Dylan DiNatale’s third period goal was enough as Willmington held on to beat Stoneham 1-0 on Saturday.
The Wildcats (2-1) were frustrated by Stoneham goalie Bob Giardano (27 saves) all game until DiNatale took a feed in the low slot, spun around, and fired a shot that found the low right corner of the net. The goal was assisted by Cam Owens and John Galasso.
Wilmington would hold on for the final 13:32 as Drew Foley picked his first shutout of the season with 14 saves.
“Being able to grind out a win this early in the season was good,” said Wilmington coach Steve Scanlon.
As the defending Division 2 state champs, Scanlon said he anticipates a high level of play from each of the team’s opponents this season. This was true on Saturday as Stoneham put up a solid effort.
“We are expecting to get everyone’s A game,” said Scanlon. “We are the biggest game on everyone’s schedule.”
Although many of the players are returning from last year’s team, the Wildcats have yet to skate a full lineup due to injuries and a flu bug which swept across the locker room. On Saturday two starters were missing.
“We have a lot of talent and are hoping we will get up to speed,” said Scanlon. “It is good to see you can win with people out.”
Willmington will return to the ice on Wednesday against Masconomet in the Haverhill Christmas Tournament.
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