Wilmington coach Steve Scanlon knows his team was outscored on Saturday afternoon at . But despite a 5-2 loss, the Wildcat mentor doesn’t believe his team was outclassed.
The locals outshot Burlington 24-19 on the game and outplayed the Red Devils after falling in a 4-0 hole. But it was too little, too late against one of the top rated teams in the state. Wilmington dropped into a tie for first place in the Middlesex League Small School Division after the setback.
“We played with them. I don’t think we were outclassed at all,” said Scanlon. “You never want to lose, especially when it’s an important divisional game. If anything, it lets the kids know they can play with a potential Super 8 team. Under the right circumstances, you can beat them.”
Scanlon said his charges played a strong first period but gave up a goal late in the frame. The second period, however, was when the game fell apart.
Burlington scored two goals on shots from near the blue line, both pucks that Scanlon said goalie Drew Foley normally makes. One of the tallies was a shorthanded effort and the other hit a defenseman’s skate before finding the back of the net.
Cody McGowan cracked the scoreboard for Wilmington when he connected on a pass from Brendan McDonough and Frank Cerbone in the second period. Then, Trevor Foley notched a power play marker from McGowan and McDonough to bring the home team within two.
But that’s all the team could muster, despite outshooting Burlington 10-3 in the third period. The Red Devils added an empty net goal to seal the 5-2 win. Joe Berardi tallied four of the goals for the winners.
“Going forward we’d like to get some scoring off of our third and fourth lines because we have not been getting that production,” said Scanlon. “We may change things up a little to try and find that spark.”
After every game through mid-January was decided by one goal or less for the Wildcats, the team won the two games leading into Saturday’s action by three goals to propel into first place.
Despite the setback, Scanlon said his team is heading in the right direction as it readies for a second time through its Middlesex foes.
“You want to try to get clinched for the tournament by the first week in February and concentrate on your seeding,” said Scanlon. “We’re learning that every night in this league is a battle. If you don’t get some puck luck and don’t come to play, yu’re going to get beat.”