WEST GOSHEN — The fourth-seeded Unionville boys ice hockey team knows that if it plays as undisciplined as it did Monday night against No. 5 Downingtown West, it’s season will quickly be coming to an end.
Though the Indians came away with a 9-3 win over the Whippets in the opening game of the Ches-Mont playoffs, the penalties left an unhappy taste in their mouths.
“We certainly didn’t play the third period as disciplined as we need to,” said head coach Nicholas Basilio. “If we keep that up — and I told the boys this — we won’t be playing much longer. I think that they got the message. One thing this team does do is listen and respond.”
Unionville held a 5-0 lead late in the second period thanks to a hat trick from Danny Hargadon and a couple tallies from David Hargerty, but D-West was able to claw back in the game with three goals quick goals, including one on the power play.
“I give Downingtown West a lot of credit,” Basilio said. “They were down and they never stopped coming. It’s a good job by then.”
All told, Unionville took eight penalties to D-West’s three, four of which came in the final frame.
The Indians will face top-seeded West Chester East in Wednesday night’s Ches-Mont semifinal.
“We had our ups and downs in the first, second and third periods,” Hargadon said. “In the third period, we took some not-so-smart penalties and we can’t be doing that, especially Wednesday. It’s going to kill us.”
Lucky for the Indians, their penalty kill has had practice before in games and were able to successfully kill off the late penalties.
“There is not a team in the league that kills as many penalties as we do,” Basilio said. “We’re pretty good at it. We work a lot on special teams and I’m glad we did. Special teams can carry you a long way.”
In fact, Unionville’s penalty kill scored while short-handed in the second from Hargadon, who ended the game with four goals and an assist.
“Danny is peaking at the right moment,” Basilio said. “He has just a fabulous set of hands and he has a scoring instinct that’s unteachable. When he continues to skate hard and get the opportunities he’s getting from his linemates, because he can’t do it all on his own. He owes a lot of credit to Tyler Glennon, who constantly sets him up, but Danny puts the puck home. He’s good at that.”
“We are looking forward to playing West Chester East,” Basilio said. “We played them twice, tight, with both a two-goal and a one-goal game. If you want to win it all, you have to beat the best and right now, they’re the best. We look forward to the challenge.”
In the two regular-season meetings, Unionville lost 6-4 in late November and 3-2 in early January.
However, the Indians had a strong push to the end of the regular season, even knocking off West Chester Rustin in the final game by a score of 7-2.
“I’m excited, I really am,” Hargadon said. “I think we can do it. I’m confident — the lines are all playing great, we have some good players in the backend and our goalie is playing phenomenal. I’m really confident we’re going to come out with the victory.”
West Chester Rustin 6, West Chester Henderson 3
Henderson matched Rustin goal-for-goal halfway through the game. It wasn’t until late in the second period when Rustin took the lead and finally kept the lead.
“You have two teams that really just don’t like each other,” said Rustin head coach Nick Russo. “It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but (Henderson is) playing really good hockey lately. They showed that (last Friday) against East. They have talent.”
The game became a bit chippy in the third period with both teams’ emotions running high in a rematch from the Ches-Mont and Flyers Cup championship games the year before.
Forwards Tommy Sloan and Brett Christie both had two goals as Rustin skated away with a 6-3 win.
Rustin will advance to the semifinals against No. 2 Downingtown East Wednesday night.
“We just have to put that (game) to bed,” Russo said. “We tied Downingtown and we beat them in the regular season. We haven’t loss to them this year and they’re a great team, but we’re going to have to play better Wednesday night than we did tonight, especially in front of our own net.”
Other playoff action
Garnet Valley 5, Conestoga 3: No. 1 Conestoga, the turnaround team from the year before, had a 3-1 lead halfway through the first round of the Central playoffs, but No. 4 Garnet Valley scored four unanswered goals to knock the Pioneers out. Conestoga played without leading scorer Matt Cameron. Turner Kaufmann had two goals while freshman goaltender Malcolm Roeder made 25 saves.
Archbishop Ryan 7, Bishop Shanahan 0: Everyone knew it would be a tough match for the No. 6 Eagles in the PCL playoffs and it was just that as goaltender Trevor Giwerowski turned aside all 10 shots he faced. On the other side, Shanahan goalie Alex DeGarmo faced an astounding 62 shots and was able to stop 55 of them. Things got a little out-of-hand at the end of the game as several misconducts and major penalties were handed out and a fight broke out, which is not allowed at the high school level.
Avon Grove 7, Interboro 1: No. 1 Avon Grove made it known that it was the team to beat in the South playoffs and proved it with a big win over No. 4 Interboro. Avon Grove’s special teams made an impact on the game with two power-play goals and a short-handed goal. Forwards Jake Beck and Matt Miller both had three points and goaltender Cameron Faller faced just four shots the entire game.
Sun Valley 4, Kennett 3: No. 2 Kennett knew it had to play a strong game defensively in order to get past No. 3 Sun Valley, but the Vanguards threw 43 shots at the Blue Demons with four getting past goaltender Sean Edmonds. Ryan Johnson and Luke Borman kept up with their hot hands, but it wasn’t enough to make it by Sun Valley.