Indians defeat Bishop Stang in first round of Holiday Tournament

Dec 27, 2019

Dartmouth High School’s hockey team came out on top against rivals Bishop Stang on Friday night after a hard-fought game in the first round of the annual Holiday Tournament.

Hundreds of supporters packed in to the Hetland Memorial rink in New Bedford to cheer their favorites, with the Dartmouth High crowd sporting the usual green and white and Bishop Stang in black with festive Santa hats.

Hosted by Dartmouth High, the tournament is a longstanding tradition that sees four local teams — Foxboro, Barrington, RI, Dartmouth and Bishop Stang — compete over the holidays in a friendly matchup.

Excitement ran high both on and off the ice, as the host team parents held a holiday raffle and a chuck-a-puck fundraiser for the kids to use towards special gear like jerseys, gloves, and skate sharpeners.

Prizes were donated by various local organizations, including a 50-inch TV and $500 in scratch tickets from Kia of Dartmouth. 

There was also a Bruins jersey and a Celtics jersey for the winners of the chuck-a-puck competition, in which participants buy numbered pucks to throw at a target on the ice before the final period.

And the game itself was a nail-biter. After a scoreless first period, Dartmouth sophomore J.C. Frates put the puck in the net during a power play with five minutes left in the second period to set the score 1-0 going into the third.

Both teams had back-to-back goals in the third period, with Dartmouth scoring first four minutes in, closely followed by Bishop Stang less than a minute later, bringing the score to its final 2-1.

In the final minute, Stang pulled their goaltender to add an extra player on the offense, but Dartmouth goalie J.P. Kerney kept them at bay.

“You got two rival schools competing against one another, with a great crowd that’s really into the game,” said Dartmouth High Athletic Director Andrew Crisafulli. “There’s nothing better in high school sports than that!”

“Both teams are skating hard. It’s very competitive,” said Bishop Stang Athletic Director Dennis Golden. “It’s great to see high school kids enjoying this environment.”

“This is a rivalry that we’ve been watching for years,” said Dartmouth resident Mark Cruz. “It’s a great atmosphere. This game is incredible!”

Cruz came with his 13-year-old, who plays hockey. “His dream is to wear that white jersey,” he said with a laugh.

Mike Duclox of New Bedford brought his two young daughters to watch their cousin, Bishop Stang freshman Aidan Simmons, play.

“We are having a great time! Obviously the score is a little upsetting,” he smiled, “but you know, we’re having a good time, the kids are having fun.”

“The atmosphere is just fantastic in this game,” said Dartmouth High head hockey coach Mike Cappello. “I wish all high school hockey games were like this. But this is just one that both teams look forward to.”

Cappello noted that the teams were very evenly matched. 

“In the end, the difference was our goaltender,” he said. “He had a great game, made some big saves.”

Dartmouth will go on to play Foxboro in the championship on Saturday, December 28 at 4 p.m. at the Hetland rink.