The Martha’s Vineyard youth hockey Mariners Midgets completed a 15-0 undefeated season last weekend, pitching two shutouts in the semifinal and championship games of the Southern New England Hockey Conference in Attleboro.
The Bantam division Mariners, also undefeated in the regular season, advanced to the championship game before losing in the same tournament.
The Mariners, 13-0 in the regular season, beat the Rhode Island Burrillville Bears 4-0 for the championship win and a 15-0 season. The Bantams, 10-0-2 in the regular season, lost 3-1 to the Newport, R.I., Whalers in the championship game to finish 11-1-2.
This has been a storied season for the Midget Mariners, who moved up to the top Midget level last year, posting a .500 record, before winning it all in 2019. The majority of the under-18 players also play for the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) boys varsity hockey team, and their talents were on display this weekend.
For example, goaltender Graham Stearns entered the weekend with nine (9) goals allowed on the season, and lowered that average below one goal a game. In hockey at any level, a goalie with an average of below three goals a game is considered a topflight performer. Sterns faced 52 shots (22 on Saturday, 30 on Sunday) on the weekend without allowing a goal.
Coach Steve Adamo saluted his troops: “These kids worked hard all season, moved the puck and stayed focused throughout the season. [The championship] says a lot about the kids, including younger players who stepped up throughout the season and contributed to winning games.
“For the MVRHS varsity players, being champions is a good mindset to enter the high school season,” he said.
Colby Zarba with three goals, Cam Geary, Jackson Pachico, Aiden Marek, and Logan Araujo led the Midget weekend scoring attack.
The Bantam Mariners team beat the Rhode Island Northern Vikings 1-0 on Saturday before dropping the championship game 3-1 to the Newport Whalers on Sunday. On Saturday, the Bantams made a goal by Francis Paciello stand up with shutout goaltending from Zachary Machias and Silas Stanek, and strong defense led by Paciello, Jonah Saunier, Paige Anderson, and Marin Gillis.
On Sunday, the Bantams made a Paciello goal stand up in a 1-1 tie until the final minutes, when the Newport Whalers scored twice to take the championship.
“I’m really excited about this team,” Bantam Coach Pete Gillis said on Monday. “We’re really young, mostly seventh and eighth graders, playing lots of freshmen-roster teams. We were undefeated coming into the weekend (10-0-2). We lost on late goals Sunday in a really well-played game,” he said of a roster that includes Cal D’Arcy, Cole Lambert, Liam Conley, Aiden Conley, Nathan Averill, Kert Kleeman, Wyatt Nicholson, Chase Grant, Chase Toomey, Yossi Monahan, Evan Longval, and Nick BenDavid.
The Bantams and Midgets play a split-season schedule, and the second season will begin on Dec. 1. The Bantams roster will be largely set, but the Midgets will lose the majority of their players to the high school season.
Updated to correct Mariners name. — Ed.