In the start of what is expected to be another strong season, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School hockey team rolled over Mansfield at home Saturday 7-1 before taking down perennial power Whitman Hanson two days later 4-2.
The Vineyarders took eight shots on goal in the first period against Mansfield Saturday and connected three times as Jock Cooperrider, Elliot Bilzerian and Tad Gold all found the back of the net. Nick Billingham gave the home team a fourth goal in the second period, and the Vineyarders added three more in the final frame.
And while the offense was shining, goaltender Mike Capen was equally impressive between the pipes, stopping all but one of 12 shots on goal.
Vineyarders traveled to Whitman Hanson on Monday and again built an early lead in the first period with goals by Gold and Henry Smith. Chris Davies and Gold added goals in the third period to put the game away.
The Vineyarders next play at home tomorrow against Franklin at 5 p.m.
The girls’ hockey team ran into a buzzsaw at home against Sandwich on Saturday, losing to the Blue Knights 5-0.
Coach Sam Sherman said he has a talented team this year, but he conceded that the girls face a brutal schedule. The team plays in the Southeastern Massachusetts League against top schools including Latin Academy, Franklin and Hingham, last year’s Division II champions. They also play strong Cape Cod and South Shore schools including Falmouth, Sandwich and Duxbury.
“We don’t have any easy games on our schedule. We are put to the test every game . . . which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it,” the coach said.
The team also lost last year’s top scorer Cristina Wiley, who graduated and is now playing for the Boston Shamrocks hockey club. They also lost top defenseman Breanne Russell to graduation; she is now playing for Vermont Academy.
Coach Sherman said the team has nine new players; six are freshman. “This is the first time I’ve had so many freshman skaters. But there is a lot of talent there. As soon as they fall into the system we will start seeing success,” he said.
The girls play at home tomorrow against Barnstable.
The boys basketball team has also gotten off to a strong start, beating Sandwich at home Saturday followed by a solid win on the road Monday against Pembroke. The Vineyarders took a step backwards against Bishop Stang on the road Tuesday to run their record to 2-1 on the young season.
Coach Mike Joyce said he expects a good year. Although the team lost key players, including Nick Viera, Bubba Brown and Jwann Johnson to graduation, this year’s team boasts eight seniors and a balanced mix of youth and experience.
Steven Handy, Jess Swaringen, Cody Brewer and Alex Poole are all expected to provide scoring.
Perhaps the biggest question is at center, where junior Pat Hart will try to fill Brown’s sizeable shoes. But Hart has already shown he is up to the task; in last year’s playoff game against Wareham he scored 16 points while filling in when Brown got into foul trouble.
Coach Joyce said he expects the Vineyarders to be a good shooting team that is adept at ball control and running the fast break. “We are a bit undersized but we hope to overcome that with speed and good shooting. The fast break should be a big part of our offense,” he said.
In their opener against Sandwich Saturday, the Vineyarders stormed out to an early seven-point lead, before losing their shooting touch and falling behind 21-24 at halftime. Sandwich extended its lead to six points in the third quarter before the Vineyarders set off an offensive explosion fueled by the fast break en route to an eventual 56-45 win.
Handy had 18 points, Mark Reppert had 10 and Billy Regan added nine points in the win.
The team had a bad night against Bishop Stang Tuesday, shooting a dreadful 17-68 from the field and 20-41 from the foul line. The Vineyarders fell behind by a large margin in the first half, but battled back to within seven points in the third quarter. In the end, they just couldn’t overcome the poor shooting and lost 77-63.
Reppert finished with 16 and Randall Jette had 11 points in the loss.
“We were bit a sluggish from the start against [Bishop Stang]. We finally got some intensity late in the game but it was too late,” the coach said.
The boys play at home tonight against Canton.