Boys Hockey Stuns Martha’s Vineyard In Overtime, One Win Away From Final Four

Boys hockey head coach Scott Corbett and assistant coach Bob Hickman addressed the team before their round two matchup against Martha’s Vineyard and told them in the locker room they needed to score goals in order to win against Vineyard senior goalie Graham Stearns, who is capable of stealing a game any given night.

“If we don’t score, Graham will steal it,” Corbett said. “That is how this goes. Man to man we are a better team but they have a great goalie. He steals games for them.

Goals turned out to be scarce Tuesday night. Stearns and Whaler sophomore goalie Griffin Starr shined all night long, but Nantucket ultimately won the game in overtime 2-1 thanks to a heroic goal by senior winger Riley Williams to send Nantucket to the Round of 8 in the Div. 4 MIAA State Tournament.

As the puck found the back of the net and Corbett saw Williams leap into the glass to celebrate with his teammates and Whaler fans who made the trip, Corbett began to think back to the second half of his conversation with the team prior to puck drop.

“We asked them who has a goal on their stick today and Riley says ‘I do,’” Corbett said. “So Bob looks right at him and says ‘talk is cheap Riley Williams talk is cheap.’ Turns out Riley Williams had a goal on his stick today.”

Corbett said he couldn’t have pictured a better environment for a tournament game than the one they were in Tuesday night.

“That game was unreal,” he said. “They packed the rink. It was loud. It was an incredible atmosphere. It was just high school hockey at its best. We knew that they were going to come out strong at the beginning with that atmosphere and we would need to weather the storm in the first half of the first period, which we did. Griff made some huge saves for us today and we weathered it.”

The game was scoreless after one period of play, in large part thanks to Starr, but the Vineyard struck first 2:48 into the second period to take a 1-0 lead.

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t think we played very well for the first half of the game,” Corbett said. “I thought we were flat until the Vineyard scored. I thought them scoring woke us up and got us playing our game. We got angry and really started getting into it. We played so much better from that point on. We fought through everything and got the tying goal.”

The tying goal came from Whaler assistant captain Cosmo Tedeschi, who has been one of Nantucket’s best players for much of this second half of the season. Tedeschi’s goal was a typical Tedeschi. He found himself in front of the net and was able to bury a loose puck with 2:37 to go in the second period. Tedeschi has been the heartbeat of this team for much of this season and helped them go in the second intermission tied 1-1 with all of the momentum.

The third period was where Starr and Stearns shined the most. Starr made several fantastic saves during a four minute penalty kill while Stearns made a few of his own after the Whalers peppered his net with the jolt they received from that four minute kill.

“I thought the third period was pretty evenly matched,” Corbett said. “I can’t say enough about our penalty killers. They played it perfectly the whole time. There were sticks in lanes, they got into shooting lanes, they didn’t give them many looks. The Vineyard did hit the crossbar during that penalty kill but Cosmo hit one too in the game so it evens out. That penalty kill was the game.”

The Whalers needed someone to step up in overtime. Tedeschi was able to bat the puck out of mid-air, settled it, and passed it to Williams who was able slid it through Stearns to send the Whalers to the Round of 8 in the MIAA State Tournament.

“Riley did a power move and took it to the net instead of shooting it,” Corbett said. “That is exactly what he needed to do and he put it five-hole.”

The #11 Whalers will travel to take on #3 Stoneham, who beat Cohasset/Hull 7-4 on Tuesday behind a five goal, one assist effort from junior captain Danny Storella. Corbett said he knows Stoneham will be a tough matchup, but likes his team’s chances.

“Anything can happen at this point,” Corbett said. “One kid scored five of their goals and had an assist. One kid shouldn’t beat you. You need to find a way to shut one kid down. You can throw records out the window this time of year. We have the confidence and we won’t see another team better than anything we have seen so far this season between Norwell and Sandwich. We just need to get to work and be ready to go against Stoneham.”

The date and time of this game is to be determined, but early indications are that the game will be Friday due to weather concerns on Saturday. The game will be in Stoneham, with the winner advancing to the final four, which will take place at neutral sites.

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