Much as they did in a gritty 3-1 loss to powerful Division 1 Barnstable on Jan. 20, the Vineyarder girls hockey team skated stride for stride with Falmouth in the home opener, Saturday at the M.V. Ice Arena.
The Clippers finished 13-5-5 and reached the MIAA Division 2 South semifinals in 2019–20, but the vastly improved Vineyarders kept the game close throughout.
Taytum Cox put Falmouth in front 43 ticks into the Clippers’ first power play with a wrister from the left point at 7:29 of the first period. Abby McDonald and Samantha McKenzie picked up assists. With 13 seconds remaining in the period, Paige Anderson tied the game with a truly magnificent goal, taking a feed from Lila Mikos, gathering a head of steam over the blue line, then center ice, breaking down the left wing, cutting to the net, and lifting a backhander past Falmouth goalie Lucy Armour into the bottom right corner. The perfect way to end the period, right? Yep, except that the Clippers took the ensuing faceoff and beat the horn by one second to make it 2-1 at the first intermission, courtesy of Abby McDonald from Ryann McDonald.
For some teams, ending the period on that note could have been devastating, but the Vineyarders returned for the second period undaunted. Falmouth’s Samantha McKenzie scored the next goal, shorthanded, by snapping the puck into the top right corner from the left post at 6:35, but MV battled back and made it 3-2 with a power play goal 90 seconds later. Ava BenDavid took a puck rolling on edge and roofed it into the cage from the high slot. Lila Mikos and Ruby Reimann assisted on the play.
Samantha McKenzie gave Falmouth an insurance goal 3:25 into the third period, but the Vineyarders kept skating until the final horn. MV also got terrific goaltending from sophomore Sarah Hartenstine. “Sarah played great. That’s probably the best she’s played in a year-plus,” Vineyard Coach John Fiorito said.
With his team having played well against three of the best teams in the region, Sandwich, Barnstable, and Falmouth (all Cape and Islands League rivals, no less) Coach Fiorito was upbeat after the game. “We’re really improved from past years,” he said. “It would be really nice to get a win somewhere along the way, but every year we’ve gotten a little bit better, and this year we can compete with the best teams.”
After away games at Dennis-Yarmouth (Jan. 27) and Nantucket (Feb. 7), the Vineyarders (0-3-1) have a home date with Sandwich on Jan. 30 at 3:45pm.
The Vineyarders took on Division 1 Barnstable on Saturday night in Hyannis, and dug themselves an early hole that proved too deep to overcome in a 4-3 loss.
Barnstable scored 1:35 into the game, tallied twice more before the first intermission, and again 2:24 into the second period, before the Vineyarders got their skates in gear.
“The first period, we just didn’t play the way we are capable of playing, and that’s a thing that’s been happening to us the past year and three games — just not getting going quick enough,” Coach Matt Mincone said.
Cam Geary got MV on the board at 7:21 of the second, beating the goalie clean from the slot, with assists to Hunter Meader and Liam Marek. Two minutes later, Charlie Lakis rushed the length of the ice and turned the puck over in the high slot, but Pete Gillis gained control of the loose disc and scored to make it 4-2.
“At the end of the second period we were able to regroup, and I sent the message that we’re in better shape than they are,” Coach Mincone said. “I knew if we could withstand the first two or three minutes, the balance was going to shift.”
The Purple pressed on through the third period until Hunter Meader lit the lamp with 1:57 remaining, seconds after a 5-on-3 power play had expired. Cam Geary and Liam Marek earned assists. Coach Mincone pulled the goalie for the extra attacker, but MV couldn’t net the equalizer.
After being outshot 8-2 in the first period, the Vineyarders ended up with a 22-19 advantage for the game. A silver lining perhaps, but Mincone remains focused on his team playing all 45 minutes.
“You have to play each shift as if there are two minutes left in the game and as if our season is going to get canceled tomorrow,” he said. “This is a luxury, and we’re very grateful to be playing, but don’t waste it.”
The Vineyarders (1-2 overall, 1-0 league) host Dennis-Yarmouth in a Cape and Islands League Lighthouse Division contest on Wednesday afternoon, travel to Nauset on Saturday, and host division rival St. John Paul II on Feb. 3 at 4 pm.
The Vineyarders competed against Sandwich in a virtual meet on Jan. 20 with the teams swimming in their respective home pools. The Blue Knights won on points, the girls by 87-57 and the boys 81-52, but the outnumbered Vineyarders put up a good fight and set eight personal best times on the night.
For the girls, Gabby Carr (2:10.18) placed first and qualified for sectionals in the 200 freestyle, with Lily Jones (2:27.28, PB) taking third. Delilah Hammarlund (30.65, PB) was second in the 50 free; Olympia Hall (1:17.48, PB) third in the 100 butterfly; Jones (1:06.05) and Eleanor Hyland (1:16.85) 1-2 in the 100 free; and Carr (1:11.71) first in the 100 backstroke. Hall (1:24.39) and Hammarlund (1:29.48) swam 1-2 in the 100 breaststroke, and the girls closed out their meet by winning the 400 free relay with Carr, Hall, Hammarlund, and Jones clocking in at 4:28.13.
The boys won three events. Nathan Cuthbert (25.81) topped a tough field in the 50 free; Ruairi Mullin (56.31) won the 100 free, with Cuthbert (1:03.11) second; and the 400 relay team of Mullin, Simon Hammarlund, Andy Carr, and Christian Flanders swam to first place in 4:21.60.
Christian Flanders (2:14.13, third, 200 free); Andy Carr (30.38, fifth, 50 free); Emmett Silva (1:24.13, third, 100 fly); and Simon Hammarlund (1:38.50, fourth, 100 fly; 1:22.18, third, 100 backstroke) each had personal bests.
The Vineyarders swim against Nantucket on Friday. The meet will livestream on Facebook at 5:45 pm.
The MVRHS girls basketball team welcomed Cape and Islands League Atlantic Division rival Dennis-Yarmouth to the Sancy Pachico Gym in Oak Bluffs for the home opener on Tuesday, and lost a hard-fought battle with the Dolphins, 35-29.
The Vineyarders played with grit and tenacity for all 32 minutes, but execution and poor free-throw shooting (4 for 11) proved to be their undoing in the tight contest.
“We made some poor choices on defense, left a lot of people wide open, which cost us, and we didn’t rebound the ball well, but one of the major factors today, we lost by six but we missed seven free throws,” Vineyard Coach Sterling Bishop said. “I tell the kids because we preach it all the time, every practice we start with free throws, we end with free throws, we shoot free throws in the middle before we break and get drinks, because it makes a difference in the game. Today if we hit our shots it would have been a different outcome, but I’m proud of the way they played, proud of the effort that they gave from the beginning to the end.”
The teams were tied at 8-8 late in the first quarter, but four consecutive Vineyard turnovers resulted in six D-Y points to close out the period. The Vineyarders drew within one at 23-22 by halftime, and ended the third quarter tied at 28-28, but couldn’t break through and take the lead.
Maria Andrade had a stellar game at both ends of the court, and finished with a team-high 13 points. MV also got solid minutes from five freshmen: Ali Dyke, Talia Estrella, Alaina Giordano, Paige Malowski, and Clare Mone. D-Y’s Grace Presswood led all scorers with 15 points.
The Vineyarders host Nantucket on Saturday. The JV game starts at 12:15 pm, followed by the varsity contest at 2:15.