Late Goals Lift Choate Past Andover Boys Hockey, 4-3; Team Rebounds With 3rd Period Explosion Against Tilton

Dealing with high expectations and 12 new players, the Andover Boys Hockey team is off to a mediocre start at 5-5-0. Andover has a very strong group of forwards, particularly on the first two lines. This will be the second year the first line of J.J. McGregor ’08, Co-Captain Andrew Cox ’08 and Co-Captain Bobby Farnham ’08 have all played together, and all three players figure to be major scoring threats. The second line features Co-Captain Steve Bury ’08, centering talented newcomers Chris Kreider ’10 and Tucker Mullin ’08. While adjusting to an almost fully new team, Andover had an inconsistent start to the season, losing its opening scrimmage against Worcester 3-1 and its season opener against Lawrence Academy 4-3. Andover then won three straight against Pomfret, Holderness and Pingree with scores of 6-0, 5-2 and 4-2, respectively, and headed into the annual Flood Marr Tournament with some momentum. However, the team would win just one game, falling to Hotchkiss 2-1, Westminster 4-3 and Nobles 5-3 before managing to beat K.U.A. 2-1. After taking a 3-2 lead in the third period off of a great individual effort goal from Farnham, Andover suffered a tough loss as Choate scored two goals in the final minutes of the game. Choate struck first at 10:34 in the first period off of a rebound from a shot from the left point. Neither team scored for the rest of the period despite both teams having five-on-three advantages for significant time at the end of the period. Early in the second period Andover tied the game at one. At the 2:22 mark in the second Mullin lifted a backhand shot past the Choate goalie to tie the game 1-1. Just 51 seconds later, Andover broke the tie and took its first lead of the game. Off of a Bury shot, Farnham banged a rebound home to give Andover a 2-1 lead. Andover had chances to extend the lead to 3-1, but did not capitalize despite its numerous opportunities. Choate took advantage of the Andover’s inability to cash in on its chances and scored at the 8:45 mark off of a pass to the weak side. The game headed into the third period tied at two. Andover seemed to have taken the game early in the third period off of Farnham’s second goal of the game. Farnham broke down the left wing and then fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of the Choate goalie, giving Andover a 3-2 lead and considerable momentum. However, Andover was unable to hold on to the lead. Late in the third period Choate scored twice within 46 seconds, first off of a rebound in front and then on a shot from the left point that hit goalie Glenn Stowell ’09 on the left pad and somehow found the back of the net, handing Andover its fifth loss of the year. Wednesday, Andover rebounded from a tough loss by defeating Tilton 5-2 off of three third period goals. Brooks Dyroff ’09 started the Andover scoring in the first period off of a rebound in front. However, Tilton was able to tie the game in the first period, and the game headed into the second period tied 1-1. Andover struck first in the second period, as Mullin scored on the power-play to give Andover a 2-1 lead. Tilton resiliently responded with another goal, and the game headed into the third period tied 2-2. Andover broke the game open in the third period. On the first shift, Kreider found the back of the net off of a one-on-one with a defenseman. Bury later added a goal on the power-play, Andover’s second power-play goal of the game. Cox sealed the victory with an empty-net goal, giving Andover a decisive 5-2 win. Andover takes its record to the test, when the team travels to face arch-rival Exeter this weekend.