With a series of crisp passes between them, Billy Stahley ’16, Jonny Edelson ’17 and Kyle Welch ’18 beat multiple Pingree defenders, leaving Stahley open to slot away the game’s opening goal. The momentum from the early goal carried the team to a 3-1 victory, elevating Andover’s record to 4-6-1.
Andover headed into the game having gone 0-5-1 in its last six matchups. All five losses were on the road, including three at the Flood-Marr Tournament over break. Because it had triumphed over Pingree with a 5-0 win last season, Andover was confident it could return to its winning ways on Wednesday.
Captain Payton Jancsy ’16 said, “Our mindset coming into this game was, ‘New year, new us.’ It was a must-win game for us to grab some momentum coming down the stretch. Our next few games are against top ten teams, so this was a great time to get a win under our belt.”
Andover roared off to a strong start with the goal between Stahley, Edelson and Welch. Soon after, Pingree responded with a goal of its own, and the teams were deadlocked at a 1-1 tie heading into the first break.
After a sluggish second period in which both teams struggled to create offensive chances, Andover found its footing to finish the game strong in the third.
Welch said, “We started off with a good first period, but we got too comfortable in the second. Coach made it very clear that we needed to give it our all in the last period. We came out flying and dominated once we started playing our game again.”
Andover notched two goals to secure its comfortable win. Tyler Levine ’16 put Andover up by one in the second, and Stahley tucked away an empty netter for his second goal of the night, securing the 3-1 win.
Although Andover cruised to its victory, it played without its goalie, Post-Graduate Matt Schoen ’16, due to injury. The opening gave backup keeper Alexandre Daccord ’18 his first start of the season.
Daccord said, “It felt good to be in the net. The boys worked hard in front of me and I’m ecstatic that we got the win. Hopefully we can gain some momentum from this game going forward.”
In his first career start for Andover, Daccord allowed only one goal and kept the offense in the game through a fatigue-ridden second period.
Welch said, “Daccord played really well in his first start of the year. He made some huge saves when we needed him to.”
Besides Schoen, injuries to defenseman Jack Legler ’17, forward Nick Latham ’16 and forward Collin Nugent ’16, among others, have proven to be major setbacks for Andover. In response, many of the team’s younger and less experienced players will need to step up moving forward through the season.
Jancsy said, “You hate to see so many of the guys go down. It puts us in a tough place. However, it is a great chance for some underclassmen to step up. Injuries happen to every team: it is just a matter of how we respond to this adversity.”
Andover will look to continue to battle through its injuries at home on Saturday when it faces Choate.