NORTH ANDOVER — Penalties turn the tide in many hockey games, but not in this manner.
Andover held a tenuous 4-2 lead five minutes into second-period play yesterday when senior goalie Dan McLaughlin made a nice left pad save on North Andover forward Jake Silk’s wrist shot.
A loose rebound dribbled to a wide-open Derek Hunter on the right doorstep and the senior was poised to tuck the puck in the open net. That is, until Warrior sophomore Will Sauerbrunn dug his stick into Hunter’s side, spinning him around and away from the puck.
Trading a penalty for a goal was a no-brainer, but an unbelievable short-handed score from Scott Campbell 26 seconds later turned the sequence into a game-changer as the Warriors eventually sprinted to a 6-3 victory.
“I’d rather take the risk of playing short-handed,” said Sauerbrunn of his decision. “I had to haul (Hunter) down, it could have easily been a tap-in goal.”
“That’s what Will is, a hard-working, team-first guy,” said Andover head coach Mike Ciarletta. “He does those types of things — he blocks more shots than anyone, and I’m happy to say he’s on our side.”
And just seconds after dodging that bullet, Campbell turned in one of the best individual efforts of the season. Dogged from the blue line in by a determined Knight defenseman, the senior somehow kept control of the puck while being bodied down, switched to his backhand and fired a perfect knee-level shot into the right side of the net.
“It’s all from practice, every day we work on shots, shots, shots,” said Campbell, who finished the day with a hat trick. “I saw space between myself and the defenseman and saw an open space in the net. I just transitioned and shot.”