Grafton/BVT Hockey Seeks Total Effort in Tourney
By Chris Villani Sports Reporter/Columnist · March 02, 2017
A strong stretch run has the Grafton/Blackstone Valley Tech hockey team in the Division 3A Central Mass tournament, but head coach Mike Binkoski is hoping some late lapses will teach his team to play a full 45 minutes in the postseason.
"We had a great last four games outside of an eight-minute stretch, we played great," Binkoski said. "We played great in our defensive end, we worked hard, we made plays."
Still, for a six-minute stretch against Oakmont and another two minutes against Hopkinton, the Indians struggled and allowed a total of seven goals on the way to a pair of late-season losses.
"It's a good coaching point," Binkoski said. "We have to play hard for all 45 minutes, because that's how good playoff teams are and that's the type of team we are going to see the rest of the way."
The coach said his seniors have played with a sense of urgency down the stretch, knowing their high school careers will continue only as long as their tournament run lasts. Cam Thomas racked up eight goals and nine assists in the regular season, while Stefan Sadlon added nine points.
Senior defensemen Ed Matatall and Skyler Colwell have also played more minutes over the last part of the season.
"They have become great young men over the past few years," Binkoski said. "They play with a quiet confidence, but they are tough out there, battling in the corner, they are beasts out there.
"They realize this is it for them in terms of their high school careers," the coach added. "You can see it; this is the hardest they have worked in four years."
Junior forwards Noah Charron and Jameson Adee are also playing their best hockey of the season, Binkoski said. He added there is a "bevy" of young Valley Tech students who have stepped into larger roles as the season has progressed. Trevor Thomas, Seth Vartabedian, Adam Shobe, and Mike Schmitt have all made significant contributions down the stretch.
"These are guys who just keep working and are improving every day and it's good to see their confidence grow," Binkoski said. "It's been incredible. They can see their confidence grow more and more, and it's great to watch."
A number three seed in a field Binkoski has said is "wide open,"
Grafton/BVT began their playoff run Thursday against Hopedale/Millis.