Woodstock Academy hockey makes tourney in first varsity season
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Woodstock - posted Mon., Feb. 24, 2014
The Woodstock Academy Centaurs hockey team beat Joel Barlow School 6-5 in an exciting overtime win on Feb. 22. Coach Mike Starr is proud of his first-year varsity squad that qualified for the Connecticut Class 3 state playoffs with its sixth win of the season.
After two years of a junior varsity program, the young squad made the leap to varsity play. The Centaurs' first season win came on Dec. 28 against Belchertown on the road. The 2-1 contest was a highlight for Starr. His team followed it up by home and away victories against NFA, St. Bernard, Bacon Academy and Fitch/East Lyme/Ledyard.
Leading scorers for the Centaurs this season are sophomore wingman Nate DeLuca, with 18 goals and 13 assists. Freshman wingman Will Liscomb has seven goals and 12 assists, while sophomore Zack Burnham, who scored the winning goal against Barlow, has five goals and two assists on the season.
Starr praised Burnham’s persistent play for sparking the team and swarming the net. “He goes all out, 100-percent all the time,” Starr said.
Senior captain Will Smith anchors the defense and scored in the second period with a wicked slap shot from the point with an assist from Burnham. Sophomore assistant captains Connor Bavosi and Jon-Luc Cournoyer provide additional leadership to the team. Doug Gerrity helps shore up the team’s defensive squad.
Senior goalie Baylee Johns, seen by Starr as the backbone of the team, has kept the Centaurs in the mix. One game in particular, they were outshot 44 to 19 and still ended up winning the game. Baylee is backed up in net by sophomore Tucker Johns.
Starr said he feels that his young squad, 15 freshmen and sophomore players, control their own destiny. “Now is the highlight of the season, knowing we are going to make the playoffs and sharing what that means with the kids, parents and great fan base,” he said.
“It’s an exciting time for the hockey program in general,” Starr added. “Now we need to show we can compete with the upper-level teams, pick up our second period play, cut down on penalties, and show we can win as a team,” he said.