The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) girls varsity hockey team saved its best for last, turning in a spirited performance on Senior Day in a 4-1 defeat to Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High at the MV Ice Arena on Wednesday.
Fans and teammates honored seniors Genny Kent, Elizabeth O’Brien, Alana Morris and captain Saige Araujo in a brief presentation of flowers and accolades before the first puck was dropped.
The Vineyarders finished the winless season (0-19-1) with the loss against a state tourney-bound 13-win DY squad, but the disparity between their records was not evident in game play on Wednesday. The Vineyarders dominated the early going and clearly won the second period, and held their own in the third but suffered from DY goals on an inexplicably-awarded penalty shot and a power play goal and their own inability to put the puck in the net.
The Dolphins opened scoring in the first period with an in-close rebound at 10:36 against Amelia Simmons for a 1-0 lead and expanded the margin to 2-0 with 6:26 when a scrum in front resulted in a penalty shot for the Dolphins. Penalty shots are normally awarded when defenders pull down a puck carrier with clear path to the goal, not the situation on which the referee made his decision.
The Vineyarders were called for five penalties and on at least two of them had better scoring chances than the power-playing Dolphins, thanks to digging by Ava Ben David who repeatedly shook the puck loose in the Dolphin end and ran time off the penalty clock while creating shorthanded shots on the Dolphin net for herself and teammates.
The Vineyarders scored on a power play with 9:46 left in the third period, a perfectly-executed play that set fan hearts a-flutter. Hayley Meader, Lauren Boyd and Meghan Sonia executed a series of passes between the points and Meader along the boards.
An opportunity presented and Meader wristed a 20-footer into the far corner from a difficult right side angle.
The Vineyarders made a series of good individual efforts on rushes by Meader, Bond, Veronica Wendt and Sally Caron but Dolphin defenders forced them wide or smothered their centering passes.
The Dolphins ended the scoring at 9:06 of the third on a rebound after Simmons turned away a flurry of shots.
Coach John Fiorito has noted improvement in his young team’s performance over the last half-dozen games and this one against a talented DY squad bore him out and provides fans with hope for the 2018-2019 campaign.