The boys' hockey team showed it could stick with perennial playoff contender Wilmington on Wednesday, but the Spartan offense didn't have enough to push the locals to a road win.
The Wildcats' star forward Cam Owens netted a goal just 17 seconds into the second period, and the tally proved to be the winner as Wilmington improved to 3-2-2 on the year with a 1-0 victory.
Meanwhile, Stoneham slipped to 3-3-1 after suffering their first loss in four games.
"Every game we’ve had now is a learning tool for us," said Stoneham coach Paul Sacco. "We’re trying to instill a little confidence in these kids. We’re working on the work ethic and the effort they put forward on the ice. It’s slowly coming to play, but it’s taking a little time."
Stoneham's offensive chances were limited, though the team had three shots in the final minute that were turned away by Wilmington goalie Drew Foley.
The Spartans went on a power play with 1:57 remaining in the contest, but with 1:12 to play the teams went back to even strength when Owens was tripped up by a Stoneham skater.
Sacco's charges next skate on Saturday at 4 p.m. against Burlington, one of the top teams in the Middlesex League.
"It’s an enjoyable experience to go to the rink," Sacco said. "We just have to get them on the same page. Once we get them on the same page we’ll be fine."