Connecticut HS Hockey – CIAC Division 2 State Final: North Haven Works Overtime For 2-1 Championship Win Over Woodstock Academy

Doug Bonjour
Doug Bonjour
Doug Bonjour joined Hockey Night in Boston in November 2022. He has covered high school and college sports in Connecticut for more than a decade, including stints as the UConn women’s basketball and UConn football beat reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media. During his time reporting on the 11-time national champion Huskies, he covered three NCAA Final Fours. He previously was a general assignment reporter for GameTimeCT and the Connecticut Post, and covered high school sports statewide, including boys hockey. Prior to that he was the managing/sports editor for the Westport News and Norwalk Citizen community weekly newspapers. He also has written for the Associated Press and New York Times. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2008 with a degree in print journalism.

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North Haven players and coaches celebrate after winning the Connecticut Division 2 state championship, a 2-1 OT win over Woodstock Academy, Tuesday at Quinnipiac. (Photo courtesy of Chris Eadevito/CT Hockey Report)

North Haven and Woodstock Academy were neck-and-neck the two most formidable boys hockey teams in CIAC Division II for months, and that remained the case until the last possible moment of the 2022-23 season.

Alex Petersen scored 5:35 into overtime, leading the top-seeded Nighthawks over the No. 2 seed Centaurs 2-1 in the Division II finals Tuesday night at Quinnipiac University.

It was North Haven’s first state championship since 2004 and third all-time. The school was the runner-up twice, including last season when it fell 3-0 to Wethersfield.

“To get back here again and then to do it the way we did it is just the elation,” North Haven coach Chris Avena told CTInsider. “It makes every day going to the rink, the grind … all the worthwhile. To see kids so happy and to see kids celebrate like that, it was the best experience I’ve had in hockey.”

Facing massive expectations on the heels of that runner-up finish, the Nighthawks went 24-2 and also won the SCC/SWC Division II title for the third year in a row. They dropped just one in-state game, 3-2 to Branford on Feb. 1. Their only other loss came three days later against Warwick Co-op (R.I.), 6-0.

Donnie Sousa Woodstock Acad.

Woodstock Academy struck first against North Haven, with Donnie Sousa beating Petersen’s brother, Bryce, with 3:31 left in the second period. The Centaurs, bidding for their second state title in six years, maintained that lead well into the third thanks to Dante Sousa, who denied North Haven time and again.

It wasn’t until 5:30 remaining that North Haven finally broke through, as Tommy Guidone’s goal made it 1-1. And the teams remained square into overtime, when Alex Petersen capitalized off a turnover and beat Dante Sousa inside the right post for his seventh — and most memorable — goal of the playoffs.

“I just thought, ‘I’m not messing this one up,’” Alex Petersen said via CTInsider. “It just dropped on my stick in the slot. The last goal of my career and the most important one, I think, for North Haven hockey.”

Woodstock Academy finished 23-2, with both losses coming against North Haven. The Nighthawks beat the eventual Nutmeg Conference champions 5-1 on Jan. 11, dropping them to 7-1. The Centaurs’ only other appearance in the state final was in 2017, when they beat Hall/Southington 7-3 to win Division III.

Bryce Petersen finished with 34 saves, four more than Dante Sousa.

** featured image courtesy of Chris Eadevito/CT Hockey Report

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