centaurs pg 7 3-16-23

The Woodstock Academy boys’ hockey team lines up along the goal line prior to the start of their quarterfinal game. Photo by Woodstock Academy.

Centaurs advance to Div. II state semifinal
The march through March continued for the Woodstock Academy boys’ hockey team this past week.
On Friday, the second-seeded Centaurs advanced one step further than a year ago in CIAC Div. II state tournament play as they knocked off No. 7 Westhill/Stamford, 6-2.
“You go through each year hoping to improve on what you did in the previous year and we definitely did that in that regular season,” said coach Mark Smolak. “Now, we got over the hump and exorcised the demons of losing in that rink (Koeppel) and moved on to round three. It’s exciting. We are on a 15-game winning streak, we have two more to go, and we just really need to take care of business and end this on a positive note.”
The Centaurs lost to Lyman Hall a year ago in overtime on the Trinity College ice in a quarterfinal game.
Trinity College will now be a memory as the Centaurs (22-1) will have to travel a bit further for the semifinal contest. The contest with the sixth-seeded Branford Hornets was postponed due to storm that buffeted the region early this week.
Woodstock posted an 11-1 win over Branford on Dec. 17 in the second game of the season for both programs.
Branford also defeated top-seeded North Haven, the only team that has beaten Woodstock this season, 3-2, on Feb. 1.
The win over Westhill/Stamford didn’t follow the normal path that recent games for the Centaurs have.
Instead of a slow start in the first period, Woodstock jumped on the Vikings for three first-period goals.
Senior captain Jacob Jurnovoy was the first to find the net as he took a pass from Max Larkin, who finished with a pair of assists, and beat Westhill/Stamford goalie Nate Margerum just 3 minutes, 29 seconds into the contest.
Junior Donnie Sousa put an unassisted tally in and he followed that up with 2:49 left in the period with his 27th goal of the season off an assist from Maxx Corradi.
Kevin Unger got one past Woodstock goalie Dante Sousa just 46 seconds into the second period and Owen Van Dusen followed just 2:15 later and just like that, it was a game again.
The Centaurs had been hemmed in for much of the second period but Jurnovoy was able to break out and restored a two-goal lead for his teammates when he scored with 3:19 left in the second period with help from Larkin and Jayden Fuller.
Still, Smolak was on pins and needles. “It didn’t matter what the score was. (Westhill/Stamford) was good and scored two goals in three minutes and if we had sat back at all, they could be right back in it. There was not a moment in that game after they scored that second goal where I felt comfortable,” he said.
But he did have Dante Sousa in goal who squashed quite a few chances by the Vikings.
Corradi did put the finishing touches on the win as he scored his 39th and 40th goals of the season in the third period to make sure the Centaurs advanced to the final four in Div. II.
The Centaurs opened the state tournament by posting their sixth shutout of the season, a 5-0 win over No. 15 Glastonbury in a first-round game last week, which enabled them to advance to the quarterfinal.
“I’m stoked,” sophomore Maxx Corradi said about a return trip to the quarters after the first-round win. “
It looked like it was going to be easy for the Centaurs early against the Guardians.
Freshman Jack Larkin got the first goal just 2 minutes, 38 seconds into the game when he knuckled one in from the point that bounced at just the right time and hopped over Glastonbury goalie Patrick Sullivan’s glove for Larkin’s third goal of the season.
The Centaurs, instead, let Glastonbury dictate the play a bit and that led to a very physical first period where Woodstock was hit with a pair of penalties.
Dante Sousa and the defense was up to the task. The sophomore made 27 saves and made the one-goal lead stand up for 22 minutes.
Jack Larkin, Ian Sherman, Sam Desmond, Ryan Wallace and Sam Lescault shined in front of Sousa.
It looked as if the Centaurs had taken a 2-0 lead in the second period when Fuller put the puck in the back of the net just 1:26 into the period.
But an unintentional goalie interference call against the Centaurs disallowed the goal.
Corradi made a nice spin move on the blue line, turned, and put the puck in the back of the net.
The sophomore’s second goal of the game was just as nice and it came with the Centaurs shorthanded with 1:27 left in the second period.
Smolak is not surprised by Corradi’s production this season.
The Centaurs finished things up in the third period as Noah Sampson scored with 12:05 left to play off the third assist from Donnie Sousa in the game.
Sampson then paid back the favor with an assist on a Donnie Sousa goal with 8:24 left to account for the final.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy

RocketTheme Joomla Templates