Late in the first period, Post-Graduate (PG) Dante Maribito ’18 brought up the puck and passed it to Thomas Manty ’19, who fired it into the net to propel Andover to an early 1-0 lead over St. Paul’s last Friday. Andover went on to defeat St. Paul’s 3-2 before losing to Noble and Greenough 11-1 and Winchendon 6-4 on Saturday and Wednesday, respectively. Andover’s record now stands at 7-9 this season.
According to Alexander Cleveland ’18 and Mark Meinecke ’19, discipline and physical contact were among several important factors that helped the team prevail against a competitive St. Paul’s team.
“I think one factor that helped us win was that we really stuck to the system and stayed disciplined in the defense zone. We kept our structure which led to easier breakouts in our own zone, which in turn gave us many more scoring chances,” said Cleveland.
Meinecke added, “We played a big physical game. None of us were shying away from contact, and we went full steam ahead. This gave us the space we needed to make plays and get our goals.”
The home crowd also played an important role in the win, especially after St. Paul’s scored a second goal to tie up the game in the second period. Friendly cheering kept the team’s morale high, according to Cleveland.
“The crowd kept us going, especially when they tied it in the second period,” said Cleveland. “They were cheering through the whole game and it was definitely a difference maker.”
Against Nobles, Sam Bird ’18 scored his first career goal after securing Andover’s only point of the game. Meanwhile, the opposing team put would put 11 points on the scoreboard for a blowout win. Andover sees the loss as an important learning experience, according to Meinecke.
“It’s hard to maintain hope after such a loss, but all of us are now more motivated than ever to get the next win. We’re using the memory of that game as fuel to continue and finish the season strong,” said Meinecke.
Andover’s loss was primarily a result of its inability to maintain confidence after going down two points to Nobles, at which point the team failed mentally.
“The main thing we need to do is improve our team mentality. We have both the talent and the chemistry we need to win competitive games like that, but our psychology is off right now. As soon as Nobles put in two goals against us, the floodgates opened. We were still getting offensive chances, and everybody seemed to be doing their respective jobs, but little mental mistakes added up. This led to an unacceptable amount of scoring opportunities, and Nobles capitalized on every single one,” said Meinecke.
The team regrouped after the loss and reviewed its mistakes together to ensure that it was ready for the second half of the season. Despite its efforts, Andover went on to suffer a loss against Winchendon.
Maribito said “Overall, we played a very good game on Wednesday. We stuck to the coaches game plan, and sometimes you just get a couple of unlucky bounces. We feel like we are underperforming as a team right now, and Wednesday’s game was a step in the right direction. Losing is never fun, but we know we will start to get back to winning if we play at our highest level.”
Andover will travel to Loomis this Saturday for its next game.