Puck drops on new season

Vineyard icemen tame Lions, fall to Sandwich.

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Updated Jan. 19

The Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena hosted an honest to goodness Cape and Islands League boys hockey game between Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and Sandwich on Jan. 14, as the puck finally dropped on a new season. A smattering of fans were on hand, limited to one per player. The game was tense, fast-moving, and hard-hitting, with few whistles. Quality scoring chances were few, but the goalies were superb when called upon. Vineyarder Oliver Lively made 33 saves, and Mitchell Norkevicius earned the shutout for the Blue Knights. Only Caleb Richardson’s backhander from the inside edge of the left circle, 5:52 into the game, separated the teams until the final 61 seconds. From there, Chris Cardillo and Rob Cardillo added a pair of empty-net tallies as the Blue Knights padded their total, and left the Island with a 3-0 win.

While admitting that no loss ever feels good, Vineyard Coach Matt Mincone recognized that this season opener was unlike any other. “I’m pleased that we got to go out and compete,” he said. “I’m sure the players were let down by the outcome, but I was really proud to be on the bench. They’re never going to forget that game, and I won’t either, knowing what everyone’s been through. Being able to compete and get that feeling again was a win for everybody who was involved, for the players, the coaches, the schools, and the community.”

As with any season, the opening game is the first step of a work in progress. For Coach Mincone, the bright spots started between the pipes. “Goaltending was fantastic,” he said. [Oliver] was a transfer who came back. He and Graham [Stearns] are probably one of the best 1-2 combos I’ve had.” The coach also cited senior co-captain Eli Gundersen’s work on defense and junior forward Jake Scott, who had one of the best scoring chances in the game following a spirited rush down the right wing in the second period.

The next home game is scheduled for Jan. 27 versus Dennis-Yarmouth. MV will compete in the Cape and Islands League Lighthouse Division, alongside D-Y, Nantucket, Mashpee/Monomoy, and St John Paul II. Barnstable, Falmouth, Nauset, and Sandwich comprise the C & I Atlantic Division.

Monday, the Vineyarders skated against St. John Paul II at Tony Kent Arena in South Dennis, and lit the lamp with abandon in a 10-2 win over the Lions.

Finn Lewis notched his first career goal, and Harper Hearn picked up his first high school assist. Hunter Meader totaled five points, with two goals and three assists, Liam Marek potted a pair of goals, Cam Geary scored a goal and set up two, Nick Ben David and Pete Gillis had one of each, Aiden Marek and Jake Scott scored a goal apiece, and Elias Gundersen, Charlie Lakis, Nick Rego, and Mike Wallace each had an assist. Graham Stearns made 16 saves, and earned the win in net. Defenseman John Coogan had a standout game before suffering an injury. The Vineyarders are hoping for his quick return.