Five years ago, Martha’s Vineyard Youth Hockey began a grow-hockey initiative that among other things offered free instruction to beginners. The happy result was an influx of girls into the program. The program recently grew one size larger when the hockey-playing girls joined forces with players on their sister island of Nantucket to field a team large enough to compete in a tournament. Led by coach Jim Kelleher from the Vineyard, the merged girls’ team traveled to Waterville Valley, N.H., to play in an under-12, all-girls tournament.

There were 14 players in all, 11 of them from the Vineyard.

And so it all came together. Youth hockey program director Geoghan Coogan had jerseys with the Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket logo on the sleeves.

The girls all met up at Waterville Valley after driving through a snowstorm on Friday afternoon. The first game that night was against a tough team from Arlington. Goalie Sarah Hartinstein did all she could but the Vineyard-Nantucket girls went down in defeat. The next two games the girls played hard, but having never played together and being much younger (eight of them were age 10), they struggled to get an offense together.

On the final day, an early morning consolation game for third place was scheduled, a rematch against Seacoast girls. This time the tables were turned. Led by Nantucket’s Sydney Lester, the Vineyard-Nantucket team started it off quickly, with Ava Ben David rifling a wrist shot over the goalie’s shoulder to make it 1-0 After that the Island girls traded goals with Seacoast. Lester and Margaret Culkins from Nantucket were the scorers. Going into the third, the Island girls team trailed. Then Lily Moran from the Vineyard scored on a rebound off a Culkins shot. Suddenly the score was tied.

The girls were inspired and dug deep for everything they had. Sydney Lester scored again with under three minutes left on the clock, giving the girls a 4-3 lead. Seacoast roared back, pressuring the goalie, but Sarah Hartenstein was there to make save after save.

The Vineyard-Nantucket girls got their trophies: girl hockey player bobbleheads.

Already they are looking forward to next year.