Even though the high school boys’ hockey team punched their ticket into the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament this week with an impressive shutout win over Bourne on Saturday, coach Matt Mincone still feels his team has yet to play its best hockey this season.
“I probably sound like a broken rec-ord, but there are still some things we need to work on,” said the coach. “I am happy with our record, but we are still an inconsistent team that tends to lose focus toward the end of the games . . . that could hurt us down the stretch.”
Following a 3-0 win over the Canalmen and a 6-4 win over Nauset Wednesday, the Vineyard’s record now stands at 10-1-3 on season, securing a berth in the state tournament with almost a full month left in the regular season.
“This is the best record I’ve ever had with any team at this point in the season, so I guess I can’t complain too much,” conceded Coach Mincone.
Tad Gold and Nick Billingham each scored early for the Vineyarders against Bourne Saturday, and Darren Gazaille added an empty-net goal in the final seconds. Coach Mincone said he was pleased with his team’s defensive effort in the win, especially senior goaltender Alex Minnehan, who stopped 14 shots for the shutout.
But the coach was more critical of his team after their 6-4 over Nauset Wednesday.
After the team took a 5-2 lead after the first period, he said Nauset outplayed the Vineyarders over the final two periods to make the game closer then it should have been. “This has been a pattern all season; get up big early and then let the other team back in the door,” he said.
Gold scored twice in the win; Mitch Pachico, Henry Smith and Jason Schwab each had goals.
The Vineyarders next play on the road against Old Rochester and Raynham before returning home to play Bridgewater-Raynham at 4 p.m. on Feb. 6.
After losing a heartbreaker earlier in the season to Bourne by a single point, the boys’ basketball team Tuesday got a measure of revenge, forcing a season-high 32 turnovers against the Canalmen en route to a 75-42 win in what was likely their best game of the season.
Coach Mike Joyce said his team was ferocious from the start, jumping out to an eight-point lead after the first quarter and a 19-point lead at the half.
“For whatever reason they were fired up for this game,” Coach Joyce said of his team. “Maybe they were upset [about the one point loss] or maybe they are aware of what’s at stake . . . for whatever reason we are playing our best basketball of the season right now.”
Mark Reppert led the team with 16 points, while Pat Hart had a season-high 10 points with 12 rebounds. Cody Brewer had eight points and Bubba Brown had nine points. The Vineyarders had an eye-popping 78 shot attempts and shot 40 per cent from the field for the game.
The Vineyarders also showed a lot of fight at home against Arlington Catholic on Sunday, rallying from an early deficit with a 16-0 run to take the lead in the third quarter. But the shots weren’t falling for the Vineyarders, who shot a poor 19 for 67 from the field, and Arlington was able to recover for a 61-51 win.
Bubba Brown led the Vineyarders with 16 points; Nico Cuba and Reppert each had 11 points in the loss.
The Vineyard boys’ record now stands at 6-7 on the season, and they need to win four of their final seven games to secure a berth in the state tournament, which Coach Joyce feels is imminently possible.
“Even though we won more games earlier in the season, I think we are actually playing better now. We are hitting our stride at the right time,” he said.