The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) girls hockey team started 2020 off on the right skate as Ava BenDavid lit the lamp for the first six Vineyard goals in an 8-4 victory over the Nantucket Whalers, Saturday afternoon at the MV Ice Arena.
The Vineyarder win in the first-ever girls hockey meeting between the island rivals was their first of the season, and follows a pair of ties against Barnstable and Nauset, putting the Purple at 1-3-2 after a slow start.
“We’re thrilled,” Vineyard Coach John Fiorito said. “We told the kids before the game, you don’t have many firsts in your life when you play as an athlete, but this is the first time we had the opportunity to play Nantucket High School, so it was a big game, It was a physical game, probably the most physical game we’ve been a part of … we talked it up like it was a big deal and, so, first win. We are very excited about that.”
The Vineyarders opened the scoring 3:31 into the game after Lila Mikos made a long rush into the Nantucket zone and left a perfect drop pass for BenDavid, who parked the puck in the yawning cage. Whalers eighth grader Grace Gibson tied the score in short order, but BenDavid scored on a penalty shot to restore the Vineyard lead with 4:08 left in the first period, moving left to right and putting a wrister past Nantucket goalie Shea Harnishfeger. She claimed her hat trick by converting an Alex Rego feed with one tick left on the clock before intermission.
BenDavid put the Vineyarders up 4-1 on an unassisted goal 2:30 into the second period. The Whalers answered with Gibson’s second goal, and held the Vineyarders off the scoresheet until BenDavid scored from Lauren Boyd with 1:25 left in the period. She saved her best goal for last, capping off an end-to-end rush with a nifty deke to score 50 seconds into the third period. “Ava played a great game,” Coach Fiorito said of the junior forward.
Nantucket made things a bit uncomfortable for the hosts after Samantha Lester and Ruby Dupont netted consecutive goals, cutting the margin to 6-4, but Aryanna Stevens set up Alana Nevin for a 7-4 lead with 5:22 left to play, and Paige Anderson iced the win with an unassisted goal just over a minute later.
The Vineyarders outshot the Whalers 31-28 on the day, and Amelia Simmons made 24 saves to pick up the win in net.
The girls skate again on Wednesday in a Cape and Islands League Atlantic Division game at Barnstable, before heading for an overnight trip next weekend, with games at Fontbonne Academy and Brookline.