Tough loss for Vineyarders in playoffs


Updated March 6

In a game that was as action-packed as their regular season matchup, the MVRHS girls hockey team fell 5-2 to Norwood on Thursday afternoon. It was the first MIAA Division II playoff appearance for the upstart Vineyard team in eight years. Despite the loss, Coach Geoghan Coogan is confident that his young team will be back next season.

In the first period, Norwood kicked things off 30 seconds in, when a lucky and unexpected bounce made its way into the Vineyard goal. Slightly nervous and frustrated, the Vineyarders let in another off a turnover in the neutral zone, but began to settle in and get aggressive halfway through the period.

With roughly eight minutes to go in the period, junior defenseman Marin Gillis made an awesome run into the Norwood zone, inducing a hooking call, and setting the tone for the rest of the night. Going forward, the game turned into a true firefight, with both teams playing physically and offensively-minded. 

On the ensuing power play, the Vineyarders did a good job of finding open teammates, but Norwood’s goalkeeper, Bernadette Tenore, made some terrific stops to keep MVRHS off the board. In the second period, freshman center Emily Coogan finally broke through for the Vineyarders, when she received the puck in center ice, made a move around the oncoming Norwood defender, and made an awesome wrist shot from deep.

On offense, the Vineyarders continued to force Norwood to make some quality saves, and senior captain Alana Nevin scored again for the Vineyard with 3:50 remaining in the period. Starting when freshman Elle Mone found herself in a one-on-two in center ice, Mone took the puck to the far side and fended off the defense while her teammates caught up to her. Making a couple of nice spins, she found Coogan in the corner, who was able to refeed Mone in space. Mone sent in a nice wrist shot, and Nevin smoothly tucked in the rebound. 

All night, the Vineyarders showed heart and determination, earning a total of three penalty kills, and brushing off the most fortunate of Norwood goals. Ultimately, however, the Mustangs’ playoff experience shone, and they were able to get some crucial penalty kills in the third period to ice the game. Coach Coogan stated after the game, “Norwood is a seasoned tournament team … We are young, and that inexperience in the tournament showed in the first period.” But regardless of the loss, Coach Coogan and the rest of the coaching staff are extremely proud of the girls: “This is a special group of players. They bought in from day one on the concept that we get to be here. We don’t have to be here, we get to be here. When you do that, you bond and play for one another. There wasn’t a minute of this season where we questioned our effort and our drive … We are so proud of what they did this year. Your success is yours, congratulations, and we look forward to the future!”

The Vineyarders finished the season 12-6-2, including wins over Barnstable and Falmouth for the first time in program history. They ended their season on a 6-1 run, and also swept rival Nantucket. Freshman Emily Coogan was named Cape & Islands All-Star, and senior goalkeeper Nellie Long was an honorable mention. Junior assistant captain Savannah Meader earned the league’s sportsmanship award. Last but not least, senior captain Alana Nevin was selected to the statewide All-Star team.

In other news, the MVRHS boys’ basketball team has their first-round playoff game this Sunday against Norton, at 2 pm. The game will be played at home, free of charge to attend. The boys’ hockey team will have their Sweet 16 game on Sunday as well, at 4:30 pm at the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena. Tickets must be purchased online at