Unionville had chances to upset the Tri County league champs but fell short in Flyers Cup opening round By Dave Conard Sport Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
HAVERFORD—There is no doubting the fact that ice hockey is a physical game.
Hours upon hours of skating to get in game condition, because after all to quote the immortal Herb Brooks “The legs feed the wolf.” not to mention the countless winding up and ripping enough shots on net to develop the accuracy of a sniper.
Strength training, wind sprints as well as stretching to build stamina and flexibility are all qualities that are associated with a winning hockey program.
Yet despite all of the physical characteristics required to “lace em up” and hit the ice in the Ches-Mont league, the most important weapon that Unionville possessed last season as they worked their way all the way to the Flyers Cup final was their attention to detail.
Taking care of the “little things” or attention to detail is what can make the difference between playing for a championship and an early exit from the Tri State area’s elite tournament.
Little things like, playing hard in the zone until the whistle blows, as the opposition goaltender mishandles a routine save, which could have been poked home had some one continued into the crease prior the play being blown dead.
Little things like, getting off the ice on a clearing pass as the coaching staff is screaming for a line change, allowing fresh legs to prevent a two on one break on your own net minder, thus preventing a “gimme goal”.
Little things like hitting your teammate on the tape of his stick, as opposed to burying it his skates while on a two on one break away on the opposition goalie with a chance to cut the lead to one goal, then watching in dismay as a 22-1 team snags the puck and heads the other direction, scoring on the ensuing rush out of your end increasing its lead to three goals.
Its the little things, all of which played a part in the demise of Unionville on Monday night at Haverford townships Skatium, that can make the difference.
Yes, Archbishop Carroll came into Monday night’s 2012 Flyers Cup opening round battle with Unionville representing the Tri County A League as it’s newly crowned champion.
Yes, they came in sporting a 22-1 record with their only loss coming at the hands of Archbishop Ryan’s A squad and boasting one on the highest scoring offenses in the Flyers Cup field.
And yes, on paper it looked as though the Patriots should have won the game in a walk, but despite a great effort by the Indians, in reality it was a plethora of “little things” that derailed Unionville’s return journey to the finals and led to a 6-2 win over the young Indians, that look to be one of the favorites to return to the Flyers Cup next season.
“We knew this season would be tough,” said Unionville head coach Bill Hammond. “No matter what we had go against us this season, these kids battled and never gave an inch. Just to be in the Flyers Cup again is such an accomplishment and honor, we beat two quality teams in our last two games of the season just to get here, our back were to the wall and we responded.”
Despite being out shot by a five shot margin through the first two periods, the Indians (4-12-1) defense did an outstanding job of limiting the scoring opportunities of Carroll.
Unfortunately for the blue and gold, the Pats took advantage of the few quality scoring chances they got, taking a 2-0 lead after one period, as the puck shot by Collin McKoy which never left the ice surface, scooted under the pads of sophomore net minder Josh Seder.
Drew Clarke (8 goals, 14 assists) got the Indians on the board with a power play goal to start the third period, it was the tenacity of Clarke along with Nick Ward (16 goals, 6 assists) and Andrew Knight (6 goals, 11 assists) that helped lead to Unionville having three power play opportunities in the final stanza.
Just as it seemed as though the Indians would draw to within one goal, the Patriots posted a short-handed tally by Chip Byrne to increase the lead to 4-1.
Unionville responded on the next shift as senior Freddie Henjes posted a goal, again cutting the lead to two with ten minutes remaining in regulation, but two unanswered goals by Carroll sealed the deal for the Patriots and ended the season for the Indians.
“I think what I will miss the most is the camaraderie we had as a team,” said Henjes. “Last year making it to the finals was definitely the highlight of my career here, we were so close this year and never quit, even though we struggled at times, I will miss all of these guys and will always be friends.”
“Taking care of the finer points comes with maturity,” added Hammond. “These guys are ahead of the curve already, they will use what they have learned this season and use that for incentive next season, we all wnet around the room and asked the seniors what advice they would give and they came up with some great things.”
#20 Unionville 0 0 2 -2
#13 Archbishop Carroll 2 1 3 -6
Shots on goal
Unionville 8 11 8 -27
AB Carroll 12 12 9 -33