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Latin Academy wins 6th straight city hockey title

Latin Academy won its sixth straight City championship Thursday at Matthews Arena thanks to a fast start and a well-rounded scoring effort.

Daniel Moran got the 5-1 win started after scoring from in front of the faceoff circle. Great passing earned the Dragons a second goal seven minutes later when Paul O’Keefe scored off assists by Patrick Owens and Daniel O’Connell.

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“It was nice to see that it wasn’t just a one-line effort by any stretch,” coach Robert McCormick said. “First goal came from a senior defenseman — we actually just moved him back on D — Dan Moran. He got us going. Of course, the MVP, Paul O’Keefe, he had a excellent game.”

O’Keefe had a great all-around game, assisting on goals by O’Connell in the first and Jack MacKinnon in the third. Mark Guerard also added one for the Dragons in the third. The five scorers were a great example of the Dragons’ team-wide effort.

On the other side, depth is something East Boston is lacking.

“You are going up against the team that had 22 players and we had 10 players,” Eastie coach Robert Anthony said.

“It’s hard, you kind of lose your legs, but we were able to muster some shots on net and try to capitalize on certain situations, but we were just outmanned.”

Despite being short of bodies, the Jets still competed, specifically when they forced a stalemate in the second period.

“We just wanted to really run it up, but it was a tough one,” O’Keefe said on the scoreless second period. “They want it, they want it just as we do.”

The Jets’ aggressiveness could have been from the little momentum they got when sophomore Steven Considine scored East Boston’s only goal in the first period, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

It’s more likely they drew motivation from senior goalie Sean O’Halloran. The goalie was facing pressure all afternoon, handling 35 shots on goal.

“He might have a short bench, but he’s got kids that can put the puck in the net and he’s got an outstanding goalie,’’ McCormick said. “I don’t think I need to tell you how important momentum is, so [for us] to get out and get that quick start was very important.”

While it may have been the last game for East Boston (3-13-2), Latin Academy (9-9-1) will continue on to the Division 3 state tournament. McCormick said his team would need a similar aggressive style of play if it hopes to do any damage.

“We just need to continue focusing on our game plan of getting the puck down deep and pressing on their [defense]. Be aggressive on the forecheck and getting pucks to the net,” he said.

For O’Keefe, there’s never been a better time for the state tournament.

“We played this good last year and this year, too,” O’Keefe said. “We played Lowell real good [last month], No. 2 team in the state, so I really think we have a good shot this year. Road to the Garden starts here.”

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