The Hawks (4-1 overall) were able to exploit some of Henderson’s (5-4-1 overall) weaknesses and came away with a 5-1 win in the non-conference game.
“There are games we want to come out and we want to win and we have in the past when we’ve played Malvern or St. Joe’s Prep, but they’re AAA for a reason,” said Henderson head coach Scott DiRico. “They’re just deeper and that’s hard for some of the teams in the Ches-Mont to be able to play with them for a full game and sustain that kind of consistency. They’re very talented and very well coached.”
But it didn’t come all that easily for St. Joe’s as goaltender Tyler Bonjo stood in its way.
The senior made numerous big saves throughout the game, but he could only do so much as some defensive breakdowns led to a couple breakaways which St. Joe’s took advantage of.
“(Bonjo) made some really, really good saves, but it’s a team game,” DiRico said. “Whether (the goals) are his or on somebody else, it’s a goal regardless. You can’t necessarily fault him for those goals, but everybody’s accountable – all five guys and the goalie.”
Though the breakdowns were made apparent by St. Joe’s, it’s not something the coaching staff and team isn’t already aware of.
“It’s the same thing every game,” DiRico said. “We’re too inconsistent defensively as far as what we do. We have a major, glaring problem in front of our own net with clearing guys out and just playing too soft. We’re just not tough enough in front of our own net. There are some things we did get better and I did notice today, but there are also the same stories. We turn the puck over too much and are just way too lax in our own zone.”
After letting in two goals in the first, Henderson attempted to stay with St. Joe’s, especially after a snipe from junior forward Jarrett Slear pulled them within one to make it 2-1.
The Warriors began applying more pressure on goaltender Shawn Joniec, but the Hawks were able to tilt the ice back in their favor with two more goals late in the second.
“They’re a good team and they always are,” DiRico said. “They play differently than a lot of teams we play. They obviously have skilled players on offense. They’re just a hard team to play against. We play them every year so it’s not like it’s anything new we’ve seen, but they have a good system as far as defensively in what they do.
“Their forwards, especially, cycle really well and always keep us moving. It’s something that’s harder for us to play with because we don’t see that type of stuff every week.”
The loss will prove to be more of a learning tool moving forward for Henderson.
The Warriors closed out its non-conference play with the game against St. Joe’s and will now look to rack up the points which really count in the race for the playoffs and Flyers Cup.
“It will be good that we’ll be able to focus on Ches-Mont games and get all the Ches-Mont teams for the second time and being able to really put the push in for the second half of the season,” DiRico said.