The Girls’ Varsity Hockey team is a force to be reckoned with. As the season moves forward, the Big Blue has shown that they have the talent to play against anyone out there, an important lesson, as some of the hardest games of the season are yet to come. After a heart-breaking overtime loss to Lawrence Academy last week, the Big Blue pulled together and produced two strong victories over the weekend. Wednesday, however, did not hold the same fate for the girls. With a 2-1 record on the week, it was a success, but the girls are striving for more. On Friday night, the girls played the first of their two weekend games against Groton Academy. During the first period, the Blue took thirteen shots on net, and did not allow Groton any. The team dominated on both ends, skating with passion. The girls chased down loose pucks, got tough rebounds and made the little plays that help a hockey team win games. The team has been doing it all season, and it clearly shows in their stellar record. Still, the girls seemed to have problems finding the back of the net. With a little under five minutes to play left in the period, Kelly Lannan ’03 put away the rebound off of PG Kate Leonard’s shot. The Blue came out for the second period with a bang. They out shot Groton 9-4, and scored three more goals. The entire team played well and Groton did not seem to know what had hit them. The first of the Blue’s goals came when defenseman Melissa Tetreau ’06 wound up and took a hard shot on net. Groton’s goalie came up with the save, but new lower Lauren Seno ’05 was there for the rebound, putting Andover up by two. Just minutes later, Leonard and Audrey Deguire ’04 set up forward sensation Britney McKenna ’05 for the team’s second goal of the period. McKenna has sparked the offense all season, scoring goals and making big plays. With six minutes left to play, Susannah Orzell ’03 found the net after a few nice assists from Marissa Hudson ’04 and Julie Wadland ’06.The Blue dominated Groton during the third period, but their goalie played a strong period, keeping Andover to just one goal. Although there were some fantastic chances throughout the period, the Blue was again exasperated by their inability to finish. With less than ten seconds to play in the game, Leonard scored the Blue’s final goal of the game, with McKenna and Alix Warren ’03 credited with assists on the play. On Saturday, the Blue played an interdivisional game against one of division two’s strongest teams, Brooks. Though the rival school from North Andover entered the game highly touted, the Girls proved themselves superior. The Blue emerged with yet another W, but not by nearly as large a margin as the one they had attained on the previous evening. The first period saw all of the game’s scoring action as the Blue scored two goals in the middle of the period. Lindsay Moramarco ’06 scored the game winner after about seven minutes of play, finishing fellow line mate Orzell’s shot. Moments later, Leonard scored, putting the score at 2-0 in favor of the Blue. Captain Taryn Zucker’03 put a hard shot on net but the Brooks goalie came up with the save. Fortunately she coughed up a big rebound and Leonard capitalized on it, tipping the puck into the net.The second and third periods saw good action at both ends of the ice, but no more scoring. While there were a few hairy moments in front of Andover’s net, the Blue’s defense played a strong game overall. Andover’s offense also had some terrific chances, but had trouble scoring. Some borderline calls made by the referees frustrated the Blue to no end. Not only did they call innumerable questionable penalties against Andover, but the refs also turned a blind eye to some vicious play on the part of Brooks. As the Blue has done throughout the season, they persevered and pulled out their seventh win of the year. Coach Martha Fenton commented on the team’s achievements over the weekend saying, “The balanced scoring and solid defensive play point to a real team effort. Our goaltenders, O’Hara Shipe ’04 and Kathleen Minahan ’03, were very strong in net, recording two shutouts.” While Coach Fenton was clearly enthusiastic about her team’s play, she was quick to point out that the toughest part of the season is rapidly approaching, observing, “With Cushing and Deerfield on the schedule this week, we’re going to need to keep working hard, but I’m pleased with the strides that we’ve made as a team so far this season.” On Wednesday, the Blue played the Purple Penguins from Cushing Academy. The first period saw action at both ends, but neither team managed to find the net. The Blue came out hard, but had trouble penetrating Cushing’s defense and was unable to capitalize on any of their opportunities. While the Blue took the ice with enthusiasm for the second period, the Penguins came out with more fire. After three minutes, a Cushing forward went back door on Andover goalie Shipe and started the scoring. They scored three more unanswered goals during the course of the period, taking a decisive lead over the Blue. After talking between periods, the girls came out for the third period with even more fire. Nonetheless, the Penguins had themselves a goal after just two minutes of play. The Blue answered back with their first, and only goal, less than a minute latter as Moramarco put the puck away after a nice play by Orzell and Wadland. The Penguins scored one more goal late in the period to wrap up the scoring at 6-1. While Wednesday’s game was certainly disappointing, the Blue is looking forward instead of dwelling on the past. As Leonard said, “Even though the game ended in a loss, we played hard and the intensity in the third period shows the heart that this team has.” The Big Green of Deerfield head to Harrison Hockey Rink tomorrow, and Andover hopes to welcome them with an offensive explosion. The sticks were silenced against Cushing, but the team knows they cannot leave everything up to the goalies. After Deerfield, Exeter looms on the horizon. With another home game next Wednesday, the girls know that they have their work cut out for them. Nevertheless, the girls are determined to work hard and get back on their game. They will have to overcome their problems finishing if they want to be successful against the strong teams that they will face soon, but they are more than up to the task.