The Martha’s Vineyard boys varsity hockey team defeated the Brookline Warriors 3-1 Saturday at MV Ice Arena. With that win, the Vineyarders clinched a berth in the MIAA state tournament for the first time in three years.
Powered by strong goaltending from Graham Stearns and a swarming offense, the Vineyarders managed to take advantage of an early power play and push Cam Geary through the Warriors defensemen to lead 1-0.
With 2 minutes left in the first period, Brookline got one past Stearns during a fast-paced Warriors 5-on-4. The game was tied 1-1 to start the second period.
With most of the first period played in the purple defensive zone, the Vineyarders fought hard to keep defensive pressure at the outset of the second period.
After some back and forth in the neutral zone, Stearns made another line of quick saves to keep the momentum going into the third period.
With 9 minutes left in the game, Peter Gillis broke away from Warriors defensemen and hit a skillful corner shot, elevating the Vineyard boys 2-1.
With both teams exhausted from consistently physical play, Vineyarder Charlie Lakis was hit hard and high in the neutral zone, but skated off the ice unassisted. With another Warrior in the box, the Vineyarders upped the tempo to close out the game.
Vineyarder Colby Zarba nailed a close-up shot with 7 minutes left, giving the boys a comfortable lead.
The Warriors played aggressively for the final 5 minutes of the game, but with continued excellent goaltending from Stearns, the game ended 3-1 Vineyard.