The Vineyarder boys hockey dropped a 5-1 game to Bishop Stang on Monday, falling to 9-5-2 on the season.
Despite the loss, the team is still tourney-qualified, and is chasing points to improve their spot in the D3 South Sectional seedings, which will begin in early March.
Coach Matt Mincone said before the game, “I’m treating this as a playoff game. Stang [8-4-4] is a good team, the kind of team we’ll see in the tournament.” Mincone said the game was closer than the score indicates. “We need to clean up the defense. We’re allowing wide-open shots,” he said.
Last week, the inconsistent Purple put up back-to-back shutouts against Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School and Cardinal Spellman, then dropped a 4-3 verdict at Nantucket on Saturday, with a piece of the Cape & Islands League title on the line.
At Dennis-Yarmouth, Hoffie Hearn had three goals and an assist, including two power-play goals; Nick BenDavid tallied his first MVRHS career goal. Charlie Lakis and John Coogan had assists. The Cardinal Spellman game saw top MVRHS scorer Hunter Meader with two goals and an assist; Nick Rego, Jackson Pachico, and Colby Zarba each had assists. Goaltender Graham Stearns had a quiet night in his fourth season shutout.
On the Cape’s other Island, Cam Geary had two goals, Kenny Hatt scored the other. Assists went to Aiden Marek (2), Logan Araujo (1), and Pete Gillis (2).
Mincone missed the game because of a family death. On Monday, he noted the inconsistency that has plagued his skaters this season. “And this year, it seems, we have to pay for every mistake. Against Nantucket, for example, a face-off in our end somehow squirted in front for an easy goal. The good news is that kids are aware of mistakes. So they are able to fix them,” he said.
The Vineyarders have Stang, Mashpee-Monomoy, and the Fairleigh-Dickinson weekend tournament among the final five contests. The annual Fairleigh-Dickinson includes 14-1 Hopkinton, and MVRHS also has Plymouth North on the regular-season schedule.
Projecting tourney seedings today, the Vineyarders look to be a middle seed, perhaps in the 8 to 10 range, with 10 points available to them before the end of the season.