That’s about it.
“It was just a total lack of focus,” said Unionville’s coach Bill Hammond. “They probably came out here tonight thinking that they were just going to step on the ice and win the game and they didn’t realize there was another team out there that wanted to win just as much as they did.
“Actually, they probably wanted to win more than they did.”
Though it was Avon Grove’s debut in a new league – the Red Devils have been playing in the DSHA in Delaware – it didn’t mean they were going to be pushovers against a typically upper-echelon Ches-Mont team.
In fact, Avon Grove was the 2015 DSHA Boys Varsity champion, beating the undefeated Delaware Military Academy for the title last season.
“I don’t understand the way that we played,” Hammond said. “We couldn’t complete passes – we would pass the puck into their kids. I can’t say how many times we turned the puck over without even being forced to turn it over.”
The players themselves knew they were out-played in the beginning of the game, which is something that has happened to them before following a big win since Unionville was coming off a 6-1 victory over West Chester Henderson Friday night.
“Avon Grove came out and just completely out-hustled us in the beginning and we were making dumb mistakes,” said forward David Hagerty. “It does happen to us. We come off a big win and think we can just coast. We need to work on that.”
After having two disappointing seasons with early exits in the playoffs, this kind of play is what Unionville wants to try and avoid this year.
“It’s just one of those games where we did not come mentally ready to play,” Hammond said. “I don’t care who you play. In any game, you’ve got to come ready to play. You could be playing the school for the blind and they’re going to give you a game if you don’t come ready to play. That’s not a bad team and maybe we underestimated them? I don’t know. Once we got into that funk, we just could not get out of it.”
With that type of sloppy play, Unionville was lucky to have come out of the first period with a 3-2 lead after battling back-and-forth on the scoreboard.
Hammond had some words with the team between periods to try and get them back on track.
“I tried to tell them in the third period get to center ice and just dump it,” he said. “I don’t want to see anybody skate it. Then we started taking the stupid penalties and they lost focus and all the bad habits came into play.”
“I understand you may underestimate opponents, I understand at times you may play down to the other team’s level, but you have to rise above that. Maybe do that for a period, but then you have to play at your level.”