Hockey pg 9 3-14-19

Hockey season
comes to a halt
The season could have gone on a little longer for first-year coach Kevin Bisson and the Woodstock Academy boys’ ice hockey team.
It came to an end March 4 when the 13th-seeded Centaurs fell to No. 4 Branford, 6-2, in a Division II first-round state tournament game.
“It’s a little disappointing,” Bisson said. “I think, overall, from everyone around here that I spoke to, they felt really good about this year. They feel like we have had a really strong year and the kids, as a whole, felt good about how the season went. It’s frustrating to lose in the first round after a great, strong year, but we have these good feelings as compared to last year when we lost in the first round.”
That’s because the best may still be to come for the Centaurs who finished 12-7-2.
“We laid some groundwork and a foundation that the team as a whole can build off of,” Bisson said. “They’re not going to have to come in and learn a whole bunch of new stuff next year. All the returning guys understand what I ask of them and what I expect. There won’t be, hopefully, a big learning curve for the vast majority of these kids.”
Woodstock Academy team captain Liam McDermott rated the season pretty high.
“I think this season felt just as good as winning the state championship in 2017,” the senior said. “The group of guys in the locker room was spectacular.”
McDermott (4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points) will be one of eight who graduate this season.
Leaving with McDermott will be Matthew Odom (19 goals, 8 assists, 27 points); goalie Dylan Shea; forwards Owen Borski, Tom Catsam and Mason Stewart and defensive players, Ethan Thorpe (3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points) and Connor Starr (1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points).
“We have three senior defenseman so we will have a little work to do on the back end to get that shored up. We definitely have the bodies in the pipeline that we’ve been developing this year.” Bisson said.
Bisson was especially proud of the contributions he received from some freshmen this season.
That goes from the front to the back and includes Kyle Brennan who finished with seven goals, three assists and 10 points.
“He had a really strong year playing in a top-line role. We had him on the ice at the end of the game (versus Branford) for a reason,” Bisson said.
Freshman Chris Thibault (3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points) also got a lot of minutes up front as did another first-year player, Devin Chadwick.
Defenseman Brendon Hill saw lots of playing time and will be one of the key ingredients behind the blue line when he returns as a sophomore.
Bisson was also pumped about the contributions of sophomore Guerin Favreau (8 goals, 6 assists, 14 points) and junior Doug Newton.
“Guerin goes another step up the ladder as far as leadership and Doug Newton (17 goals, 13 assists, 30 points) led the team in points and we get him back for his senior year,” Bisson said.
The one big question mark will be in front of the net.
Shea vacates the goalie position.
Junior Josh Lavitt made one start between the pipes this season.
“He didn’t get too much playing time here in the last few years on the varsity level,” Bisson said. “The goalie position will be an important piece for us moving forward, but I think the rest is already in place.”
McDermott agreed with that. “I think moving forward, it’s a really bright future for the program. It was a great team to be able to lead,” McDermott said.
Although the score against Branford Monday may have seemed a little lopsided, it really wasn’t.
The Centaurs played well in the first two periods.
“Two out of three doesn’t get it done,” Bisson said with a sigh.
The Centaurs led Branford 1-0 on a goal by Newton with 3 minutes, 34 seconds left in the opening period.
Thorpe made the rush up the ice, passed to Newton, who did a little stick handling and slipped it under the arm of Branford goalie Greg Lucente.
“That got the juices flowing. The kids were motivated on the bench and the rest of the period, we were just giving it everything we had,” Bisson said.
Robert Lionetti tied the game for the Hornets (15-3-3) 4:22 into the second period, but three minutes later, McDermott found the back of the net.
Thorpe, on the power play, brought the puck into the offensive end, cut back, and passed across to McDermott.
“It was a Liam-like goal; a slap shot from the blue line, going top shelf and one-timing it past (Lucente),” Bisson said.
It would mark the end of the good times for the Centaurs.
David Engstrom knotted the game for Branford with 6:11 left in the second period and the game would go into the final period tied.
“The feeling in the locker room was that, ‘We can win this,’” McDermott said. “We were definitely super-confident in our guys. We just had to protect the goals that we scored and play good team defense- that was the thought. It got discouraging. They got two quick goals, which was our goal (to accomplish), and they beat us to it.”
Max Bunton scored just 39 seconds into the period and then Branford made it a two-goal game 3 ½ minutes later.
A Hornets’ shot was stopped by Shea but the rebound slipped to the left side where Zachary Jones, a lefty, was able to get a forehand shot off and into the back of the net.
Bisson called a time out.
“We tried to rally the troops and regain our composure,” Bisson said.
The Centaurs quickly won a faceoff “nice and clean,” according to the Woodstock Academy coach.
Too clean, in fact.
“It went right past our defender and (Lionetti) took off like a rocket and put the nail in the coffin,” Bisson said.
The Hornets enjoyed a 5-2 lead with just under 10 minutes to play.
Bisson pulled Shea with three minutes left to get the man advantage and Lionetti got his hat trick with an open-net goal with 1:21 left in the game.
Bisson espoused optimism in the locker room after the game.
“It didn’t help our seniors any to hear it, but this program has a bright future,” Bisson said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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