With less than a week until the playoffs begin, Unionville, which will finish fourth in the Ches-Mont, is preparing to face a tough opponent, the likes of which could match up with Springfield, which is tied for first in the Central.
Unionville came through with a 4-2 win, boosting its confidence a bit more.
“We talked before the game that we weren’t really worried about the outcome, but we wanted to play better with each shift and each period,” said head coach Nicholas Basilio. “We haven’t peaked and we know that and we’re still gelling as a team.”
Without a full roster due to some injuries, Unionville’s goal was to just get better in preparation for the playoffs.
Unionville captain Tyler Glennon kicked off his team’s fight, tying the game up twice after trailing by one both times.
“Tyler Glennon is an inspirational leader and he needs to be,” Basilio said. “All the kids look up to him. He’s a great captain and plays through every aspect of the game and will even drop back onto defense. To be quite honest, we go as Tyler goes. There is no doubt about that.”
The Indians also ran into some trouble in the third period when they took numerous penalties, resulting in a couple of 5-on-3 chances for Springfield while the game was knotted at 2.
However, the penalty-killing units and the stellar work of goaltender Michael Hansen kept the Cougars off the board.
“We had over 19 minutes in penalties and didn’t give up one power-play goal,” Basilio said. “Mike Hansen stood on his head and just like everybody else on the team, we just need to play a little bit better. Hockey games are won by such short margins — by inches. We won the game tonight by inches.”
Basilio isn’t too concerned over the penalties as his team isn’t prone to taking a lot of them in games.
“Some of those penalties were fatigue penalties,” he said. “They were at the end of shifts, out of positions and some of them we were just trying to check a little bit harder and we were caught on it tonight. It’s part of them game and we have a god penalty kill.”
Glennon agreed that the team was better than it has been — exactly as they want to do in the final week of the regular season.
“It’s a step up from how we’ve been playing,” Glennon said. “We came out as a team and started the game playing well. Our penalty kill played awesome and Hansen played unbelievable and kept us in it. We just rolled and kept the fire going.”
When Unionville received its own power play shortly after, it took advantage when Danny Hargadon scored off a shot from the right point.
Springfield wasn’t going to go away, though, as it pressed in the final minutes of the game, but Hargadon sealed the win with him empty-net goal with 2.8 seconds left.
“We (want) to play better against the better teams,” Basilio said. “We’ve been awful close in those games – we’ve tied them, we’ve lost a couple by one. We need to get over the hump and the kids are just so positive, especially after a game like that.”
Unionville has one game left in the regular season against West Chester Rustin, who the Indians could see at some point during the Ches-Mont playoffs as the top three teams in the conference all sit one or two points away from each other and the final placements won’t be set until after Friday’s games.
“I don’t mind (not knowing who we’ll play),” Glennon said. “We have to worry about what we can control and just keep playing well as a team. It doesn’t matter who we play, we’re going to have to beat the best team in the league to win the Flyers Cup anyway. To get there one way or another, we’re going to have to beat good teams.”