- Scott Barboza, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Charlestown hockey tradition is alive and thriving in and around Boston schools these days.
It should come as no surprise that a pair of best friends from the Town are among the scoring leaders in the respective divisions this season. While most are familiar with Malden Catholic and Boston University-commit Brendan Collier, Boston Latin's Conal Lynch is once again among the most feared scorers in Division 2. Lynch has again eclipsed the 40-point plateau with 27 goals and 13 assists in 18 games.
In addition, the Wolfpack, aided by a 12-game unbeaten streak to start the season and following Wednesday's 2-1 win over Lincoln-Sudbury, are atop the DCL/MVC Div. 2 standings and headed to the postseason.
We caught up with the Wolfpack captain earlier this week:
Q: What's your earliest memory of playing hockey?
A: "My earliest memories of playing hockey are in-house league. Basically, it's a division before mites that is made up of all kids from Charlestown playing against each other. I played with and against all of my best friends: (Malden Catholic's) Brendan Collier, Pauly Myers, Paul Wrenn and Nolan Carrier, and Matthew Grzelcyk (Belmont Hill/USNTDP). Those were great times and what really made me fall in love with the game."
Q: A lot of talented high schoolers seek out private or prep schools or junior hockey. What made your decision to stay with Boston Latin?
A: "I get this question a lot and can never really seem to come up with a great answer. But I guess the best way to describe it is just that I was getting a great education there and I met so many great kids. Early on, I didnt really see hockey as something I'd be able to play in college, but I guess as I got older people became more interested in me from a hockey perspective. So staying there really worked out for me educationally and hockey-wise."
Q: Your team was one of three remaining undefeated teams in the state until a few weeks ago. How was the team able to play at such a high level for most of the season?
A: "I think that we just had a high level of focus. We really played well because everyone was so intent on doing their job and getting things done. We did the little things right and put away all our chances. Everyone was working really hard and I'm really proud of my teammates for that accomplishment."
Q: Given the success this year, what is the team's expectation for the upcoming tournament?
A: "We expect nothing less than to win. We have really high expectations for ourselves and each other and if we meet those, you will see us at the Garden."
Q: You're among the leading scorers in the state, along with Brendan Collier, who've you been friends with since childhood. What does it mean to both of you to represent hockey in Charlestown?
A: "It means a lot to us to be able to represent Charlestown. We both played together for a long time in the Charlestown Youth Hockey program and I feel like a lot of people keep tabs on the kids that used to play there. I also feel like a lot of the kids playing youth hockey now look up to the older kids and to be able to set a good example -- I hope -- is a great feeling."
Q: Beside the notoriety and attention from movies like "The Town," C-Town can kind of get a bum rap. What are the things you've taken away from Charlestown that most outsiders don't see?
A: "There's a lot of things that people dont see about Charlestown. Mostly people just think that the community is a "code of silence" type thing, but they don't understand that everyone knows everyone and looks out for one another. I could be walking down the street and someone will stop me and ask about Latin and how the season is going and I'll never even figure out who they are. Also, I think that Charlestown breeds a sort of competitive nature in everyone. Everyone wants to be the best out of their friends and earn sort of bragging rights. Being best friends with Brendan [Collier], we have competed all of our lives and I am nothing but better for it."
Q: Along those lines, when the C-Town hockey crew gets together, where's the place to be seen?
A: "The place to be seen is "The Kitchen", the roller hockey court at Eden Street park. As soon as the season ends, we spend almost every bit of spare time out there playing roller hockey and developing our skills."
Q: What are your current plans for next year?
A: "I'm not completely positive what I'm doing next year. I've applied to a few colleges but that's mostly just to see where I'm at with them. I've talked a bit with some colleges, but I dont want to talk names because you know how people can start rumors. Prep school and juniors are both in the mix heavily as well and I've been in contact with teams, schools a lot recently."