Boys hockey fall in playoff run

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The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys hockey team made it to the Round of 16 in their playoff push, but fell short of their ultimate goal.

After a lopsided 10 – 0 victory against Greenfield High School on Thursday, Feb. 29, in the first round of the playoffs, the boys lost a tough one against Ashland High School on Sunday, 6 – 3. The game was closer than it looked, with Ashland scoring two goals on an empty net in the final minutes.

“We got into a hole early and had to claw back,” coach Matt Mincone told The Times.

The Vineyarders gave up a goal in the opening seconds, followed by a second goal soon after. While they were eventually able to tie it up, Mincone said they had to play from behind for most of the game.

“Ashland is a tough team. We knew what we were getting into coming into the game,” the coach added. “We just didn’t have our day.”

The Vineyarders did have their moments and their opportunities.

Junior Will Baliunas scored his first goal of the season, with an assist coming from Chase Grant; Hunter Johnson scored the Vineyarders’ second goal, which was assisted by both Nate Averill and Chase Toomey; and Toomey was able to connect for the team’s final goal, his second of the season.

Mincone said that they had a number of opportunities where the puck just didn’t bounce in their favor, including a shot off the post. The coach said it’s tough not getting to the state championship, but ultimately it was a good season. And there’s room to grow for next year.

“It was a great season because everyone of the kids became better young men,” Mincone said. “We had some soul searching to do. There were highs and lows. We overcame adversity. The complete experience was there.”

The team will be losing four seniors going into next year, but they currently have 12 juniors that will be stepping into leadership roles next year.

“It’s tough to lose, but hockey is a great game. It gives and certainly takes,” Mincone said. “But yes, we have some unfinished business going into next season.”