Cushing Purple Penguins Snap Boys Hockey Winning Streak

All good things must come to an end; we just hoped that the Andover Hockey Team’s winning streak wasn’t one of them. After extending the streak to ten games with a 5-2 win over Winchendon on Friday, the Boys in Blue went down in a tough 6-1 loss to undefeated, first place Cushing in the Harrison Rink last Wednesday. However, even after the crushing loss, the team still owns an impressive 15-3-2 regular season record and, with three games left to play, a strong shot at the playoffs. Winchendon arrived at the Ted Harrison rink Friday afternoon to find a confident Andover squad; perhaps a little too confident. After almost a period of rather sloppy, scoreless hockey, Winchendon snuck one past a stickless Cory Schneider ’04 on a scrum in front of the net. The period ended 1-0 in favor of the division two Winchendon. Despite the deficit, the Big Blue bounced back, scoring three goals in the second period. Kyle Kucharski ’05 put PA on the board for the third game in a row when he one timed a pass from Jed McDonald ’04 to tie the game. Steve Rolecek ’05 took care of the rest of the scoring, tallying two goals mere minutes apart on his birthday to put Andover up 3-1. The Boys in Blue carried their superior play into the final period, racking up another two goals. Ben Weiner ’06 earned his second varsity goal early in the third, slamming home a rebound to extend Andover’s lead to three. Less than a minute later, Mike Foley ’04, no stranger to scoring goals, sniped one from a face off in front of the Winchendon net. From there, tensions ran high as the game dissolved into heated, scrappy play. Two men down, the Andover team gave up one final goal with only a few minutes left, ending the game 5-2 in favor of the mighty blue. Schneider stopped twenty-two of twenty-four shots while Andover hurled forty-four at the Winchendon net-minder. At three-fifteen on Wednesday afternoon the Cushing Penguins came to Ted Harrison rink with fire in their eyes. Boasting an undefeated record, seven division one college hockey prospects, Ray Bourque as an assistant coach, and his son as captain (little Bourque was injured Wednesday and didn’t play), the game against the Penguins had all kinds of hype. The first period began fairly evenly with both teams finding a few opportunities. Then, with a minute fifty-four left in the period, Cushing scored on a one time from the point, drawing first blood for the Penguins. The period ended 1-0 Cushing. After a close beginning, Cushing busted the game open in the second, scoring five goals to put the Blue on ice. Left wing Kyle Kucharski said of Andover’s play: “It’s a bummer, this is a team we could have beat. We simply played very poorly in the final two periods.” Andover stepped up their play in the final period, but it was still not enough to counter the unrelenting Cushing barrage. Cushing wracked up yet another goal with 16:06 left to play in the game when a Penguin forward capitalized on a break away to give Cushing the 6-0 lead. Tommy Dignard ’06 provided the smallest glimmer of hope for the Blue when he scored, top shelf, with 5:45 left to play. When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard read a discouraging result, 6-1 Penguins.