Two GNASH teams hopeful to make a playoff run in the coming weeks locked horns Wednesday at the Centennial Sportsplex. Although the two seemed basically even through two periods, Hendersonville’s line depth ultimately made the difference against Ensworth/Oakland.
The Commandos scored four goals in the third period to give them the 6-1 victory, pushing them into second place in the GNASH standings and all but assuring that they’ll be involved in the postseason.
“We’re fortunate to have some good depth, so we can give those top-line guys a little less on the front end,” said assistant coach Troy Damewood, who spoke on behalf of absent head coach Tim Rathert.
“We knew coming in Ensworth/Oakland would be good and give us a run for our money. One of the things they lacked was depth, so we had them there.”
Brodie Ruffing, Cross Carruth, Alexander Yarger, and Eric Hall all chipped for a goal in during the third period in which the Commandos entered with a 2-1 lead. Hall had the goal that gave Hendersonville the lead in the second period, after the two teams traded goals. Tyler Kimbro scored in the dying seconds of the first period, with Ryan Seibert adding Ensworth/Oakland’s lone goal minutes into the second period.
“I think we got a little tired,” said Ensworth/Oakland coach Tim McCallister.
“They play a fast game, and we worked. We just ran out of gas a little early. They pulled ahead, and we couldn’t recover from it.”
As it stands, Hendersonville will enter the playoffs as a number two seed. The Commandos also seem to have found their mojo heading into the postseason, have won five straight after a 2-2 tie against Montgomery Bell Academy back in the beginning of December.
“We’re working every time we step on the ice to improve for that goal,” said Damewood.
“These games right now, they don’t matter. What matters is what we do at the end of the year, and we’re starting to gel and come together at the right time.”
For Ensworth/Oakland, they’re still in the hunt for a playoff spot. They’re currently in sixth place in the standings with a couple of games to go and lock up their own spot.
“The boys have played extremely well all season,” said McCallister
“We’ll get back to the grind. We’ve got a couple of games left before playoffs, but we’ve always had that no-quit attitude. We want to continue with it.”
Both teams will continue their respective playoff push Feb. 5. Ensworth-Oakland plays Brentwood at the Ford Ice Center, while Hendersonville faces Franklin-Hume Fogg at the Centennial Sportsplex.