HYANNIS – The Monomoy-Mashpee Monarchs started their season with a tie and finished in the same way in their final game of the 2019-2020 season on Feb. 20, playing to a 1-1 tie with East Bridgewater.
A smattering of fans came to check out the morning contest and weren't disappointed as the Monarchs made it clear from the first puck drop that they were making the most of their last game. After snagging the opening face off, the home team took off on a first possession courtesy of Wyatt Archibald, Alex Tosi, and Max Abboud, but in spite of several shots on goal, no score was had.
“We just weren't getting good shots on net and getting the rebounds,” said Monarchs head coach Chris Peterson. “We needed to crash the net harder, but I was proud of the kids. They kept their heads up the entire game, the entire season.”
Indeed, it was a season that proved challenging. After an auspicious 1-1 start against Nauset, the Monarchs dropped their next two games against New Bedford Voke and St. John Paul II, establishing something of a pattern that would continue to dog them.
After the two losses came a commanding 6-0 victory against Cardinal Spellman, which was followed by a 1-1 tie against East Bridgewater to start the year. Then came a 2-1 win against Nauset that was sandwiched between losses to Nantucket and D-Y.
The Nauset win would prove the Monarchs' last until their skid was interrupted by a 3-3 tie with D-Y. After a 4-3 heartbreaker against Martha's Vineyard, the Monarchs battled to a 5-3 win against Upper Cape Tech, then defeated Wareham 4-3 two days later. Given that the team then played to a 4-2 loss to New Bedford on Feb. 19, ending the season with a tie felt like going out on a sort of high note.
In the Feb. 20 contest, the Vikings made it onto the scoreboard first late in the opening frame, but with a decidedly fluky goal in which the puck somehow found its way behind Monarchs keeper Josh Lovely amid a scrum in front of the net.
“He just didn't see it,” Peterson said. “It was up over his head and he didn't know where it went. When it landed it just went in.”
That said, Peterson was pleased with Lovely's consistent efforts throughout the game, which saw the Monarchs out-shoot the Vikings 28-16, with Lovely making an impressive 27 saves in net.
“He made some good saves,” said Peterson. “He kept us in it a couple times there.”
Determined not to let the game, and the season, end with another loss, the Monarchs stepped up their intensity in the second, netting their lone goal of the game at 1:03 in the period when Jack Stone literally went airborne to get the puck in the net for his first goal of the season and of his varsity career.
“I don't know why it's taken him so long, but he's a play maker, not a goal scorer,” said Peterson.
While pleased with his team's intensity, Peterson acknowledged that capitalizing on power plays posed a problem.
“I wish our power play was a little more productive,” Peterson said. “The breakout was rough on the power plays. Once we got it in the zone we controlled it, but we couldn't get any quality shots from it.”
In the game's final frame, Archibald came up with a few solid chances for the Monarchs, but Vikings goalkeeper Brian Lawrence wasn't letting anything else by, much to the frustration of Archibald, Max Abboud, and Charlie Southworth.
In a surprising move, the teams entered into a five-minute overtime after regulation play ended, but again, both goalies were stalwart, keeping the score locked at 1-1. Peterson said the OT was offered by the refs and the coaches took it, if only to extend their season just a few minutes more. Though it didn't produce results from either team, Peterson said it was a nice way to cap things off.
“I was happy the way it ended,” he said. “It was fun to have an overtime to finish off the season.”
Peterson said he told his players that he was impressed with their never-give-up attitude during the season and their last game.
“I told the kids that we had a rough stretch in the middle of the season, but the last third of our season we've stayed with [our opponents] every time, if not beaten them. I was really proud to see that progression and them not giving up. They actually started playing harder when we got knocked out of the tournament.”
Peterson had a handful of shoutouts following the game.
“Stoney played really well, Josh in net played really well, and all three of my seniors worked really hard tonight,” he said, referring to Lucas Garneau, Brant Butcher, and Casey Fitzgerald.
Peterson also said that the lineup of returning players—including Lovely, Jack Vinitsky, Abboud, Archibald, and the Tambolleo brothers, Lucas and Jonah—has him looking forward to next year.
“It's a great future,” he said. “A lot of young kids that we'll be able to develop a program around. I'm excited for it.”