WOBURN, Mass. -- There is a new name tied atop the record books at Wilmington High. Actually, it is the same name, just with a different first initial.
Wildcats senior captain Cam Owens scored his 135th career goal to equal the school record that his brother Andy set just two seasons ago. Cam would be expected to take hold of the record on his own by the end of the season with still eight more games to play in the regular season.
Owens goal was also the lone score in Wilmington’s 1-0 win over Middlesex League rival Winchester on Saturday afternoon at O’Brien Rink. The win qualifies the Wildcats, the defending Division 2 state champions, for the postseason.
The game’s only goal came with just 8:02 remaining in the third period. Junior forward Brendan McDonough fired a long pass down the middle of the ice to find Owens streaking into the Winchester zone. Owens pushed towards goal and, forced onto his backhand, fired a pass across the crease toward freshman Billy Falter but the puck deflected off the skate of a defenseman into the net.
Wilmington head coach Steve Scanlon was pleased to come away with the win, but pointed to a number of chances that his team failed to take that would have killed off the game.
“We missed some good chances there late in the game, some open nets, but they’re a good team and a stubborn team,” Scanlon said. “We were fortunate to get the goal. We just preached to put the puck on net in the third and they did a good job.”
The Wildcats (11-2-0, 9-1-0) did not get off to a great start to the game and chances were at a premium for both teams throughout. Wilmington had the best chances in the first period when McDonough hit the post twice and Dylan DiNatale failed to tip in the puck on an empty net.
Scanlon blamed his team’s week layoff for the rough start to the game.
He added, “I thought the week off at this point in the season would help us. I think we were a little sluggish.”
The Sachems (9-2-2, 7-2-2) managed only two shots on goal in the first period and struggled to create clear-cut scoring chances. Referencing the goal that Wilmington scored, Winchester head coach Matt Spang explained that his team needed to make a more concerted effort to produce offense.
“You’re going to have to score ugly goals and we’re going to have to get to the net a little better,” he remarked. “We have 22 guys on the bench and I need all of them to contribute, not just defensively, but offensively, too. You can’t just wait for one or two guys to get it done.”
Despite being outshot, 27-17, for the game, Winchester hung around and had a chance to tie the game late in the third period. With 2:31 left, the Sachems earned a power play, but were unable to create a great chance. Junior Nolan Redler had one good shot snapped out of the air by Wildcats goaltender Drew Foley, which kept it 1-0 in the final seconds.
Scanlon was full of praise for his junior goalie, who he described as “among the best goaltenders we’ve ever had.”
He added, “Drew gives you a chance to win every night of the week. He’s a tough goaltender. He controls rebounds and you need to pour a lot of shots on him to beat him and we don’t give up a lot of shots.”
Regardless of the scrappy nature of the game and the game-winning goal, Scanlon was proud to see his team step up and get the result that qualifies them for the postseason.
“We wanted to get a seat in the tournament so getting the result was what we were after,” he said.
Winchester will play No. 6 Reading on Wednesday, while Wilmington will travel to Stoneham.