The Andover girls hockey team continued its dominating ways on Thursday night with a 5-0 win over Brainerd/Little Falls in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state tournament.
It makes one wonder what the outcome would have been had the top-seeded Huskies (28-0) played the way they feel they are capable of.
Despite outshooting the Warriors 53-10 and picking up their 12th shutout of season, the Huskies led only 2-0 after two periods, and players and coaches alike were anything but pleased.
The Huskies blew through the Section 7 playoffs, outscoring their three opponents by a combined score of 28-1. By their own estimation they were not the same team on Thursday night.
“I think the compete level was missing,” said Andover forward Isa Goettl, who scored a pair of goals. “We have a lot of young players, and there were a lot of nerves. The coaches got on us after the second period and we responded.”
Added defenseman Cailin Mumm: “I don’t think our intensity was there today. Despite all the shots, I don’t think we were executing. That was frustrating for us.”
Any thoughts of a shocking upset subsided 27 seconds into the third period, however, when Goettl scored her second goal of the game. She intercepted a clearing pass in the slot and fired a wrist shot past Brainerd goaltender Breya Sawyer for her 27th goal of the season.
“Going into the third period I think we could all say we weren’t happy with our play,” Andover coach Melissa Volk said.
Acknowledging that Goettl’s second goal was indeed a big one, she added, “The team responded, and our best players step up in big games.”
There could be no question about Goettl’s compete level. The 5-foot dynamo was all over the Brainerd net from the beginning of the game to the end. She played to the whistle, whacking away at pucks in the crease and taking a few whacks from Brainerd defenders.
Goettl appeared to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead midway through the first period when she banged in a rebound, but the goal was disallowed when another Andover forward was called for goaltender interference.
Two minutes later Goettl scored on a similar play. It remained a 1-0 game until midway through the second period when Andover’s Ella Boerger scored on a shorthanded breakaway.
After Goettl’s second goal of the game early in the third, Andover freshman defenseman scored a pair of goals to seal the Huskies’ victory.
“With all the young players we knew we would be a little jittery,” Volk said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we got the job done.”