Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

January 17, 2013

Gilbert 'backbone' of Golden Warriors on and off ice

Goalie Gilbert 'backbone' of Golden Warrior hockey team

(Continued)

Not only was Gilbert able to win the job, he quickly established himself as the Warriors’ go-to netminder. He started all but three games, earning eight victories with an outstanding 1.65 goals-against average and five shutouts.

But it was in a loss, in which he allowed four goals to archrival and eventual Super 8 semifinalist Central Catholic, that Gilbert felt he truly became comfortable.

“I felt like that first matchup was a real turning point for me,” said Gilbert, who made 39 saves that day. “Central is such a big rival, and going into that game knowing I was going to get the start really solidified the position for me. It showed the coach trusted me.”

A month later, Gilbert was downright dominant against the same opponent, when he delivered a 24-save, 3-0 shutout of a Raiders team that entered on an 11-game unbeaten streak. It was just the Golden Warriors’ second victory over their nemesis since the 2005-06 season.

“Now that was a fun game,” said Gilbert. “We just played different than we had in the other game. I didn’t face a ton of shots, but a shutout is a shutout and it was even better against Central.”

Heading into his senior season, Gilbert knew he had plenty of responsibilities both on the ice and off. But those became even tougher when injuries started to hit the lineup. Top defensemen Chas Heseltine and Steve Castaldo and forward Justin Brosnan were among the seniors that were lost for much or all of the season.

“It’s hard to come into a season with such a good group of upper-classmen then losing so many,” said Gilbert. “There’s a loss of leadership. But I like that role. I want to do as much for the guys as I can, and other players have stepped up too.”

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