The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) girls hockey team earned its first point of the season in a big way by skating to a 2-2 tie with Division 1 powerhouse Barnstable in a Cape and Islands League Atlantic Division game, Saturday afternoon at the MV Ice Arena.
In truth, it was Barnstable who tied the Vineyarders. Paige Anderson snapped a wrister from the right point with 4:59 left in the third period to put the Purple in front, 2-1, but the Red Raiders fought back to tie it two minutes later on a goal by Polly Cahill.
Officially, the game goes in the books as a tie, but the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), in a two-year trial, offered member leagues the choice to adopt a five-minute overtime, with the teams skating 4-on-4. The C & I decided to give OT a try, so the teams played out the extra period.
The Vineyarders started the overtime shorthanded with a cross-checking penalty carrying over from the final 31 seconds of regulation play. Barnstable fired three shots on goal during the power play, and three more afterward, but Vineyard netminder Amelia Simmons smothered them all and finished the game with 33 saves.
Paige Anderson had the best chance for MV in the overtime, whistling a sharp wrister toward the left post from the right circle with 2:30 left, but Raider goalie Meili Raspante made the save.
Had Barnstable or MVRHS scored in the overtime, the result would count only as a tiebreaker in the league standings.
The Vineyarders improved to 0-3-1, while the Red Raiders incurred their first blemish of the season to stand at 3-0-1.
Barnstable’s Grace Holden scored the first goal of the game, 5:26 into the second period. The Vineyarders needed five and a half minutes to strike back. Senior Skyla Harthcock lit the lamp, scoring from a goalmouth scramble, with Ava BenDavid and Alex Rego picking up the assists.
After the game, Vineyard Goaltenders Coach Andre Bonnell was particularly pleased with the tie, his first point gained against the Red Raiders in two decades of trying. “I’ve been waiting over 20 years for a tie or a win against Barnstable; they’re my personal nemesis for all this time,” he said. “Yes, it was a 2-2 tie, in overtime, but for me, it’s a win, and I want to thank Amelia Simmons for stepping up bigtime in the goal. As a matter of fact, the coach of the other team, when he shook my hand, said, ‘Great goaltending.'”
For Head Coach John Fiorito, after starting the season with three defeats, the result was proof positive that these Vineyarders have promise. “The scores [this season] do not indicate the possibility that we have to be a better team than what we’ve showed. We show glimpses of it, and we put it together for three periods,” he said. “We got outshot, but I felt like it was a hockey game, back and forth. Amelia played great. There’s some competition in goal, which is great. All three goalies can play, but she stepped up. We moved Paige [Anderson] back to defense, Ava [BenDavid] to center. Ava played her best game of the year. She got a little jump, she got rewarded with a point [an assist]. Paige, obviously, is just A Player, and she can take over a game, but Barnstable is a good team, and for us to even hang with them, I think, shows the character that we ultimately, hopefully, will show for the rest of this year.”
The Vineyarders are back on the ice for another league clash Monday afternoon at Nauset, and host the Nantucket Whalers on Saturday, Jan. 4, at 1 pm.