Sports Roundup: Boys Hockey Beats Martha's Vineyard 5-3, Improve Win Streak To 13 Games

David Creed •

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Sophomore winger Jeremy Jenkinson with a huge open ice hit during Saturday's matinee matchup against Martha's Vineyard. Photo by Chris Tran

This weekend was busy for Whaler sports with the boys hockey team notably completing the season sweep over Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday (barring another matchup in state tournament play). The girls basketball team also won a pair of games to improve their win streak to eight games. The boys basketball team lost to the Vineyard at home, and the girls hockey team lost on the road to the Vineyard – however they received a significant boost to their lineup that should bode well for them down the stretch as they continue searching for their first win of the season.

Boys Hockey Completes Season Sweep Of Martha's Vineyard

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Sophomore winger Jeremy Jenkinson with a huge open ice hit during Saturday's matinee matchup against Martha's Vineyard. Photo by Chris Tran

The Whaler boys hockey team welcomed Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket Saturday afternoon for a much-anticipated matchup in front of a packed Nantucket Ice Rink between two of Div. 4’s top teams.

The Whalers rode some timely goal scoring by senior forwards Ryan Davis, Colby O’Keefe, and Braden Knapp, as well as some timely goaltending by senior captain Griffin Starr to a 5-3 victory to improve their record to 13-1 this season – leaving their head coach Jack Moran very impressed and proud of his squad after yet another solid victory.

Hockey Coaches
Left to right: Ray Patrick, Michael Howard, Jack Moran Sr. (head coach), Jack Moran Jr., and Bryan Larivee. Photo by Chris Tran

"It's been a while (since we beat MV at home). It's always been like they win here, and we win there type of thing. It's been like that ping pong game, but it feels nice to beat them here I'll tell ya,” Moran said. “It's been that game that has been hyped up for the whole season waiting for them to come over here and it feels good but boy I'll tell you during the whole game it wasn't any fun. Back and forth, back and forth. Oh my God - it's enough to drive you crazy.”

Both teams were tied 2-2 after one period. The Vineyard struck first with a shorthanded goal with 8:51 to go in the first period. Knapp answered for the Whalers five minutes later with his 12th goal of the season to tie the game 1-1.

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The Whalers celebrating beside a logo of their favorite news publication. Photo by Chris Tran

The Vineyard retook their lead on the power play with just over one minute left in the first period, but Davis did what he normally does - which is score big, timely goals for his team. He tied the game 2-2 with his 15th goal of the season with just three seconds remaining on the game clock in the first.

46 seconds into the second, Davis came streaking down the left wing with speed and ripped a missile of a shot on net - beating Vineyard junior goalie Henry Wansiewicz glove side to make it 3-2 Nantucket with his 16th goal of the year.

“That one goal that Ryan scored right off the face-off and then went down (the ice) … what a laser beam that was,” Moran said. “That was incredible. Everybody was like 'Holy Moly' but that was good. I think the goalie was looking at his catching glove like he had a hole in it like 'What happened?'”

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Ryan Davis celebrating after one of his two goals. Photo by Chris Tran
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Ryan Davis. Photo by Chris Tran

After the Vineyard tied it 3-3 five minutes later, the scoring slowed down for the remainder of the period.

But Nantucket got a power play opportunity late, and O’Keefe capitalized with 34 seconds left to make it 4-3 heading into the final period. It was O’Keefe’s 14th goal of the season and the eventual game-winner.

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O'Keefe's goal late in the second period proved to be the eventual game-winner. Photo by Chris Tran

The Whalers were clinging to their one goal lead for the first half of the third until senior defenseman Michael Culkins gave Nantucket the insurance goal they were searching for to make it 5-3 with 6:34 left in the game. It was the star defenseman’s 5th goal of the season.

Starr had some timely saves in the final period as well as some timely saves to prevent the Vineyard from going up 2-0 early or to retake their lead in the second period.

The Whalers also had four goals called back in the game, but Moran was proud of how his team shook them off and just kept playing.

“What are you going to do? You can’t argue. You don’t have Toronto looking at it you know what I mean,” Moran said.

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The Whalers gather in front of the student section following their impressive victory. Photo by Chris Tran
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Canton Jenkinson with a big hit in Saturday's win. Photo by Chris Tran

The Whalers could also see themselves closing in on the top seed in the MIAA Div. 4 state tournament bracket after #1 Winthrop lost to Marblehead 4-1 Saturday afternoon.

Nantucket’s next game is currently scheduled for Saturday, February 10th at 2 p.m. on the road against Bishop Stang, who the Whalers beat 5-0 earlier this season on the island.

Point leaders through 14 games:

1) Braden Knapp (LW): 12 Goals, 17 assists, 29 points.

2) Ryan Davis (C): 16 goals, 12 assists, 28 points.

3) Colby O'Keefe (C): 14 goals, 10 assists, 24 points.

4) Jeremy Jenkinson (F): 8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points.

5) Michael Culkins (D): 5 goals, 8 assists, 13 points.

All photos in this story were taken by Current sports photographer Chris Tran.

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Photo by Chris Tran
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Photo by Chris Tran

Girls Hoops One Win Away From State Tournament Berth

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The Nantucket girls basketball team and their season turnaround has quickly become one of the best storylines of the Whaler winter sports season. Photo by David Creed

One of the most fascinating storylines to emerge from this winter sports season has been the improbable turnaround of the girls basketball team’s season. After beginning the season 1-6, the girls have now won eight straight games and find themselves one win away from clinching a state tournament spot.

The Whalers began the season with a difficult schedule and while some of their wins have been against opponents with subpar records, they have also earned a couple of signature wins.

Nantucket began their season with a 38-18 loss against Cape Cod Academy on Dec. 7th and a 49-27 loss against Martha’s Vineyard on Dec. 9th. In the midst of this win streak the Whalers got a second crack against both opponents and beat them both. They beat CCA 35-30 on Jan. 11th and Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday 39-32.

"They're all good wins but this one (against the Vineyard) and that Cape Cod Academy win are really kind of like, I guess you could call them signature wins right now,” head coach Rafael Osona said. “I mean both games we lost prior by 20+ and you know those are good programs. They are strong programs, and they have good players. It's really an affirmation that we're not just beating up on teams that are in a rebuilding cycle... we're able to win against teams that are good. This team has come a long, long way and it's really gratifying to see that. It was intense game against the Vineyard. but at no point were we not in control.”

Everyone from Osona, to assistant coaches Ryan Watson and Moneak Phillips, to every player on the roster deserves lots of credit for never quitting on the season despite a slow start and instead seeing it through and making the most of what was in front of them.

But much of the success on the court has been in large part thanks to Osona’s “Big Four” of junior Maddie Lombardi, junior Alana Ludvigson, senior captain Joan Harris, and junior Manny Taveras. All four have contributed at both ends of the floor and stepped up to make key plays at important parts of these past eight wins.

On Saturday, Lombardi led the team with 21 points and on Friday contributed 15 points in the Whalers 49-23 win over Sturgis East.

“She went bananas,” Osona said of Lombardi’s weekend. “She hit some timely threes but then a lot of those other buckets were just her working hard, grinding for rebounds, getting out in transition, being efficient from the foul line. She went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the fourth quarter (against MV) when the game could have gone either way had we missed our free throws and they hit some shots but Maddie, as well as Manny at the end of the game were collectively like 5 of 6 from the line and that really iced the game.”

Osona also was very complimentary of senior Madison Silva and her rebounding. He said she had several offensive rebound opportunities in Saturday’s game that led to second chance points and believes the efforts of her, as well as others such as freshman Madden Myer on the boards, have led to the Whalers offense improving because of the larger quantity of shots it is allowing their scorers to get on the offensive end.

“Madison really stood out to me. She was absolutely a dominant force on the boards,” Osona said. “She secured, gosh, half a dozen offensive rebounds and just as many on the defensive end for us that were at critical times and gave us second and third chance opportunities. She didn’t score on Saturday but her impact on the game was tremendous.”

The Whalers are back in action on Monday, February 5th when they host St. John Paul II at 5 p.m. The Whalers lost to SJP 52-22 in the third game of the season, but hope to complete a 180 on the Lions in similar fashion to what they did to CCA and Martha’s Vineyard.

Boys Hoops Lose To Martha’s Vineyard

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Nantucket boys basketball seniors were honored prior to Saturday's game and posed for a group picture with their parents. From left to right: Carlos Aguilar, Jack Halik, Jayquan Francis, Dwayne Martin, Chris Simpson, and Shea Dwyer. Photo by David Creed

The boys basketball team was unable to carry over their TD Garden magic from their 67-58 win over Martha’s Vineyard last month – losing 60-47 on Saturday.

The Vineyard took a quick 7-0 lead 2:14 into the game, but the Whalers continued to fight back for much of the first half. They trailed 14-11 after one quarter with seniors Jack Halik, Jayquan Francis, and Dwayne Martin (two 3’s in the first) all contributing at both ends of the court.

The Vineyard went on a 11-4 run to begin the second and built a 25-15 lead. Senior Carlos Aguilar drilled a three to make it 25-18, but the Vineyard scored five straight points to make it 30-18 and eventually took a 34-22 lead into halftime.

Nantucket never came much closer to evening the score in the second half as each time they would cut the lead to eight or 10 points, the Vineyard would always have an answer. The Whalers were led by Francis (17 points), Halik (nine points), and Martin (nine points).

The Whalers are now 10-7 this season and still have three regular season games to go as they tune up for what they hope is a successful showing in the MIAA Div. 4 state tournament.

Girls Hockey Loses Pair Of Games Over Weekend

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Nantucket's four seniors from left to right: Siena Monto, Bailey Lower, Claire Misurelli, and Emerson Pekarcik. Photo courtesy of the girls hockey team

The girls hockey team is still searching for their first win of the season following a pair of defeats over the weekend.

On Friday, February 2nd the Whalers lost to Weymouth on the road 6-1. Bea Holland, an eighth-grade winger who has worked her way into the Whaler’s top six, scored her first career varsity goal in the game.

On Saturday, February 3rd the Whalers lost to Martha’s Vineyard 8-2. Senior captain Emerson Pekarcik scored both goals for Nantucket.

The Whalers got a very exciting boost to their lineup that has them optimistic for their chances to secure that allusive first win as senior captain Bailey Lower, the team’s leading scorer in each of the past two seasons, returned to game action this weekend after missing the entirety of the season to date while dealing with an injury.

With Lower back healthy, the Whalers now have their star winger in the fold and should see an uptick in scoring after managing to put just nine goals in the back of the net to this point of the season.

Nantucket is now 0-10 but have a shot at their first win on Wednesday, February 7th at home against Dennis-Yarmouth (3-10-1) at 5:15 p.m. This game is also the Whalers senior game and they are hoping for a strong showing as four seniors are honored prior to the game.

Speaking to head coach Andrew McNeilly after Saturday’s game, he said they are hopeful to have freshman Sadie Paterson back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game – which would give Nantucket three lines to roll.

“They have been working so hard,” McNeilly said of his team. “They just don’t get those lucky bounces.” He added that they are hopeful to get a big crowd for the Whaler’s senior game as well, which could give them a boost as they battle for that first win.


Monday, February 5th:

Girls basketball hosts St. John Paul II at 5 p.m.

Tuesday, February 6th:

Boys basketball travels to Nauset to face the Warriors at 3:30 p.m.

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