In a rough, penalty-laden game in front of a packed house at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena Thursday, the boys’ hockey team skated to a 5-3 victory over Dedham to advance to the quarterfinal round of the state tournament.
Three Vineyard teams have now advanced to the section quarterfinals. Boys’ basketball will take on rival Bishop Feehan Friday after trouncing Bourne 77-44 at home on Wednesday. And late Thursday, the girls’ basketball team beat Fairhaven 64-39.
On Thursday afternoon the puck dropped in front of a cheering crowd as the number two seed Vineyard boys faced off against Dedham, seeded 15. Chants of “Here we go Vineyard,” burst from the stands where the entire boys’ basketball and girls’ hockey squads stood in support. Dedham had brought a rowdy crowd of their own.
Sophomore Emerson Mahoney put the team on the board late in the first period, but Dedham came back fighting in the second, when captain John Fitzgerald scored two goals, one on a power play. Junior Brian Fraser kept the Vineyard in the game, scoring on a pass from Mahoney. And back and forth it went. The third period was a rough affair marked by penalties on both sides. Fraser and senior captain Charlie Ashmun both scored for the Vineyard, but Fitzgerald completed his hat trick, again on a power play, to make the score 4-3, Vineyard advantage. Then on the Vineyard’s second penalty of the period, junior Tyson Araujo blocked a Dedham shot and broke out from the blue line, flipping to senior Shay Hill in the crease for the setup. Hill’s score gave the Vineyard the lead it needed, but more penalties kept the game in question until the end.
The team will face off against Franklin in Brockton on Saturday.
“We need to be much better against Franklin,” said assistant coach Max Sherman after the game.“The support, that was great, we were glad all the fans showed up especially since it was school vacation week,” he added.
This is the second year in a row that all eligible winter teams advanced to the tournament; three of the teams earned top-10 seedings in their brackets.
Coordinating postseason play for the teams has been “hectic . . . a scheduling nightmare,” athletic director Mark McCarthy told the Gazette.
But for Vineyard fans, the past week has been a boon, with three home games in two days.
On Wednesday, more than 275 fans jammed the Sancy Pachico gymnasium to see the Vineyard boys take on Bourne. Head coach Mike Joyce said he was glad to see such support during school vacation week.
The Vineyard team hadn’t played a game in two weeks.
“We came out running early, and it really worked, but then when we had to settle down and play half court, we were a little rusty,” Coach Joyce said. “I warned my kids: Bourne plays hard . . . no matter what the score is, do not ease up, do not slow down.”
The team held the Canalmen to just four points in the first quarter, but Bourne rallied in the second and pulled within 10 points of the Vineyard.
The Vineyard came out strong in the second half and used stifling defense to keep the game well in hand until the end. Senior captain Jack Roberts led the Vineyarders with 21 points, 10 in the fourth quarter, while co-captain Izak Browne had 15.
All players came off the bench to see game time, including sophomore Tim Roberts, recently promoted from junior varsity. Eight seniors were recognized at halftime for their contributions to the team. The boys’ scheduled senior day game was canceled earlier this month due to a snowstorm.
Bishop Feehan is a league opponent in the regular season and seeded third in the bracket. The Vineyard is seeded seventh.
“This [Vineyard] team, when they play hard, they’re a tough team to beat. The team will go as far as their effort will take them,” Coach Joyce said.
Girls’ hockey fell in the preliminary tournament round Monday to Latin Academy. It was just the second postseaon appearance for the 14-year-old varsity program. The Vineyard girls finished their season with a 10-8-3 record. The team seniors — captains Kassidy Bettencourt and Emily Cimeno, goalies Texe Craig and Katy Smith, forward Skylah Forend and defender Tayla Kuehne — have won more games (24) than any graduating group in the program’s history.
Last Friday, the group was recognized at the team’s annual Senior Day. Head coach John Fiorito said afterward he was especially proud of the seniors’ growth with the team. “It’s going to be sad to see them go,” he said.
The girls’ basketball team also boasts six seniors on its roster, all of whom were on the varsity team last year. Thanks to the growth of the Island’s travel basketball program, most have been playing together since junior high. The squad bounced into the postseason with a 16-4 record, the best record in coach Lisa Stewart’s seven-year tenure.
For updates on the girls’ Thursday night game, visit mvgazette.com
Fan buses are being arranged to all the weekend games. For information, contact Dawn Feinsmith at the regional high school at 508-693-1033, extension 114.