Claire Hazard scored on a rebound with 3:04 left in the third period to break a 3-3 tie as Barnstable rallied from two goals down late in the second period to beat Martha’s Vineyard, 5-3, in the Cape and Islands League girls hockey tournament semifinals, Thursday afternoon at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center.
“The kids gave it their all,” Vineyard Coach John Fiorito said. “You’re playing against a team that’s a little faster than you, a little stronger than you, so you’re going to get worn down, but I thought we came out and we hung in there in the third period — less than four minutes left and it’s 3-3. I told the kids in between the second and third periods, ‘You’re down because you feel like you gave up a two-goal lead, but if anybody told you that you were going to be tied in a playoff game with Barnstable with 15 minutes left, we would’ve signed up for that in a heartbeat.’ They came out and they played hard in front of Sarah [goalie Sarah Hartenstine], and Sarah played great.”
Although Barnstable (6-3-2) had the clear territorial edge throughout much of the contest, the Vineyarders (0-9-3) got off to a dream start against the Division 1 power.
Midway through the first period, freshman Maia Donnelly took the puck from Marin Gillis and whacked a shot from the right point through two pairs of legs and under the glove of Barnstable goalie Mei Li Raspante to score her first varsity goal.
“Maia has a motor that doesn’t stop, and she plays against kids that are twice her size,” Coach Fioroto said. “She’s fearless and she competes, and she deserved it. She’s played that way all year as a freshman, and she deserved to get her first goal.”
At 9:59, Paige Anderson put the Vineyarders up by two. The play started with Ruby Reimann making a fine defensive play behind the Barnstable net and passing to Caroline Kelleher, who fed Anderson on a break over center ice. Paige fired a shot toward the goal, which was blocked. Marin Gillis put another shot off the post, and Anderson slapped in the rebound from the left circle.
Barnstable closed out the period with plenty of pressure and had a late power play. Sarah Hartenstine made a spectacular save at the right post with 1:10 left on the clock. The Vineyard sophomore would make a host of other big saves on a busy day between the pipes.
The second period couldn’t have started worse for MV. Eleven seconds after the opening faceoff, Barnstable’s Kate Brewster rushed over center, stickhandled to the top of the right circle, and shot the puck under the stick of Vineyard defenseman Lila Mikos, beating Hartenstine to the stick side.
The Vineyarders refused to let Barnstable grab the momentum, and restored their two-goal lead less than two minutes later on a power play. Marin Gillis picked up her second assist, passing to Paige Anderson at the Barnstable blueline. Anderson skated 10 feet, deked a Barnstable defenseman, and ripped a wrister inside the left post for her second goal. Olive MacPhail had the other assist.
“The part I’m so proud of is the way they scored 11 seconds into the period, and we responded and we played pretty well, and Paige gets her second goal less than two minutes later,” Coach Fiorito said.
The 3-1 lead held up until 4:51 remained in the period. The Vineyarders failed to clear the zone, and Alley McEneaney crushed a slap shot into the twine after Sarah Hartenstine made the initial save.
Again, the Purple responded with a good flurry. Ruby Reimann put a tricky bouncer on net from the point, and Paige Anderson followed up to poke the puck in the crease, but Li Raspante covered to get the whistle.
With 50.3 on the clock, McEneaney got her second goal by deflecting a shot from just beyond the high slot.
Barnstable poured on the pressure in the third period. Hartenstine stood on her head with a half-dozen excellent saves before Claire Hazard gave the hosts their first lead of the game. Cayleigh Malone added an empty-netter with 28 seconds left to seal the win.