Friday, May 07, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Anderson Finds His Home in Goal


Junior Jared Anderson is carving out a fine career as a goalkeeper for the North Haven boys’ ice hockey team. Photo courtesy of Jared Anderson

Junior Jared Anderson is carving out a fine career as a goalkeeper for the North Haven boys’ ice hockey team. (Photo courtesy of Jared Anderson )

When Jared Anderson was seven years old, his friend Jake Hines encouraged him to try the sport of hockey. Jared took Hines’s advice and has since gone on to become a solid goalie and a trusted teammate with the North Haven boys’ ice hockey squad during past three years.

“My friend played hockey. We were good buddies, and we still are. He got me into it. I signed up and started playing,” says Jared, who is now teammates with Hines, a fellow junior. “I remember shortly after I got my first pair of roller blades, I learned how to skate. I liked it. I went to my first game, and there was just a spark.”

Jared started playing hockey with the Greater New Haven Warriors youth team. Two years later, he joined the Wallingford Hawks Youth Hockey squad. Jared spent four seasons with the Hawks, then returned to the Warriors, after which he played his 8th-grade season with the Southern Connecticut Youth Hockey program.

Jared stepped in between the pipes to play goalie for the first time at the age of eight. During his early years of youth hockey, Jared’s coaches frequently had players switch up positions to see which one would fit.

Once he gave goalie a shot, Jared knew that the net was where he wanted to be.

“You can win a game for a team. You just have such an important role,” Jared says of playing goalie. “I think that if you’re playing good, your team in front of you will play good, too. It goes both ways.”

Jared joined the boys’ hockey squad as a freshman and saw some varsity time right away, getting the start in North Haven’s second game of the year. In the two games he played that season, Jared got an up-close look at the type of talent that he’d be facing in the years to come. As the campaign unfolded, Jared started to feel more confident as a high school goalie.

“It was kind of a big jump, but not too much. I was always playing A Hockey, the highest level. But it’s a big difference in the fact that there are bigger kids, harder shots,” Jared says. “You’re not all the same age anymore. There could be a full-on 18 year-old coming in on you.”

Jared played in several games for North Haven during his sophomore season last winter. Whenever Head Coach Chris Avena gave the sophomore a start, Jared felt ready to take on the challenge. Jared wound up recording four victories in goal, including when North Haven earned a 2-0 win versus Watertown-Pomperaug to secure a berth in the Division II State Tournament.

As a junior this year, Jared is one of three goalies on North Haven’s roster alongside senior captain Andrew Sacco and sophomore Bryce Petersen. Jared earned the win in net when North Haven claimed a 3-2 victory against Cheshire on Feb. 15.

In his time as a North Haven netminder, Jared has not only increased his skills in the crease, he’s also gained a better understanding of hockey as a whole and what to do in a variety of different scenarios.

“I feel like I’ve grown in terms of knowledge and knowing the game more. I’m more aware, talking, being loud. It’s a crucial part of it. It’s not just being in the game,” says Jared. “You have to know your hockey IQ and help out your defensemen. As a goalie, you always have the best view on the ice.”

Whenever he’s in the net, Jared likes to challenge his opponents and use his agility to stop shots. While he isn’t the biggest goalie in the state, Jared has plenty of strengths at his disposal and plans to keep using them to his advantage as a senior next year.

“I have strong speed and agility. I’m able to read the play, and I have the confidence to challenge,” Jared says. “I’m a smaller goaltender. I always have to play my angles right and be confident in my abilities.”

Jared and his teammates recently returned from a quarantine by earning two wins versus Watertown-Pomperaug, the latter of which came in the quarterfinals of the SCC-SWC Division II Tournament. As he looks toward his senior season, Jared wants to help his team have another solid campaign and make a run in states. On a personal level, Jared is looking to finish his career at North Haven by establishing himself as the top Division II goalie in Connecticut.

While he played a few different positions as a youngster, Jared ultimately found his home as a goalie. Jared says that playing the net for North Haven has taught him how to be resilient and remain confident in any situation.

“It’s taught me the ability to bounce back, especially being a goalie. If you let one in or have a bad game, you just have to be mentally tough,” says Jared. “Over the years, I’ve come to develop a calm, cool, and collected mindset. I’m able to bounce back and always be in the play.”

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