A strong first two periods wasn’t enough to secure a victory for Andover Boys Hockey on Friday, which faded from a 3-1 lead to a tied score of 3-3 against Belmont Hill within the last few minutes of the game. Andover later fell 7-4 to Dexter Southfield on Saturday. The team record now stands at 5-7-1.
The team’s performance later in the game led to a disappointing result, according to Matt Veneri ’21.
“The game started out very well for us, with a lot of offensive production and strong defensive play. We had shut down the Belmont Hill offense to give ourselves a 3-1 lead heading into the third [period]. In the third period was when we, for whatever reason, stopped buying into the systems, and played less smart hockey. We were unable to find the back of the net in the third, while Belmont Hill scored two goals which included a goal with seconds remaining on the clock,” said Veneri.
Despite a determined effort by Andover on Saturday, Dexter emerged victorious.
“The boys never stopped fighting at the end of the Dexter game,” said Chris Hocevar ’21. “We had many players hurt, but that did not stop the boys from competing.”
Andover was also able to keep its late-game play more consistent, according to Veneri.
“In the Dexter game we were down by quite a bit, but ended up making it interesting towards the end of the game. Although we came away with a loss, every player in the locker room could feel proud that we battled until the end, and didn’t give up,” said Veneri.
Despite these dissatisfying results, there are many steps the team can take in order to improve its games for the rest of the season, both on offensive and defensive, according to Sawyer Moody ’19.
“In the next couple of games we want to work more on defensive zone. We need to take care of everything on defense before we worry about our offensive chances. If we do this, we will definitely find ourselves winning more games,” said Moody.
“We focused a lot on offensive production. A game cannot be won without offense, which is what we were lacking previously, and has been one of the root causes to many of our losses this season,” said Veneri.
Along with technical aspects, the team has also been improving its mental strength and mindset, according to Moody.
Moody said, “A couple strategies that have been working for us so far are sticking to the systems [that Head Coach Paul Tortorella ’80] tells us, and just working hard. The systems provide us with a good platform to compete with anyone, regardless if they are more skilled or less skilled than us. Working hard helps because when other teams begin to tire out, we always have an energy to help propel us through the game.”
In an email to The Phillipian, Coach Tortorella wrote, “The team is pulling together. [We] coaches are very proud of the work ethic and mental toughness the players have shown.”
Andover will face off against Governor’s away next Saturday.