Winning four out of its last five games of the season, including a dominant 5-2 victory over archrival Phillips Exeter Academy, Andover Boys Hockey clinched the first seed in the New England Large School Tournament, and entered with confidence and momentum. The team fell, however, in an upset victory to the eighth seed, St. Sebastian’s, by a margin of 4-1.
The first period consisted of back and forth play from both teams. St. Sebastian’s netted the first goal of the game to take a 1-0 lead, but Co-Captain Jonny Edelson ’17 proceeded to answer to tie the game 1-1 at the end of the first period.
In the second period, Andover failed to capitalize on numerous scoring opportunities and St. Sebastian’s began to dominate possession of the puck. St. Sebastian’s went on to score three unanswered goals throughout the rest of the game. Ultimately, Andover lost 4-1, therefore halting its playoff run in the first round.
Co-Captain Jack Cusack ’18 said, “Our takeaway from the game is that no matter the seeding you are, everyone in this league is competitive. There is a lot of parity throughout, on any given day any team can beat any team. It all comes down to who is more prepared and wants to win. We will come prepared to every game next season and will not take any teams lightly.”
Despite the ending, Andover finished with a record of 14-9-2 and secured five more wins this season compared to last season. Overall, it was a successful season for the team, according to Head Coach Paul Tortorella ’80.
In an email to The Phillipian, Coach Tortorella wrote, “I think the high compete level the boys brought to practice and a strong sense of team unity largely contributed to the success we saw this season.”
“This team worked hard together on and off the ice and took ownership of the positive direction they wanted to go. I hope they had an experience that they can build something off of, whether they are graduating or members of the returning classes, and remember the team bond they so clearly and deliberately fostered with each other,” Tortorella continued.
Graduating a senior class of ten team members, the returners will look to step up and lead the team to another successful season next winter.
Cusack said, “The preparation starts now. We will take advantage of the ice we have this spring, and we will all be training hard this summer to gear up for next year.”