SOUTH DENNIS — It was only a matter of time before the Nauset Regional High School boys hockey team received a little puck luck. It finally came last week.
After playing in five games without a win, the Warriors finally got in the win column on Feb. 3 when they celebrated Senior Night with a 4-3 victory over Barnstable at Charles Moore Arena.
Three days later, Nauset notched its first winning streak of the year with a 4-1 victory over the Mashpee-Monomoy Monarchs co-op team on Saturday at Tony Kent Arena in South Dennis.
The win over Barnstable marked the first career victory for first-year varsity coach Drew Locke, who said the Warriors were eager to show opponents they were better than their record indicated.
“We knew how important it was to show people we’re not just the Nauset Warriors who haven’t won a game yet,” Locke said after Saturday’s win. “We wanted to show everybody we work hard. Day in and day out, we always say, ‘Nobody works harder than Nauset,’ and we wanted to show everybody that.”
Senior co-captain Clayton Hussey turned in a big Senior Night, leading the way with two goals against Barnstable. Sophomore Daniel Deering and sophomore Cam Taylor also found the back of the net, while sophomore goaltender Kevin Wright earned the win between the pipes.
The momentum from the Barnstable win didn’t immediately carry over to Saturday as Nauset (2-4-1) found itself facing an early deficit after Mashpee sophomore Chris Matton gave the Monarchs a 1-0 lead just 17 seconds into the game.
Matton was stationed in the slot when he redirected a shot from the blue line by senior defenseman Alex Tosi.
“The puck went back to the point, so I circled around and I just put my stick out and it went in,” said Matton. “It was good because we needed a big start and some momentum against a team like that.”
“Our mindset was to go out and play physical hockey and try to rattle them from the start,” added Mashpee-Monomoy coach Chris Peterson. “They had a big win against Barnstable the other night, so I was kind of hoping that would happen — that they’d have a letdown in the first period and we were going to take advantage of it.”
The Monarchs (0-5-0) continued to pepper the Warriors’ freshman netminder Kaden Bono, who rode out the flurry of shots he faced in the first 10 minutes. The goal he allowed to Matton ended up being his only blemish, as he made 18 saves the rest of the way.
With Bono sharp in net, Nauset erased its deficit with a redirection of its own. With 5:19 remaining in the opening period, junior Cam Viprino raised his stick about waist high and tipped senior defenseman Ethan Keeney’s goal from the point.
The deflection snuck past Mashpee-Monomoy sophomore goaltender Dom Tsoukalas and evened the score at 1, which remained the score when the teams left the ice for the first intermission.
“It was just being in the right place at the right time,” said Viprino, an Eastham resident. “It was a real heartbreaking start, so it was a huge weight off our shoulders to get that first one.”
Just as Mashpee-Monomoy attacked quickly in the opening period, Nauset wasted no time in the middle frame. Deering netted his second goal in as many games when he put home a loose puck amid a chaotic scrum in front of the Monarchs’ net just 42 seconds into the period.
Freshman Julian Krivos, a Dennis resident, scored twice for the Warriors in the third period, though neither goal seemed on purpose. The freshman’s first goal of the season came when he whipped the puck into the slot area from along the side boards.
The puck ricocheted off a Mashpee-Monomoy player’s skates and slid below the feet of Tsoukalas with 10:26 left in the game. Krivos scored again with 18.6 seconds remaining when a shot by junior Noah Clarke deflected off him and into the net, putting an exclamation point on the victory.
Krivos admitted he was surprised to score, especially on the first goal, which came from an improbable angle.
“A little bit,” he said. “I was just trying to make something happen out front and I got lucky.”
It was the perfect ending to Nauset’s best week yet, during which Locke said he felt like his team took a major step in its development.
“We’re a young group and we’re learning from our mistakes,” Locke said. “We just need to know what our individual roles are and then keep working together as a team.”
Email Brad Joyal at email@example.com