fitness was 9-6-1. Both teams recorded 3-1 victories in the semi-finals, played March 27. The Shamrocks beat the fourth-seeded Pirates, while Max’s defeated the third-seeded Sharks.