Falmouth tops MV in boys hockey, 3-1

Gritty Vineyarders give Clippers a close call.

Liam Marek, seen here celebrating his goal against Nantucket on Feb. 6, got to do so again after scoring against Falmouth in a 3-1 loss on Wednesday afternoon. — Ralph Stewart

The Vineyarder boys hockey team skated against Division 1 Falmouth Wednesday afternoon at the MV Ice Arena and gave coach Matt Mincone the kind of effort he’s been looking for all season. The Purple (6-5) didn’t win against the fast, deep and talented Clippers (7-3-1) but they were in the game all the way. Falmouth’s co-captains, Stone Devlin and Max McDonald did the damage and the Clippers went back across Vineyard Sound with a 3-1 win. 

“I was pleased with the effort and I was proud of the guys the way they played,” Coach Matt Mincone said. “I’ve been looking for that effort, a full game. I’m just looking for 45 minutes and I think we put a check mark in that box.”

Usually, losses make coaches unhappy. This one, not so much. “It’s rare for me to walk away with a 3-1 loss and say that I felt we were in the game,” Mincone said. The shots were in their favor but Oliver (goalie Oliver Lively) played well. Our defense, for the most part, the four of them, all got banged up at one point in the game but they just showed some grit and toughness. I really appreciate that because they’re good kids and that whole adversity part of being in a game and not giving up, being proud, sticking up for your teammates. There was a lot of that.”

Prior to the start, the Vineyarders recognized their five seniors, co-captains Eli Gundersen and Aiden Marek, alternate captain Mike Wallace, Peter Gillis and Hunter Meader.

MV was first to put the puck in the net but the score was waved off. Five minutes into the game, Finn Lewis had his stick chopped from his grip by a Clippers defenseman and improvised by booting the biscuit into the basket with his skate, soccer style. No dice.

With 3:04 left in the period, Stone Devlin scored from the high slot to give a Clippers a 1-0 lead. MV had a chance to tie it 15 seconds before the intermission but Falmouth goalie Jack Braga snuffed Liam Marek’s breakaway bid at the left post.

Both goalies were in top form in the second period. Braga made two excellent saves on the second of consecutive Vineyard power plays early in the period, while Lively gloved an early shorthanded bid and made four stellar stops late in the period.

Hunter Meader had the best shot for a Vineyard goal in the middle stanza but fired the puck off the left post.

Early In the third period, Oliver Lively made the save of the game by snaring the puck at the right post to thwart a 2-on-1 break. Two minutes later, Braga flashed his glove to snag Cam Geary’s whistling wrister.

At the 4:27 mark, the Clippers got their second goal and it was a beauty. Stone Devlin turned on the jets behind the Vineyard net and backhanded a perfect pass to Max McDonald who zapped the puck into the right corner of the cage.

The Vineyarders finally broke through with 2:55 remaining and the goal was another one for the highlight reels as Liam Marek polished off a slick backhanded feed across the slot from Cam Geary.

Coach Mincone pulled Oliver Lively for the extra attacker with one minute left but Stone Devlin scored his second goal of the game on an empty netter from center ice to settle the issue with :47 left on the clock.