The Wilmington boys hockey team tied Melrose on Saturday. But in the bigger picture, the Wildcats were definite winners on the afternoon.
After weeks of hard work, the team finished out its fundraising efforts by holding a Breast Cancer Game complete with pink jerseys and raffles throughout.
In total, the team raised about $3,100 that will be split evenly between the Travis Roy Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
"The kids undertand that there is a greater cause, and it isn't just about sports," said Wilmington High School Principal Eric Tracy. "It's about coming together as a greater community. They stepped up, and did a great job. Today was a culmination of a lot of hard work."
Head coach Steve Scanlon admitted that the emotions of the fundraiser and Senior Day festivities before the game may have led to some flat play early on, but said he was still impressed by his players' fundraising work.
"All that stuff is great. We've had some people on the team directly impacted by cancer, and a lot of families have been touched by it," said Scanlon. "It's a good thing for young people to take the bull by the horns and organize their own fundraiser. It was special to be a part of."
It wasn't just the Wildcats who were in the spirit of the Breast Cancer Game. Many of the Melrose players used pink take on their sticks and uniforms.
In addition, Melrose head coach Jason Shipulski said that in the locker room before the game, his players talked about the importance of playing with good sportsmanship and doing their part in supporting the cause.
Though their team usually hits the ice by saying something like "win" or "Melrose" after breaking their pregame huddle, the players decided on their own to break the huddle by saying "pink" before the puck dropped this time.
"They talking about remembering what this game is about, and that if it ever leaves the back of their mind, all they had to do was look down at their sticks," said Shipulski. "I think they understood the meaning behind it. They recognized that putting the game in perspective is the most important thing."
Wilmington senior captain Dalton Rolli spearheaded the fundraising efforts, and said that while the team wasn't thrilled with the game's result, they were still proud of what they accomplished.
"I loved the support," said Rolli. "It wasn't the best game we've played, but it was one of the best games we've ever participated in."