Girls pg 1 1-2-20

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Woodstock Academy junior Eliza Dutson celebrates after scoring the second goal of the game versus Warwick. Photo by Marc Allard.

hockey team
posts first
two wins
It was a nice vacation week for the Woodstock Academy girls’ hockey team.
After losing its two opening games to Connecticut teams, the Centaurs rebounded with a pair of wins over teams from outside the state line just before and right after the Christmas holiday.
The Centaurs held off Warwick, R.I., 2-1, to even their record at 2-2.
Woodstock Academy had opened the week with a 4-3 victory over Auburn.
“We’re really happy. We’ve really improved over our first two games which didn’t go so well. The team is starting to figure out the plays and figure out how to work together well. It’s really good,” said senior Chelsea Willis.
Willis got the Centaurs going against the Lady Titans from Warwick Dec. 27.
With 3:50 left to go in the first period, she was able to poke a goal past Warwick goalie Mary Centracchio.
“It was a mess,” Willis said with a laugh. “It looked bad but all three of us (linemates Eliza Dutson and Sydney Haskins were part of the said ‘mess’) were in front of the net and just hitting (the puck) which was right by her pad. We got it up and over the pad and tucked it in.”
Willis has started to develop a crease presence for Woodstock Academy.
“It’s what we’ve called on her to do. She’s a bigger presence and can keep her stick down on the ice. If we can feed her the puck, she will have opportunities to score,” said Woodstock Academy coach Jeff Boshka.
It was Willis’ second goal of the season.
Dutson added the insurance goal for the Centaurs, her fourth of the year, when she crossed over the blue line all alone and bested Centracchio one-on-one 9 ½ minutes into the second period.
The Centaurs, who outshot the Titans 26-12, had numerous other opportunities.
“I thought we were going to have a little more of a spread there, but Warwick kept fighting and definitely made it hard for us. They had a very good goalie, made some nice saves and we just couldn’t finish,” Boshka said.
The Centaurs also grew a little complacent.
It had the coaching staff a little concerned in between the second and third periods.
“You always wonder about momentum,” Boshka said. “There was some talk at the break that we were skating about 80 percent. We decided to go to shorter shifts so that everyone could go 100 percent and get off the ice to someone with fresh legs.”
The Titans still made it close.
Faith Kennedy scored the first goal of the year for the Warwick team, which was playing its season opener, with 12 minutes left in the game.
“You can’t win by a lot every time,” Willis said. “It was a concern, but we held them off. We kept them on the outside like coach said and it slid off. We listened.”
The Centaurs are going to get pretty familiar with the Titans. The two teams will play again at 9 p.m. Jan. 3 in Warwick.
Against the Auburn Rockets, the Centaurs were clinging to a one-goal lead with 15 seconds left when Woodstock Academy goalie Marie Gravier made a fateful decision.
Somehow, her glove had become stuck and she could not move her hand.
To make matters worse, an Auburn offensive player was coming in and there was a loose puck in front of Gravier.
She just pulled her hand out of the glove and stopped the puck with her bare hand.
“It wasn’t a hard shot, it was just one where she tried to lift it, but it was pretty close and pretty hectic,” Gravier said.
The senior’s heroics saved the day for Woodstock Academy which recorded not only its first win of the season, but also its first-ever win as a member of the Central Massachusetts League.
“It’s so important to start off our real league season like this. I mean it can only go up from here,” Dutson said.
It came against the team whose coach, Pete LaPrad, was instrumental in helping Woodstock Academy gain entry into the Massachusetts league.
“It’s a very competitive game and that’s what this is all about. Girls’ hockey has come a long way and I know Woodstock Academy is a part of that and it’s really a good thing,” LaPrad said. “It’s good to have good competitive teams to come out and play against.”
Auburn jumped out on top early, getting three goals within 3 ½ minutes between the first and second periods.
Haley Vadenais struck first for the Rockets (1-2-1, 0-2-1 Central Mass) putting one over the right shoulder of Gravier with 2:52 left in the first period.
Auburn would take a 2-0 lead into the second period when Reese Levansavich scored with 44 seconds left.
The Rockets put their size advantage to work in front of the net early.
“We have to get position and battle for position. That has to be a key point,” Woodstock Academy coach Jeff Boshka said in between the first and second periods.
He went into the locker room to discuss it with his team but when they came out, the same thing occurred.
Brooke Lyden passed the puck in from the left wing and Delany Novick was stationed on the opposite post.
Lyden’s pass found her teammate who scored easily just 27 seconds into the second.
It was clearly shaping up to be a long day for the Centaurs who hadn’t, to that point, scored a goal yet in the season.
But Boshka was optimistic.
“There is hope. There is always hope when you have a team that works hard and keeps on trying,” Boshka said.
With 7:49 left in the second period, a little ray of light snuck in when Dutson scored the first goal for the Centaurs.
Newcomer Juliana Buoniconti got the puck just inside the blue line and passed it to the junior for the power-play goal.
“I asked the question (Monday), ‘Who will get us our first goal?’ and there was a loud roar and everyone said, ‘Me,’ knowing full well that Eliza had a very good percentage chance of getting that first goal. She has the skill and desire. She’s hungry,” Boshka said. “It was great and much needed. It got the monkey off our back and then, it was like, ‘Let’s play this game.”
Dutson would make it a one-goal game when she recovered from a pretty solid hit just inside the Auburn blue line, skated across and beat Auburn goalie Kori Hopkinson with 1:25 to play in the period.
Nine seconds later, Willis tied the game.
Dutson put home the game winner with 5:05 left when Jade Hill sent one off the boards and on to Dutson’s stick.
Gravier then came up big late, as she had all day.
The goalie finished with 38 saves as Auburn outshot the Centaurs, 41-11.
“She makes that save with her glove stuck and she’s like, ‘I have to do what I have to do.’ What more can you ask for as a coach? She made the save with her bare hand. She’s all fired up and all in,” Boshka said.  
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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