The state tourney–bound Vineyarder boys hockey squad lost 7-3 to Hopkinton High School on Sunday in the championship round of the 22nd annual Fairleigh-Dickinson Tournament at the MV Ice Arena. But the young Vineyarders got to the championship round by roaring back from a two-goal, third-period deficit to tie, then win 5-4 in a marathon three-overtime grinder over Attleboro High School on Saturday.
The Vineyarders and Hopkinton played it close in the final game before the Hillers broke it open in the third period.
In the opener against Attleboro, senior captain Ian Trance scored the winner in the third overtime for a feel-good win which will show up in the books as a tie in the dystopian world of high school sports scoring. Teams involved in a tie after the conclusion of three periods are awarded one point each, but play on, up to three five-minute overtime periods, first with five players on five, then four players on four and finally, three players on three, to determine a winner, if possible, for which there are no additional points awarded.
On the other hand, overtime is an exciting fan experience, and bragging rights apply. Hunter Meader had a hat trick and an assist. Colby Zarba scored for the Vineyarders as well, before Trance’s OT magic. Players of the game were Hunter Meader, with three goals and one assist, and netminder Mike Metcalf for his long night and role in the win.
Colby Zarba had two power-play goals. Jackie Pizzano had the third goal. Logan Araujo, Hunter Meader, Cam Geary, and Pete Gillis had assists in the opener.
Hopkinton beat Plymouth North 5-1 in the prelim game. Plymouth North beat Attleboro 5-3 in the consolation round.
The boy skaters enter the final week of the season at 11-5-2, courtesy of a 1-0 forfeit win over Cape Tech on Tuesday. Coach Matt Mincone sees significance in the final regular-season game at home against Nauset (10-7-1) at 5 pm on Friday on Senior Night.
“It’s the last high school game to be played before South Sectional seedings, so the outcome will affect the seedings,” he said. The Vineyarders project as a midrange seed, and the injury-plagued team may be peaking at the right time. “There’s a good chance that senior Hunter Ponte and sophomore Aiden Marek [both out for long stretches] will be available for the tourney. Seedings will be announced on Saturday,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mincone said, the team benefited from the play of young players who got big and important minutes this season. “The important statistic is plus/minus, and only a few payers were minus this year. Last year only a few players were plus,” he said. Plus/minus is considered a key hockey metric which rates player effectiveness by noting whether players were on-ice when their team scored and when the opposition scored.
“There’s great synergy on this team,” he said.