BOSTON -- The inevitable finally caught up with the Wolfpack.
Tuesday’s DCL/MVC hockey division crossover game between No. 21 Andover and No. 22 Boston Latin was circled on the Wolfpack’s calendar. Posting an undefeated record through 12 games (9-0-3), Latin was aiming to keep their streak alive, while making a statement against one of the upper division’s best teams.
But after watching the prospect of a perfect season dashed in a 4-1 loss to the Golden Warriors at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena, Latin head coach Frank Woods could only think his team’s good fortune expired.
“We’ve had some games where we’ve been a little bit inconsistent, but still have been able to win,” Woods said. “And I think today that caught up with us.”
Latin (9-1-3) fell behind 2-0 with Andover’s Matt McIver and C.J. Boillard bookending the first period with goals. The hole grew deeper midway through the second, when Golden Warriors center Liam Centrella scored his eighth of the season on a wrist shot deflection off a Latin defender’s leg.
Andover (8-4-2) did provide plenty of opportunities for Latin to crawl back into the game, however. The Wolfpack were on the power play seven times, including two 5-on-3 advantages, but were shut out.
“[The power play] is something we work on every day,” Woods said. “You’ve got to cash in on those opportunities.”
Latin broke up Andover netminder Colby Gilbert’s shutout bid in the third, however, with senior captain Conal Lynch netting his 21st goal of the season.
Scott Campbell rounded out scoring for the Golden Warriors, wringing a wrister underneath the crossbar. It was Campbell’s team-leading 10th of the season.
PICKING UP STEAM
While Latin’s streak went by the boards, they were the only team heading into Tuesday’s action with a head of steam.
Coming off a mini mid-December two-game losing skid, the Golden Warriors are 5-1-1 in their last seven and seem to be building toward the postseason.
“The funny thing about that patch was that it came down to the final three minutes of one game, the next game was 18 seconds,” Andover first-year head coach Mike Ciarletta said. “We were at least that amount of time from getting at least a point. But I think we’ve learned from those experiences as team.”
So what has made the difference since then? It’s all about the basics.
“We’re just starting to do a lot of the little things better,” Ciarletta said. “We’re starting to pay attention to some of the details, taking care of the puck.”
PUT IN THE REARVIEW
Latin doesn’t have long to mourn their formerly unblemished record; the Wolfpack have an all-important meeting with defending Division 2 champion Tewksbury on Saturday.
The team’s first meeting of the season ended in a 1-1 tie, so expect the second go-round to look much the same, given its significance to the DCL/MVC Div. 2 title race.
“The first goal of our team is to qualify for the state tournament, but we want to be competitive [in the tournament] and win our league,” Woods said. “We have that opportunity, we’re at the top of the league … we’re looking forward to that challenge.”