The Andover High hockey team knows the rule. When goalie Colby Gilbert is giving instructions, it’s time to listen.
“I very rarely have to say something twice,” he said with a chuckle. “I like being a vocal leader, and I want to use my experience to be sure my team is prepared to play.”
When Gilbert took the ice in late November for preseason practice, he did so as one of the many leaders on a veteran-laden 2012-13 Andover High hockey team that sported 10 seniors returning from last year’s squad.
But as the season kicked off and the injury bug began to bite the Golden Warriors in a big way — including a number of key players lost for the season — Gilbert was asked to take on new responsibilities in addition to starting goalie.
“We needed Colby to be the backbone of this team,” said Warriors coach Mike Ciarletta. “We knew he could play goalie, but we needed him to lead and he has really stepped up and done so well in that role.”
Gilbert has embraced the responsibilities of leadership, while also once again starring in goal for the Andover High squad that entered the week having won two straight games, and on Saturday take on archrival Central Catholic.
“I think coach (Ciarletta) expected a lot out of me leading the team,” said Gilbert. “We talked about it over the summer, then when kids started going down, I had to step up along with a few other guys. I love leading by example, and that starts with playing well in goal.”
It has been quite a journey for Gilbert, who entered his junior season facing a major battle to win the starting goalie job, replacing two-time All-MVC/DCL Division 1 goalie Kyle Berthiaume.
“It was a really competitive between me, Dan (McLaughlin) and Chris Olson,” remembered Gilbert. “We were all goalies and, the previous two years we had been battling for playing time (on JV). We pushed each other a lot and it was good to have the competition.”