Winchester head coach Matt Spang's team needs perfection to start climbing the standings. They didn't quite reach that level on Wednesday in Wilmington.
"The effort was good but we have to play a little better," said Spang, whose charges gave up a third period goal and fell, 2-1. "Unfortunately we have to play near perfect to win hockey games. As long as we understand that it's the burden we have to carry, we're going to carry it."
Following the setback, the Sachems fell to 5-6-4 on the year. Wilmington, meanwhile, improved to 8-3-3 for the campaign.
Wildcat sophomore Cody McGowan gave his team a 1-0 edge with 13:03 left in the second period after the teams skated to a scoreless opening frame.
But Winchester's Drew Mills evened things back up late in the period. Following a scrum in front of the net, Mills pushed home a loose puck with 3:57 to play before the intermission.
The eventual game-winner came from an unlikely source for Wilmington. Defenseman Brian Pickett flung a wrist shot on goal, and it found its way through traffic with 9:21 to play.
Winchester's next task is a steep one. The Sachems travel to Reading on Saturday at 7:45 p.m., a team sitting atop the division with a 7-3-3 record, 4-0-1 in Middlesex League Large School Division play.
"Sometimes you're a little snakebitten," said Spand. "We gave up two. That should be good enough to win."