ANDOVER — With the clock running down and the game on the line, Caroline Hughes knew her job.
Attack the net.
“I was just crashing the net hoping for an opportunity,” said Hughes. “We are always told to crash and net and look for rebounds.
“I went to the net, Brenna (Keefe) got the puck on net and I was there for the rebound. Then one of my teammates started hugging me.”
With 34 seconds left in regulation, Keefe fired a shot on goal that was saved, but Hughes was there to pick up the rebound and scored to give No. 13 Andover a 2-1 victory over No. 20 Newton North in the preliminary round of the Division 1 tournament last night.
“Caroline just never ceases to amaze me,” said forward Jojo Olson. “She always knows how to get the key goal just when we need them. I saw Brenna take the shot and Caroline was right there for the rebound and I knew it was going in. I wanted to do a backflip over the boards I was so excited”
With the victory, the Golden Warriors advance to the Division 1 first round, where they will face No. 4 Watertown/Belmont on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Watertown.
“We knew we just had to keep shooting and putting the puck on net,” said Keefe. “We wanted to end it before overtime. Now we are excited because we have another practice tomorrow. We want to keep playing.”
It was Newton North that took control early, scoring minutes into the first period.
But Andover struck back to tie the game in the second, on a goal by Olson.
“I brought it down low and was actually trying to center it in front of the goalie,” she said. “It just went off one of their girls and into the net. I didn’t even know it went in. I just hear everyone cheering and someone congratulate me.”
The Golden Warriors continued to dominate the pace of play into the third period, firing shot after shot on Newton North goalie Natalie Cohen. But the sophomore netminder was rock-solid, stopping 18 shots in the third quarter alone, and 38 for the game.
But just as the game seemed destined for overtime, the Golden Warriors struck for the game-winner.
“I was trying to get the puck in deep, get it on net and see what happen,” said Keefe. “Thank God, Caroline was there. I saw her shoot it in and it was a pretty awesome moment to see the magic happen.”
Hughes ended up on the ice, at the bottom of a celebration in the corner.
“I’m honestly not sure if I got knocked over by (an opponent) or one of my teammates, but I just stayed on the ice and someone hugged me. To see us pull through like that was amazing.”
Now with a playoff victory under their best, the Golden Warriors are dreaming big.
“We wanted this one so bad, but we want the next one even more,” said Hughes. “We want to play at the (TD) Garden.”
Andover 2, Newton North 1
Newton North (9-10-3): 1 0 0 — 1
Andover (11-6-4): 0 1 1 — 2
Division 1 preliminary round
Goals: A — Jojo Olson, Caroline Hughes; NN — Caitlin O’Hanley
Assists: A — Jessica Leone, Veronica Alois, Brenna Keefe
Saves: A — Meghan Johnson 18; NN — Natalie Cohen 38
relive the action
For video interviews and highlights from Andover girls hockey’s victory over Newton North last night, visit eagletribune.com/sports.