By David Willis
TEWKSBURY — Andover goalie Colby Gilbert was nothing short of devastated when he allowed eight goals to archrival Central Catholic a month ago.
So when he earned his second shot at the Raiders last night, the senior netminder was out for redemption.
As it turned out, he earned his revenge, and a whole lot more.
“I’m on top of the world,” said Gilbert. “Last year, I said that, if I could have one shutout in my career, it would be against Central Catholic. So to come out against a team that crushed us last time, and to do this, is unimaginable.”
Gilbert delivered the performance of his career, making a stunning 43 saves against a relentless Raider attack, leading Andover to a shocking 3-0 upset of Central Catholic, the No. 4-ranked team in the state, last night.
“Colby is such an amazing goalie,” said senior forward Danny Keenan, who scored Andover’s final goal. “With every save, I just kept thinking, ‘He’s unbelievable.’ He stands on his head for us every game, and he is just the best.”
This marks the second time in two years Gilbert has shut out the Raiders in a crucial matchup. Last year, he made 24 saves to blank his rival by the same 3-0 score, and like this year dealt what could be a very damaging blow to Central’s hopes of making the Super 8.
The victory was also a big one for the Warriors, who needed three points in their final three games to earn a postseason berth. With this win, they need just one tie in their final two games to make the tourney.
“That last game (the 8-1 loss) was just as bad as it gets,” said Gilbert. “So to think of coming in today and pitching a shutout is something I never imagined. But once I got through the first period without giving up a goal I was feeling pretty confident.”
It was anything but easy for the goalie last night, as Central held the puck in its offensive zone for nearly the entire game, peppering Gilbert with shot after shot, often leaving him sprawled on the ice or sitting in the net.
But his best save came early in the second, when he stopped a penalty shot to sustain what was then a 1-0 lead.
“That penalty shot was really exciting,” said Gilbert. “I have had some back luck with penalty shots in my career, so to see the referee put up in hand for a penalty shot was pretty nerve-wracking. To make the save was big.”
Form there, the Raiders kept firing, but Gilbert continued to stone them on the way to his fourth shutout of the season.
“We’re talking about a Super 8-quality team,” said Gilbert. “And this is Central Catholic, the MVC (Division 1) champ and the team to beat. To do all this was just great.”
Senior tri-captain Tyler Weeks gave Andover the lead for good with 4:38 to go in the first, when he took a pass from Conor Silk and buried it for the goal. The Campbell brother duo then extended the lead when fellow tri-captain Scott Campbell set up Mark Campbell for his goal. Keenan then closed out the scoring with his empty-netter in the final seconds.
“Once I saw Danny put that puck in, I knew I could relax because we had the shutout and the win,” said Gilbert. “I was very relieved.”
Andover 3, Central Catholic 0
Central Catholic (13-4-3): 0 0 0 — 0
Andover (9-9-2): 0 1 1 — 3
Goals: A — Tyler Weeks, Mark Campbell, Danny Keenan
Assists: A — Conor Silk, Scott Campbell, Will Sauerbrunn, Jack Wilkie
Saves: A — Colby Gilbert 43; CC — Colin Soucy 12