The Vineyarder boys hockey team took one of two games this week, and are 2-1 as they seek to defend their 2019 Heuchling and Swift Memorial Hockey Classic title, starting on Dec. 27 at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
The Vineyarders traveled to Harwich last Thursday and skated past the Mashpee/Monomoy Monarchs, 5-1, to earn the first Cape and Islands Lighthouse Division win of the young season. Nick Ben David scored two goals, Jake Scott lit the lamp, freshman Frankie Paciello scored his second of the season, and fellow frosh Nate Averill notched his first career goal. Will Bruguiere picked up three assists, Nick Rego added two more, and Graham Stearns got the win in net.
“That freshman line [Frankie Paciello, Hunter Johnson, and Nate Averill] that are playing together are consistently getting better,” Vineyard Coach Matt Mincone said in a phone call to The Times on Monday night. “I think because there is no one with them, there are three freshmen playing on a line, and can’t look at a senior and see how to do it, so they just go out and play. All three of them are really coachable kids, they’re working super-hard, they play physical. They’re good.”
The contest was tight into the second period before the Vineyarders pulled away. “It looked good because it was 5-1, but it was 1-0 probably middle of the second [period]; I mean, it was an up-and-down game, and Graham saved a breakaway,” Mincone said. “My thought is that we’re going to claw for the points that we get, but we’ve got a little break right here. We’re going to UNH for that tournament which, two years ago, we won it, so we’re going back to defend that.”
Sunday afternoon, the Vineyarders hosted Nantucket at the MV Ice Arena, and the Whalers left with a 4-1 win.
Nantucket scored twice on the power play, on a wrister from the point, and converted from a two-on-one break before Will Bruguiere scored from Nick Rego early in the third period to put the Vineyarders on the board.
“They just outworked us.” Mincone said. “There were certain areas of the game that they would just beat us to the puck. They came here and wanted it more. They probably had a little hangover from what we did to them over there last year [a 7-1 Vineyard win], and we forgot what they did to us here [a 5-1 Vineyard loss] last year.”
The Vineyarders came out skating, and got in some stiff checks in the opening period, but once the Whalers scored, it wasn’t until the third that the hosts came to life again.
“The objective after the second period was, Let’s go win the third period, come out with some dignity, which we did,” Mincone said. “We played a whole lot better in the third period. I don’t know if it’s because Nantucket took their foot off the gas because they’re up 4-0, just naturally kids do, or what it was. We allowed some difficult stuff. To me, it’s just another game on the schedule and it’s like, We play them again. The situation where we’re at is that we tweaked a few things to see if we can get a few guys moving a bit better, and some guys really stepped up and some guys are kind of staying idle through a feeling-out process. The more experience we get, the better we’ll be moving the full 45 minutes.”