Late Comeback Not Enough; Falls to Sixth-Ranked Choate

Andrew Sullivan ’11 got Andover Boys Hockey off on the right foot on Saturday, scoring a goal early in the first period to give the team a 1-0 lead over Choate. The team could not hold the lead, however, and lost 4-3. With a 1-0 lead, the team knew its work was far from over. Ranked 6th in New England, Choate is a well-known hockey powerhouse, and plays especially well on its home ice in front of screaming, chanting, and chirping fans. Led by Junior Philippe Hudon, who is predicted to be drafted in the upcoming NHL draft, Choate caught its breath and equalized before the end of the first period with a power play goal. After a fairly fought first period, the home team completely dominated the second period of play. Four minutes into play, Choate took the lead and did not give it up for the rest of the game. Andover proved unable to create any sort of offensive flow against the strong Choate defense. Nine minutes into the period, Andover was given the chance to equalize on a power play, but was caught off guard when Choate found the back of the net with a shorthanded goal, increasing its lead to 3-1. Despite letting in two goals in the second period, Eric Yoon ’11 played phenomenally, making saves left and right. Andover was outshot 17 to two in this period, and if not for Yoon’s outstanding performance, the game would have been over long before the third period even started. The beginning of the third period showed signs of life from Andover until Hudon took a slap shot from the blue line that flew into the top right corner of the net to put Choate up 4-1. Now with a three-goal deficit on its hands, it seemed as if Andover would head home with a blowout loss. Andover then caught a second wind and finished the game strong. After missing two breakaways, Andover was finally able to capitalize on a power play with eight minutes left to play, when post-graduate TJ Hickey ’11 fired off a pass from Sullivan, landing a blistering shot in the back of the net. Fighting against the clock more than anything, Andover did everything it could to cut the home team’s lead to one. With less than a minute left, Andover pulled its goalie for a six-on-five advantage. With 20 seconds left on the clock, Conor Coveney ’11 scored Andover’s third goal to pull the team within one. Despite a last push to equalize, time expired as Andover headed home with a loss. Eric Yoon said, “Choate was a very good test, and I thought we did very well against them. We not only scored first, but also scored two unanswered goals in the final minutes of the games. It showed a lot of resilience and determination, and we even had some good opportunities to tie it up. However, we did not play well as a team in the second period, and it cost us the game. We need to learn how to play a full 54 minutes of hockey.” The boys looked forward to taking on a strong Tilton squad, but the game was cancelled due to the recent blizzard. The team used the day off to prepare for its upcoming game against Exeter. The game is Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the rink.