The Martha’s Vineyard girls hockey team invited three teams to the Island over the weekend, and sent them all back on the ferry disappointed after winning the Nan Rheault annual tourney at the M.V. Ice Arena.
The girls won the tournament by first defeating Old Rochester Regional High School, 8-1, on Saturday, and then defeating Scituate, 3-1, in the championship game. Malden Catholic was the fourth team in the tournament.
“They were over the moon. They were really pumped,” Coach Geoghan Coogan said of his team. “We have one senior, Lila Mikos, who’s been around for some down seasons, and they played really hard and had not been able to capture it. So for her, in particular, I think it’s pretty cool for her as a senior to get this before she graduates … Watching them be able to take it was pretty cool.”
The Vineyarders faced a particularly young ORR team, Coogan said. He said though the score was 8-1, he felt his team played with class throughout the game. “It was a lot of good teamwork, moving the puck around, and doing it the right way,” he said, noting that there was scoring up and down the lineup.
Sunday’s game against Scituate was a lot tougher. “We beat them 7-2 the first time we played them, and they really came to play against us,” Coach Coogan said.
The Scituate girls jumped out to a 1-0 lead before Alana Nevin scored to tie it up on a “beautiful goal.” Then it was freshman Izzy Blake who scored on a power play to put the Vineyarders on top. She would score a second goal for the 3-1 final.
“We had good puck movement,” Coach Coogan said. “You could feel the energy after Alana’s goal, and they wanted it and it really showed.”
The win brought the team’s record back to .500 at 5-5 after starting the season 1-4. “In our first five games we let in 30 goals, and then in the last five games we let in 9,” he said. “Only teams can do that, not individuals. We’ve really come around, and that’s why we’re starting to win games.”
Upcoming games include a Saturday rematch with Barnstable and a Wednesday game against Dennis-Yarmouth. Coogan said the team is looking forward to rematches with teams like Falmouth and Barnstable, which beat them earlier this season: “We’re pretty excited to show them how we have changed in the last couple of weeks.”
According to Coogan, this is only the second time the Vineyard has won the tournament it hosts each year, and the first time since 2015.
The tournament is named for Caroline (“Nan”) Rheault, a figure skater who was instrumental in the construction of the M.V. Ice Arena, according to a profile shared by Coogan.
“Few people touch so many lives in this world and leave a legacy like Nan did,” the profile states. “After moving to the Island, Nan became an active member of the community. She was an environmentalist, she served on multiple boards, and helped fundraise for places like the thrift shop. It’s because of Nan and her tireless energy, willingness to try new things, and get involved that we are here today. Nan, who began figure skating at the age of 50, initiated the building of the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena, so that generations of Islander have a place to go compete or just have fun.”
Coogan reflected on the win and the season turnaround: “We’re super happy about that. Most of the girls returning this year didn’t have a win last year, so to have five already is super-cool.”