After a disappointing Flood-Marr Holiday Tournament at Milton over Winter Break, in which Andover was held winless, Andover Boys Hockey bounced back with a 5-0 win over Pingree to kick off the new year on Wednesday.
Goals from Collin Nugent ’16, John Festa ’15, Jack Orne ’15, Kyle Moss ’15 and Tyler Levine ’16 secured Andover’s victory. This game showcased Andover’s ability to improve on the weak areas of its game after performing well from start to finish. The team dominated in a one-sided performance and developed a sustained attack with a more effective defensive-zone coverage. In addition, the players made sure to stay competitive throughout the game and scored four of five goals in the third period.
“The chemistry has come together quite nicely. After switching up the lines a little at the start of the season, we have come up with hopefully some winning combinations,” said Payton Jancsy ’16.
Michael McGreal ’17 added, “The atmosphere in the locker room is always positive; everybody always wants to get better.”
Before break, Andover played several games, one of which ended in Andover’s first loss of the season to New Hampton. New Hampton took Andover down 4-3 in overtime, but despite the disappointing outcome, Jancsy, Rob Bakerian ’15 and Nugent won goals for Andover.
“We need to play [well for] 54 minutes if we want to start winning games. We have been playing well for only periods of time. Once we start playing hard for 54 minutes, we will start winning more games,” Jancsy said following the New Hampton loss.
Andover reconciled the loss with a strong 4-1 victory at home against Groton four days later. Levine and Festa both contributed goals, while Nugent tallied two.
The team headed into the Flood-Marr Holiday Tournament this Winter Break with a 3-1-1 record, but a winless showing in the tourney against Milton, Hotchkiss, Westminster and Deerfield led to a disappointing last-place finish.
Andover lost 4-2 to Milton, followed by 2-0 defeats to both Hotchkiss and Westminster. The team then fell 3-8 to Deerfield in the seventh-place game.
When discussing Andover’s weaknesses after the Flood-Marr Holiday Tournament, Head Coach Dean Boylan stressed the importance of improving on both ends of the ice.
“Specifically we need to improve our defensive zone coverage, and that will improve significantly if we can develop a more sustained attack in the offensive zone,” said Boylan.
Injuries to key contributors Gordon Coulter ’16 and Joey Harrington ’15 have not helped Andover’s prospects this season.
Wednesday’s win against Pingree was a step in the right direction, and Andover’s next matchup against Choate will be a major test for the team. A strong performance against Choate, which beat Westminster 2-1 earlier this season, will provide a firm spot to build on in preparation for the midseason home rivalry against Exeter.