PA Hockey Drubs Winchendon; Boys Fall to Exies in Final Game

This is what the Boys Hockey team had played for all season. Everything was on the line against Exeter: revenge for an overtime loss last season, a possible playoff berth, and most importantly, bragging rights. The Andover-Exeter hockey game is arguably the most anticipated and prestigious sporting event of the winter term for many people. This year’s game did not disappoint its faithful fans. In front of a roaring crowd, the Andover Boys Hockey team took the ice last Saturday to combat the Big Red. While the Blue managed to play well for the first two periods, Exeter raised its level of intensity, matching Andover tit for tat. With just more than 14 minutes into the second period, an Exeter forward managed to slip a shot by goalie Cory Schneider ’04 and give PEA the lead. The third period started off slowly, with each team fighting back and forth, and neither gaining the advantage. Then, with only seven minutes remaining in the game, the action exploded. Exeter scored the period’ s first goal when the puck deflected off an Andover stick and into the back of the net. Despite the two-goal deficit, the Andover squad did not give up. Joe Adams ’03 scored on a pass from Nick Mazzolini ’03 to get Andover back in the game. The boys on the bench erupted with Adam’s tally, as the team figured they still had a shot at winning the game. The last two minutes of the game ended with a frantic scramble. Andover began a powerful offensive siege on the Exeter net minder. With about 1:30 left, in a desperate attempt to score, the Boys in Blue pulled Schneider and put in another skater, aiming to get more opportunities on net. Despite the extra man advantage, Andover was not able to score. With mere seconds left in the game, Exeter high scoring forward LaFreniere broke away and fired one into the open net. It was a final bit of salt in an already painful wound. Andover lost the game, 3-1. Schneider played yet another amazing game and really kept his team alive in the first and second periods. Pete Smith ’03 and Captain Drew Ward ’03, although they did not tally goals of their own, were significant contributors to the offensive production. Despite a valiant effort by the Andover team, the dreaded Exies took the victory, leaving the Blue with a final season record of 16-7-3. Last Thursday’s game against Winchendon was nothing short of a blowout, with Andover dominating from start to finish. 13 minutes into the first period, Tom Kennedy ’03 scored the first goal on a pass from Stephen Turro ’04. Kennedy’s goal gave the Blue the momentum they needed to notch a well-needed victory. With only 1:52 left to play in the first period, Mazzolini deked out three defenders and the goalie, and then passed the puck to Smith who shot and scored the second goal of the game. The period ended 2-0 in favor of the Big Blue. The second period was relatively low scoring, with the Blue and Winchendon each notching one goal. Andover’s Adams scored an unassisted goal to keep the Blue’s lead at two points. In the third period, the Andover team pulled ahead of the Winchendon squad by scoring four goals. Adams scored two more goals fairly early in the period, both assisted by Mazzolini. Kyle Kucharski ’05 then scored on a feed from Garret Vaslet ’03. Turro notched a pair of goals to conclude the day’s drubbing of Winchendon. In the two games that the Big Blue played last week, the Andover offense was able to find the back of the net eight times and take a grand total of 59 shots. On the other side of the ice, goalie Schneider played incredibly, saving 65 of 68 attempted shots. Though saddened by the team’s loss last Saturday, Captain Ward looked back fondly on the season, saying, “This year has been an incredibly successful season. We battled hard and turned the program around. Overall, this has been a journey we won’t forget. It’s been a season to ‘Ooo’ and ‘Ah’ at. A little finesse here, some power there, but most of all, a lot of heart and effort.” The Andover Boys were sadly unable to clinch a playoff berth, and the team concluded their season unranked in the New England Prep Poll. Despite the lackluster end to their season, the Boys in Blue enjoyed a great winter, and the underclassmen on the team are looking forward to next year.