Off of three quick passes in the Andover neutral zone, Olivia O’Brien PG’20 crossed in front of the net to score the crucial goal that led the team to a 2-1 win over Milton this past Friday. Following the win, Andover Girls Hockey suffered a 5-0 loss against Williston Northampton on Saturday. On Wednesday, Andover came to a 1-1 tie against an undefeated Nobles and Greenough team. The team now stands at a 13-7-1 record.
Andover was able to start off the Milton game in control on defense which led to numerous offensive opportunities, according to Co-Captain Lilly Feeney ’20.
“We were aggressive on our neutral zone forecheck, so we made them turn the puck over in the neutral zone, which gave us some offensive chances. We just came out really fast. The power play goal by Olivia O’Brien was really nice. We all connected on three different passes in our neutral zone that led to a shot from right in front of the net that went in,” said Feeney.
According to goalie and Co-Captain Sophia Merageas ’20, Andover’s defensive game was successful in holding Milton to very few offensive opportunities.
Merageas said, “There was a moment on defense that was kind of small where there was really good defensive communication and coverage between our two defensemen. We were able to break the puck up and generate more opportunities. So, over the course of the game, having good defense and being able to shift accordingly was really important.”
Against Williston, penalties were one of the problems for Andover. Going forward, the team looks to refine skating technique in order to react quickly during changes of possession, according to Rachel Neyman ’20.
“In the Williston game, we had a lot of penalty kills because we got a lot of penalties called on us. We did really well killing them, and we were able to make it through almost all without goals against. After the Williston game, we need to improve on using our speed as well as stops and starts. We need to stop on the puck, turn around, and back check because the teams from here on out will be quick and transition from defense to offense quickly,” said Neyman.
Due to its undefeated record, Nobles was one of Andover’s toughest opponents. According to Merageas, Andover was able to find its rhythm throughout the game, resulting in a tie.
“We went into the game knowing we were an underdog and weren’t expected to win, and coming out with a tie was honestly just as impressive in my book. I think that really came from the energy that we had on the bench. Things were just clicking on so many levels. One thing was breaking out of our defensive zone, our wingers were able to get the puck out very well. We didn’t allow the Nobles defensemen to intercept passes from us, and we made tape to tape passes which was awesome,” said Merageas.
The team looks to fine tune its overall play and start the upcoming games off with explosiveness, according to Feeney.
Feeney said, “I think just consistency [is something to work on]. If we come out fast every game I think we could win the entire league, but we have had games where we come out flat. So, I guess just playing just as fast every game [is our goal].”
The team will play Worcester away this Saturday.