Chris Matton joked when he got back to the bench that the shot he had just taken was the ugliest of his life. For the Mashpee-Monomoy boys’ ice hockey team, it was the most beautiful of 2021 by far.
Matton’s off-speed wrist shot from the high slot at 3:51 of the third period proved to be the game winner for the Monarchs as they posted their first win of the year, beating Dennis-Yarmouth by a 2-1 score at Tony Kent Arena on Wednesday, February 17.
“I didn’t think that one win would feel this good at this point in the season, but it does just feel good to get (the win) out of the way,” Monarchs head coach Chris Peterson said.
While the win felt great, the moments leading up to it were nausea-inducing for the coaching staff and the players on the bench as the seconds on the clock ticked slowly. A penalty against MM with just over four minutes left to go in the game gave D-Y a great chance to get even, but goaltender Josh Lovely made several big saves and the penalty killers were able to get through that without surrendering the equalizer.
After failing on the power play, the Dolphins pulled their keeper with about a minute to play. He would have been able to leave the net earlier, but by misjudging the angle of a shot from the other end of the ice by the Monarchs the keeper played a puck that would have gone for icing with 1:20 left to go. Instead of getting the whistle, a chance to send the extra attacker out, and an offensive zone draw, D-Y had to execute a laborious breakout that the Monarchs used to shave some precious time off of the clock.
D-Y would have had one last great chance, with nine seconds left, but Charlie Southworth redeemed himself for getting called for the penalty a few minutes earlier. Southworth stepped up to block a slapshot. The puck hit off of his body and out of the zone as time expired.
“About the five-minute mark we decided to just play conservative, get the puck in deep and keep doing that. The penalty was tough, it wasn’t ideal, but they did a good job of killing that off. The kids were confident about that. Stringing three periods together has been the hardest thing for us,” Peterson said.
Mashpee-Monomoy enjoyed a lead for most of the game. The Monarchs struck in the first period at the 11:47 mark when Alex Matton slid the puck to the top of the left-wing circle for Max Abboud, and the senior captain snapped off a wrist shot from the far side. With Matton screening the keeper, the puck whistled in to put MM on top 1-0.
The score remained the same until the third period, when Chris Matton scored his ugly goal. With his team on a power play, and failing to do much with the puck, Matton skated over the blueline and let a shot go that never left the ice. The skimmer came off the blade slower than intended, which confounded D-Y keeper Mason Sheehan, and found the inside of the far post for a 2-0 Mashpee lead.
D-Y got that one back less than a minute later on a hard shot from the slot off the stick of Griffin Feeley. That was the only mistake of the game for Josh Lovely in net. Making just his third start of the year, Lovely made 23 saves in the game, including nine in the third period to pick up the victory.
Now 1-10 on the year, the Monarchs will host Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday, February 20, in their regular-season finale. After that the Cape and Islands League tournament will be held.