Tourney Team Preview: Andover
The defending state champions earned a fourth straight trip to the ‘X’ with a 7-2 battering of Duluth East in the Section 7AA final.
No. 4 Andover Huskies
Coach: Mark Manney
Most Recent Let’s Play Hockey Ranking: No. 5
Players to Watch: #12 F Gavyn Thoreson, #8 F Cooper Conway, #15 F Cayden Casey, #1 G Beau Altman, #7 D Tristen May-Robinson
Last Appearance: 2022
1 State Championships
The defending state champions earned a fourth straight trip to the ‘X’ with a 7-2 battering of Duluth East in the Section 7AA final thanks to four second-period goals from senior forward Cooper Conway.
Conway (47 goals, 37 assists), a Colorado College commit, is one-third of – arguably – the state’s most dangerous line with seniors Gavyn Thoreson (35 goals, 55 assists) and Cayden Casey (22 goals, 55 assists). The top line accounts for nearly 60% of the Huskies’ scoring this season, and the next highest scorer on the team besides Thoreson, Conway and Casey is nearly 50 points back.
All three could have played junior hockey the whole season, but instead they returned to Andover to try for back-to-back state titles. They combined for 33 points in the Section 7AA tournament.
Last year, the Huskies went to double overtime twice in three nights, including in the title game against Maple Grove, on the way to their first boys state championship. They lost 10 seniors from that roster, including their starting goalie and three defensemen.
Despite needing to find replacements in key positions, the power and experience of the top line made Andover one of the favorites coming into the season.
Goaltender Beau Altman, a transfer from Buffalo, has stepped into the crease for the Huskies and been very strong. He’s got a .934 save percentage and 1.66 goals-against average with a 14-3-1 record.
Altman had a five-game shutout streak in February that ended in the section final. Cal Conway, a sophomore, has also earned time in net and played well.
Things got off to a rocky start for Andover with a 4-4-1 record in the first 10 games of the season, but all of the losses and the tie were against teams that finished the year ranked inside the top 11 of the Let’s Play Hockey Class AA rankings.
Half of Andover’s losses this season are against other state tournament qualifiers, including two defeats to Maple Grove. With that said, the Huskies have the ability to beat any team in the state when the top line gets going.
The Huskies won their first state title last season as the No. 4 seed in the tournament, and they’ll begin their title defense as the same against fifth-seeded Lakeville South in Thursday’s final Class AA quarterfinal.
Ranked Wins (Based on Feb. 23 Let’s Play Hockey Rankings): No. 3AA Chanhassen (6-3, Nov. 25), No. 15AA Moorhead (7-2, Dec. 2), No. 17AA Champlin Park (3-2 OT, Dec. 15), No. 11AA Benilde-St. Margaret’s (9-3, Dec. 27), No. 9AA Duluth East (7-2, March 2)
Ranked Losses: No. 1AA Minnetonka (4-1, Nov. 26), No. 11AA Benilde-St. Margaret’s (3-0, Dec. 6), No. 6AA Rogers (3-1, Dec. 8), No. 9AA Duluth East (5-1, Dec. 20), No. 4AA Maple Grove (4-1, Jan. 5; 3-2, Feb. 11),
Ranked Ties: No. 7AA Wayzata (3-3, Dec. 17)