Despite dominating on the shot counter, the Nantucket boys’ hockey team found itself in a deadlock against Dennis-Yarmouth midway through the third period Saturday on home ice. With the Cape & Islands Lighthouse Tournament championship on the line, the Whalers went back to their favorite strategy to create a tiebreaking goal.
Coach Scott Corbett said the Whalers stuck to their fundamentals of puck possession, speed, and cycling to manufacture an opportunity with less than six minutes remaining. After the puck was cycled down low in the offensive zone, senior forward Marsh Hickman made a pass into the slot to junior defender Hudson Perry.
Perry buried it with 5:45 left for his second goal of the game and the Whalers held on for a 3-1 championship victory.
“It was nice to see them finish it off,” Corbett said of his team. “They were the top team from wire to wire this season so it was a good way to end it.”
He said the game followed a familiar pattern: The Whalers (12-3-1) opened the scoring — thanks to Perry — but struggled to add on. Meanwhile, the Dolphins got a first-period power play goal from senior defenseman Zaq Quenneville to make it 1-1. Despite a vast lead in the shot column for Nantucket (32-13 through two periods), the game still was tied late.
“We were grinding away at it, but [D-Y] had a bit of life in the third,” Corbett said. “It was a really good third period.”
Sophomore forward Jack Billings scored an empty-net goal with 35 seconds left to put the game away. Before that, though, senior goalie James Culkins made an outstanding toe save to keep the one-goal lead intact, Corbett said.
“I’m happy for the seniors, that they were able to compete,” Corbett said. “They needed this.”
Falmouth 4, Cape Cod 0 — Playing for the first time in 10 days after COVID-19 contract tracing concerns swept over the Cape & Islands League and altered its girls’ hockey schedule, top-seeded Falmouth displayed a little rust during the first period of Saturday’s C&I Tournament semifinal against the fourth-seeded Cape Cod Furies at Falmouth Ice Arena.
The Clippers ultimately shook their slow start and punched their ticket to the tournament final with a victory over the Furies, a co-op team comprised of girls from Nauset, Monomoy and Cape Tech.
Sophomore Ryann McDonald scored twice, her cousin and classmate Abby McDonald also lit the lamp, while junior Samantha McKenzie added a goal and an assist for the Clippers (12-0-1), who earned the shutout behind sophomore Lucy Armour’s 17 saves.
Falmouth hosts No. 3 Barnstable (6-2-3) for the Cape & Islands League crown at 5 p.m. Sunday at Falmouth Ice Arena. The rivals skated to a 2-2 tie Feb. 15 after Falmouth earned a 4-3 win in their first meeting Feb. 6.
“Barnstable is the only blemish on our record this year,” Falmouth coach Brian Ferreira said. “I think I’ve played them since I’ve been coaching here 12 times and they’ve all been one-goal games or ties — it’s always close with them. They’ve got some really good players, so it’ll be fun.”
Globe correspondent Brad Joyal contributed to this report.