sousa pg 1 1-19-23

Sousa saves
hockey win
Woodstock Academy boys’ hockey coach Mark Smolak’s heart skipped a beat in the second period of the Centaurs game with Bishop Hendricken Jan. 14.
Goalie Dante Sousa had slumped to the ice during a stoppage in play.
The sophomore had been under intense pressure throughout the game and he had been up to the task, making 35 saves up to that point.
Sousa remained steadfast throughout the remainder of the game as he finished with 55 saves, including one in the closing seconds, to lift Woodstock to a 2-1 win over the Hawks. The win raised the Centaurs record to 8-1.
Smolak’s team needed that kind of performance as it struggled to maintain any kind of attack against Bishop Hendricken (6-2-1).
If time of possession was kept in hockey, it would have been lopsided in favor of the Hawks. As it was, the shot totals were, with Bishop Hendricken taking 56 shots to the Centaurs 12.
Sousa did allow a goal 8 minutes, 56 seconds into the contest when junior defenseman Griffin Crain was able to poke the puck past Sousa.
Just four minutes after Crain’s goal, freshman Brady Lecuyer tied it with his third goal of the season off an assist from sophomore defender Jayden Fuller.
But the athlete who made the play work was senior Andrew Newton.
The Centaurs would get Sousa all he needed to work with in the second period when freshman defender Ian Sherman teed one up at the blue line and sent it on to Troy Daviau’s stick and into the Bishop Hendricken net.
It was the second goal of the season for Daviau.
“(Sherman) took a look when he got the puck at the blue line, looked to see what his options were and it was really quick. He looked at the net, saw the lane, saw (Daviau’s) stick on the ice and he threw it toward it. Troy was in a good spot. Bishop Hendricken has a higher skilled team than us; we know that and everyone in the (locker) room understood that. We knew to win that we had to crash the net, get bodies in front, and make their goalie uncomfortable. We didn’t do it as consistently as we wanted, but when we did it, we scored,” Smolak said.
And they let Sousa do the rest. It was the sophomore’s second 50-plus save outing in his career for the Centaurs.
The previous one, however, came in a losing effort so this one was much more satisfying and memorable.
The Centaurs started off on the right note earlier in the week against North Haven, scoring the first goal against its fellow CIAC Div. II contender. Unfortunately, the Nighthawks took over after that and remained undefeated with a 5-1 win over the Centaurs.
The Centaurs incurred a roughing penalty eight minutes into the first period. Instead of that hampering them, it fired them up.
Sophomore Maxx Corradi took a pass from linemate Donnie Sousa 1:20 into the penalty and shuffled it into the North Haven net for the shorthanded tally. It was his 12th goal of the season.
Just 2:16 after Corradi’s goal, North Haven center Alex Petersen tied the game.
Then, with just 2:11 left in the opening period, left wing Tommy Guidone put the Nighthawks ahead to stay.
The first goal, according to Smolak, surprised the Centaurs a bit but it was the second goal that was the backbreaker.
Petersen gave North Haven (7-0) a little breathing room with his second goal of the game in the second period.
The Nighthawks put it away in the third when both Owen Quick and Bryce Mastriano tallied for the hosts.
Girls’ Basketball
If anyone would have told Woodstock girls’ basketball coach Will Fleeton at the beginning of the season that his team would have nine wins in its first 12 games, he wouldn’t have listened to them.
Due to the youth and inexperience of the program at the high school level, Fleeton was just hoping to see continual progress over the course of the year.
But after a 32-23 win over Plainfield Jan. 12, the Centaurs truly own a 9-3 record.
They beat Plainfield, 39-28, on the Saturday before and then traveled to Central Village to pick up the most recent nine-point victory.
The Centaurs could not break free of their hosts. They led by only three, 11-8, at the end of the first quarter thanks, in part, to a pair of 3-pointers by Leila MacKinnon and Kaylee Saucier.
It was the only quarter in which Woodstock scored in double digits as the Panthers (4-5) held them to six points the second quarter, nine in the third and six again in the fourth.
Saucier led the Centaurs with nine points while Eva Monahan added eight and MacKinnon finished with seven.
Earlier in the week, Saucier put together a strong fourth quarter effort but it wasn’t enough to carry the Centaurs over the hump as they fell to Norwich Free Academy, 43-39, Jan. 10.
The loss dropped Woodstock to 1-1 in Div. I of the ECC.
The Centaurs trailed, 30-24, going into the final quarter as the Wildcats (3-7, 1-1 ECC Div. I) scored the final eight points of the third.
Woodstock rallied as Isabel D’Alleva-Bochain hit a bucket just 19 seconds into the fourth and after an NFA tally, Saucier hit a 3-pointer to cut the Wildcats lead to three, 32-29.
Naevaeh York, who led NFA with 15 points, hit a pair of consecutive baskets to make it a seven-point game again.
But Saucier, who finished with 14 points, scored seven of the next nine points and made it a one-possession game, 38-36, with 1:49 to play.
York hit a free throw with 34 seconds left. but missed the back end of the one-and-one opportunity.
NFA’s Emily Orcutt rebounded the miss and put it back home to put the Wildcats up, 41-36. D’Alleva-Bochain hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left but two free throws by NFA’s Brooke Bolles with 1.5 seconds left sealed the Centaurs fate.
Even though the Wildcats came in with just one win to its credit at the time, Fleeton expected no less than what the Wildcats gave.
Monahan added eight points for Woodstock in the contest.
The next week is big for the Centaurs in the scheme of ECC Div. I play.
Woodstock traveled to Fitch, which is off to a 2-0 start in divisional play, on Tuesday (the game ended too late for this edition). The Centaurs follow that up with a home game against another Div. I opponent, East Lyme (0-2), on Friday.
Boys’ Basketball
Putting a full game together, offensively, was a problem for the Woodstock boys’ basketball team over the course of the week.
Jan. 13, the basket had a lid on it for the first three quarters and a fourth quarter rally fell just short in Waterford as the Centaurs lost to the Lancers, 51-46.
Against Cheney Tech earlier in the week, the Centaurs had troubles finding the basket in the fourth quarter and overtime and the Beavers won, 37-34 victory.
The two losses dropped the Centaurs to 2-8 overall and 1-3 in Div. II of the ECC.
Woodstock made a strong showing in the fourth quarter against Waterford.
The Centaurs mustered just 22 points in the first three and trailed the Lancers by 12 going into the final quarter.
But sophomore Garrett Bushey got hot and hit a couple of 3-pointers to ignite the Centaurs who outdid their performance in the first three quarters with a 24-point fourth.
Unfortunately for the Centaurs, the Lancers (3-7, 2-2 ECC Div. II) were able to stay ahead as they made 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
Logan Peabody had four of his team-high 13 points from the charity stripe and added a 3-pointer in the fourth while C.J. Landry scored six of his 12 points in the quarter to keep Waterford in front.
Bushey finished with a game-high 16 points, 11 coming in the fourth. Hunter Larson and Brandon Nagle added 11 points each.
Overtime has certainly not been kind to the team this season.
Unfortunately, playing 4 1/2 quarters has also become something commonplace for Woodstock.
The Centaurs did so for a third time in their 10 games this season and for a third time, came out on the short end.
Cheney Tech was the latest to do the honors as it held off the Centaurs.
Bushey put Woodstock in a good spot at the end of the third quarter.
The sophomore scored four of his team-high 12 points in the final 37 seconds of the third to put the Centaurs up, 31-23.
That lead quickly disappeared in the fourth. Ayden Brookins hit a 3-pointer and Da’mnic Gittens, who led the Beavers (5-2) with 17 points, added a pair of buckets to quickly reduce the Woodstock lead to a single point, 31-30.
Larson scored the only basket for the Centaurs in the fourth quarter to bring the lead back up to three.
But Cheney Tech forced the extra period when J’Roose Orbe hit a free throw with 1 minute, 7 seconds to play and Brookins tied the game with a bucket from the baseline with 35 seconds to play.
It was another big bucket for Brookins who scored the last six points of the second quarter that gave Cheney Tech a 19-17 halftime lead.
But Brookins and the Beavers weren’t done yet.
Dazhaun Copeland gave Cheney Tech the 2-point lead with a pair of free throws just 21 seconds into overtime.
Carter Morissette, who finished with 10 points, brought the Centaurs back within one with a free throw. It was a lonely point as it was the only one for Woodstock in the OT.
Brookins finished off his 12-point night with another key hoop, a basket with 32 seconds to play, that accounted for the final score.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy

Goalie Dante Sousa makes one of his 55 saves against Bishop Hendricken in a 2-1 win for the Centaurs.

Sophomore Maxx Corradi heads up the ice against a Bishop Hendricken defender.

Max Larkin (8) heads up the ice with the puck as teammate Jared Neilsen (17) trails on the play.

Freshman Jack Larkin looks to pass.

Photos by Marc Allard


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