Andres Fired Up for Final Campaign on Ice, Sparking PHS Boys’ Hockey to 4-2 Record
Jackson Andres’s athletic future lies in college lacrosse.
Princeton High senior Andres, a rugged and skilled defender, recently signed a letter of intent to attend Drexel University and play for its men’s lax program.
But this winter, Andres is looking to get the most out of his final season on the ice as a star forward for the PHS boys’ hockey team.
“I really want to make it past that second round of states, three years running it has been losing second round in states,” said Andres.
“I want to win a Mercer County Tournament; it is a big goal of mine. We have done it twice in lacrosse and that is awesome but I want to do it in both sports.”
Last week, Andres had an awesome game as PHS topped WW/P-S 6-3, tallying five points on a goal and four assists in the December 9 contest.
In the view of Andres, topping the Pirates was a good step for PHS as it marked the team’s third straight win since a 5-1 loss to Montgomery in its season opener.
“It is a big momentum booster, starting the season with a loss to Montgomery wasn’t the best thing for us,” said Andres.
“We had Nottingham (an 11-1 win on December 4), we got our feet under us and then we beat
Lawrence (6-1)). This was a big win.”
Playing on the same line with sophomore Brendon McCormick has been a big plus for Andres.
“I am trying to be the biggest playmaker that I can be; I am looking for big Brendon McCormick in my line,” said Andres, who scored two goals in a 12-2 win over WW/P-N last Friday. “He and I are really jelling together.”
Andres and fellow seniors Connor McCormick and John Reid have assumed responsibility for getting the team to jell collectively.
“The three of us need to get the team together,” said Andres. “We need to be at the forefront of the momentum, we need to be out there at all times. It is big for us on and off the ice.”
PHS head coach Terence Miller sees Andres as a big factor for the Little Tigers this winter.
“Jackson is a really strong offensive player, he has size, speed, and hands,” said Miller.
“If we can get him to zone in and focus on his strengths and play to his strengths, he can be a real force. He is out there playing with Brendon on his line, that is a good combination, those two together along with Chris [Munoz] on the wing.”
Miller likes the leadership he is getting from
McCormick and Reid.
“They are two hardworking blue collar hockey players, they do things the right way,” said Miller.
“I named them captain and they have embraced the leadership role well. John Reid has even opted to go back and play some defense for us when we need it so they are always willing to do what is necessary for the team to win. They just set a good precedent and a good example for the younger guys. They are quiet, strong leaders by example and that goes a long way for us.”
In the win over WW/P-S, the Little Tigers seized control of the game by scoring two goals in the first four minutes of the third period to build a 5-2 lead.
“I like the way we started out third period,” said Miller, whose team lost 5-2 at Cranford last Monday to move to 4-2.
“We had a minute left on our power play, we regrouped and came out and buried one early. We were able to create a little separation there.”
While the Little Tigers are a little inexperienced on defense as they feature sophomore defensemen Tooker Callaway, Eamonn McDonald, and Anthony Trainor along with freshman Max Garlock and sophomore goalie Sawyer Peck, Miller believes that group will emerge as a strength for the squad.
“We are young on the back end,” said Miller, whose team faces Hopewell Valley on December 17 at Mercer County Park and then hosts Westfield on December 19 at Baker Rink.
“We feel like as the season goes on, we always improve. We are not at our best in the beginning but hopefully we build up at the end, playing a little stronger. We emphasize defense first. We have to defend first and then get the chances going forward and the power play. Defensive discipline is really key for us.”
Andres, for his part, believes PHS has the pieces to be a strong team by the time it gets into postseason play.
“I feel like we are a little bit deeper than we usually are which is nice but we still need to work on a lot of things,” said Andres.
“To accomplish the goals, I think some key players really need to step up. I feel that players like Chris Munoz and Nathan Drezner can help us. Justin Joyce is a freshman coming in and scoring goals. Max Garlock is a freshman on defense and is a big surprise, it is awesome to have him.”