By Chris Villani Sports Reporter/Columnist · March 23, 2017
BVT Seniors Lead Hockey Team to Title
For the past four years, the seniors on the Grafton/Blackstone Valley Tech have listened to a history lesson about the successes of those who came before them. Last weekend, they were able to make a little history of their own, beating Oakmont 5-2 to win the Division 3A sectional championship.
"I always bring up guys in the past and what they've done," said head coach Mike Binkoski. "One of our assistant coaches, Tanner Drawbridge, told the guys, 'Coach Bink is always bringing up these old guys, don't guy want to be the guys he brings up in the future?'"
The players Binkoski referenced are not all that old. The current crop of seniors was in the eighth grade when the Indians last won the sectional title in 2013, but the message still resonated. "They were really hungry," Binkoski said, "they wanted to win this."
Four Valley Tech seniors helped drive the co-op program's success this winter, assistant captains Cam Thomas and Stefan Sadlon and defensemen Ed Matatall and Styler Colwell.
"I've said it all year, I don't think I have been harder on a guy than Cam Thomas in his four years," Binkoski said. "Even when he made mental mistakes, he always worked so hard. He persevered and he is such a good kid. To see him score the game winner last week, it made all those times he was frustrated worth it."
Binkoski described Sadlon as a "quiet leader," saying the BVT senior "did all the little things right, in practices and in games, he worked his butt off." By the time the tournament rolled around, Sadlon was playing the best hockey of his career, his coach said.
Matatall and Colwell earned their coach's praise for doing the things that don't always show up on the stat sheet.
"Ed just battles, he protects the puck and does the little things," Binkoski said. "Colwell is one of those guys who competes and works really hard. He has improved over the past four years and become a great role model for the younger guys.
"Their leadership in the locker room and on the ice in practice was huge," he added. "When you're a freshmen or a sophomore and you see these guys work so hard, you can't help but be inspired. They answered the bell and it worked."
The quartet has given Binkoski some new stories to tell in seasons to come. "Next year and the year after," he said, "I will be talking about these guys."