Clinging to a one-goal lead with time running down, Latin Academy outlasted an East Boston flourish, escaping with a 2-1 victory to capture its seventh straight City Championship at Matthews Arena on Wednesday.
In the final minute, with Dragons goalie Thomas Guarino (22 saves) down on the right side of his crease and the puck sitting on the left doorstep, Jets forward Robert Gray’s swipe at an open net was thwarted by Latin Academy’s Mark Guerard, who deflected the sure goal away.
“I got my stick on it in the last second,” said the senior captain. “I was able to chip it up the wall, we got an icing, and were able to call a timeout.”
“Once we got that timeout, we kind of settled down. We kept them to the outside and couldn’t let them get high-quality shots.”
Playing with bruised ribs, Guerard, who scored the Dragons’ second goal after turning home a John Teehan pass in the slot, was named the game’s most valuable player.
East Boston entered the game with Stephen Tauro making his first start of the season between the pipes, but he showed no rust, turning aside 10 shots in a scoreless first period.
“I thought Stephen played superb today,” said East Boston coach Robert Anthony. “He stepped right up. That was big . . . that turned the tide for us.”
Catching East Boston in the midst of a line change, Latin Academy’s Dylan Reilly scored first, at 6:56 mark of the second period, firing one past Tauro (24 saves) through traffic.
The Jets used their fresh legs at the start of the third period to generate offense as a relentless Gray collected a bouncing pass from Kenneth Lockhead and slipped it by Guarino glove side, just 1:41 in.
But Guarino stopped the next eight shots, including three in the final minute, to ice the win for the Dragons.
“The last time we saw East Boston we tied [3-3 in the regular season] . . . so we knew we were going to have our hands full,” said Latin Academy coach Robert McCormack. “No. 7 is nice and hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
“To go out on top meant the world to me,” said Guerard. “I wanted this one more than any other. I’ve been here for six of them and no one was more special than this one.”