The Vineyarder boys hockey team contributed to an OMG! Island high school sports weekend with a last minute come-from-behind 7-6 win over Silver Lake High School on Saturday at Hobomock Arena in Pembroke.
After the game, veteran Coach Matt Mincone offered this summary: “If you paid five bucks to watch this one, you got three games for the price of one.” Indeed, the Vineyarders were cruising 4-1 late in the first period before the Lakers scored a last-minute goal to close to 4-2. “We got off to a great start, which has been a struggle for us all year, but let down in that final minute,” he said.
The Lakers weren’t done, outscoring the Islanders 3-1 in the second period to knot the score at 5-5 with 15 minutes to go, and Mincone saw something. “I was watching Mike [Metcalf, senior goaltender] during warmups. “He was struggling to pick up the puck. It’s not like us to give up goals. We gave up only one in the last three games.
“So I gave Mike a break, and had freshman Graham Stearns in there for the third. And here’s the thing about this team, the camaraderie and spirit. Mike was the first guy to go to Graham with a ‘go get ’em’. These guys support each other,” Mincone said.
Stearns would surrender just one goal in the third, on 11 shots. The Lakers were up 6-5 with less than two minutes left. “They scored with 3:12 left, but we weren’t having it; Colby Zarba scored the tying goal with 1:41 left, and Hunter Ponte got the winner with 34 seconds left,” Mincone said.
Ponte (four goals, two assists) and Zarba ( two goals and two assists) led the attack. Freshman Jake Scott scored during the four-goal first-period flurry. The Metcalf/Stearns duo had 29 saves in the game. Hunter Meader and Cam Geary also had assists. Mincone credited Logan Araujo for winning a critical face-off in the Vineyarder end in the last 30 seconds to help seal the win.
With the win, the Vineyarders go to 6-2-2 at the midpoint of the season. They need six points (two points for a win, one point for a tie) over the final 10 games to qualify for the state tournament after a hiatus of two years.
Mincone likes their tournament chances, based on his team’s character: “All teams have different personalities. There’s a synergy on this one that is great to experience as a coach. Good hockey IQ, hard-working kids. The home game against Bishop Stang on Saturday [1 pm] will be a test. They are 8-0-1 and firing on all cylinders, so they will be a test,” he said.
With Saturday’s defeat, the Lakers slipped to 3-6-2 in the powerful (South Shore) Patriot League.