After falling to Phillips Exeter Academy 6-0 earlier in the season, Andover Boys Hockey seeks to rebound and add an Andover/Exeter victory to its 16-9-1 season record. Last year, Andover lost 6-1 in its first matchup against Exeter, but ultimately defeated its rival with a 5-4 overtime win on Andover/Exeter weekend.
According to Head Coach Paul Tortorella ’80, the teams have been closely competitive for the past few years and should approach this game unbiased in order to focus on the game itself.
“We have been splitting games with them for the past few years, so I don’t think last year is any indicator of how things will go this season,” said Coach Tortorella. “We have to play as a team, play together, and continue to play tough in front of the nets.”
The team will focus on channeling the competitive nature of the weekend to augment its determination to win, according to Matt Veneri ’21.
“The key will be is a stronger desire to win. In the previous game, I don’t really think we necessarily wanted to win,” said Veneri. “But in the upcoming game, there’s obviously going to be a lot of emotion because it’s an Andover/Exeter game and they always get rowdy. But I think channeling that emotion, hype, and excitement into good hockey will be the key,” said Veneri.
Coach Tortorella said, “Exeter always has a great team. So we have to be on our best game and we have to execute both offensively and defensively in order to win. We’ve got to get off to a stronger start and come back in the defensive zone as hard we attack the offensive zone.”
The team’s performance against Exeter is crucial regarding the team’s playoff chances, according to Veneri.
“In terms of playoff seeding, this game could decide what bracket we’re in, what team we play, and whether we make the playoffs or not. For example last year, although we won the Andover/Exeter game, we still were out of playoff contention by an extremely small amount. So this year, it’ll also have very important playoff implications,” said Veneri.
Andover Boys Hockey will face Exeter away on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.