Boys Hockey Loses Twice, Out of Playoff Contention

The Big Blue Boys’ hockey team ended a week-long road-trip of poor, puzzling play this week by losing to Tabor 4-3 in overtime and getting blanked 2-0 by NMH. With the losses, Andover has been, for all intents and purposes, eliminated from playoff contention. The losses also brought Andover’s losing streak to three games. The Blue have been outscored 11-6 during the streak. Friday night saw PA travel down to Cape Cod to take on 14-7-3 Tabor Academy, winners of eight straight games. The game was tightly contested from the very beginning. Andover got on the board first seven minutes in, on a power play. Joe Smith ’07 slid a pass from the right side to the front of the slot to Captain J.P. Martignetti ’06, who one-timed the pass into the net for the 1-0 lead and his 17th goal of the season. Andover took 13 penalties for the entire game and just five minutes after Captain Martignetti’s goal, Tabor tied up the game on a powerplay. In the 2nd period, with the teams evenly matched, Tabor got help from another good bounce as the host team took the lead 2-1 twelve minutes into the period. Tabor kept the slim lead for the remainder of the period to head into the third leading 2-1. The Blue would open up the 3rd period with increased intensity though, as PA out-shot Tabor by a 17-6 margin. This newfound puck control found results when eight minutes into the period on a power play, Chris Cahill ’06 evened the game at 2-2 when his shot from the left boards bounced off and up over the goalie, into the net. Disappointment soon became another familiar feeling when Tabor went ahead again only a minute later to make it 3-2. As the period began to wind to a close and Andover’s opportunities dwindled, Andrew Cox ’08 found the back of the net when his laser of a slapshot from the blueline found its way past the goalie to tie the game at three with four minutes to go in the game. As overtime opened, both teams would skate a man down, and though PA had chances to win the game, a penalty with 1:30 left to play crippled the boys as they skated 3-on-4. Thirty seconds later, PA saw its hopes for at least a point go down the tubes when a screen shot from the point evaded Matt Ward ’06, who finished with 20 saves on 24 shots, and left PA wondering what could have been as Tabor walked away with the 4-3 win. Andover took the trip out to Northfield-Mount Hermon on Wednesday afternoon knowing a win was absolutely necessary to be able to have a chance at slipping into the playoffs, but things took a turn early when the Hoggers got on the board six minutes into the first period. As the game continued on, Andover continued to press offensively while playing anxiously with all of its playoff hopes hanging in the balance. “We started taking way too many outside shots, not generating many inside opportunities,” said J.J. McGregor ’08, while Cox added that “when we did put shots on net, we couldn’t get a hold of any rebounds down low, and the goalie did make some good saves when he needed to.” The game would drag on until NMH scored its second goal of the game with two minutes to play in the 2nd period, bringing down the Blue’s chances once again. As the 3rd period wound down, aggressiveness and chippy play revealed itself as PA knew it was now or never, but the shots would just not find the back of the net, as Andover succumbed to the NMH Hoggers, who are riding a four game winning streak.