The Vineyard boys hockey team successfully defended home ice Wednesday with a 5-1 victory over Fitchburg in the opening round of the playoffs.

Under pressure, Vineyard goalie Zach Mathias was steady in the net. — Jonathan Fleischmann

The Vineyarders outshot the visitors 49 to 14 as they utilized their speed to maintain possession and shut down their opponent’s offense before it could ever get going.

“We did a good job of breaking out, springing the wingers and giving the defense a lot of space and a lot of time to make a play and get it deep,” senior captain Nick Rego said after the game.

Rego started the scoring in the first period as he zipped a rising shot from back by the blue line past the goaltender’s shoulder. After the game, the defensemen said he drew on some inspiration from his coaches on his tie-breaking shot.

“Everyone knows it’s a tough one for goalies and the coaches always flip it up on our goalie in practice, so I figured I’d try it out,” Rego said.

The team added to their lead in the first with a goal from sophomore forward Hunter Johnson. Two more goals came in the second from Frankie Paciello, also a sophomore forward, and the final tally came in the third period from junior defenseman Aiden Conley.

Vineyarders outshot their opponents 49-14. — Jonathan Fleischmann

The Vineyard’s junior netminder Zach Mathias was steadfast as he stopped multiple breakaways with impressive saves that could have easily swung momentum away from the Vineyarders early in the contest.

“He was pretty focused,” said Vineyard head coach Matt Mincone. “This kind of game, you’ve got to be focused.”

Coach Mincone said he and his boys don’t necessarily feel great about the game and how they played but “this time of year we want to win and move on to the next one. It’s the outcome that matters.”

“We have to tighten things up. We have two days to do it and we will,” the head coach said.

The boys will have another home playoff game in the sweet 16. They will play either ninth-seeded Stoneham or 24th-seeded Greenfield depending on the outcome of their matchup Wednesday evening. The date and time of the game are to be determined.

More pictures.