By Rick Woelfel
The pieces fit together quite nicely for LaSalle Wednesday afternoon. Five different players scored goals as the Explorers downed defending Class 3A Flyers Cup champion St. Joseph’s Prep 5-0 in an APAC game at Hatfield Ice.
The win was LaSalle’s fourth without defeat this season and its second straight in the APAC.
“All four lines played pretty well,” said LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner. The ‘D’ played pretty well. We overcommitted at times, but we were definitely happy with the result.”
LaSalle took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from Michael Casey at 9:32 and Dan Sambuco at 14:52.
The pair joined Sam Lipkin on a line that collected nine points against Holy Ghost Prep last Friday night in the Explorers’ league opener. The trio collected five points on Wednesday
“They were all together last year,” said Explorer senior Brandon Leer. “They play club together so they’re on the ice together all the time. Their chemistry has been building up since last year. This year, everything has worked out.”
Despite the score, the teams battled on even terms through most of the opening frame. The second period was scoreless but by the time it concluded the Explorers were definitely in command.
In the third frame, St. Joseph’s coach David Giacomin, in search of an offensive spark, shuffled his lines and moved some defensemen up front.
The Explorers responded by scoring three times with the goals coming from Ryan Ferry, Nathan Benner, and Leer.
For the Hawks, who were opening their season on Wednesday, it was an opportunity to find out about themselves.
“They’re well-disciplined,” Giacomin said of the Explorers. “They play fast, It gives us the experience to be able to go back and say ‘If we want to compete, this is what we have to do in order to get better. I always like playing better teams in the beginning of the year rather than playing weak opponents”
LaSalle outshot the Hawks 41-21 but Giacomin was pleased that his troops battled to the final buzzer. “They didn’t quit and they hustled,” he said. “For me, there are some skill things we have to work on and can certainly do better, puck movement and other stuff, but the hustle across our three lines … those kids didn’t quite and they kept hustling their butts off.”
Aidan McCabe earned the shutout in goal for the Explorers.
St. Joseph’s Prep 0 0 0—0
LaSalle 2 0 3—5
First-period goals: Michael Casey (L) from Sam Lipkin and Dan Sambuco, 9:32; Sambuco (L) from Lipkin, 14:52.
Second-period goals: None
Third-period goals: Ryan Ferry (L) from Brandon Leer and Andrew Budzynski, 4:40; Nathan Benner (L) from Collin Kreisler and Zach Baker, 7:16; Leer (L) from Sean Keaveney, 9:00.
Shots: St. Joseph’s Prep 21, LaSalle 41 Saves: Dan McGill (SJP) 36, Aidan McCabe (L) 21.
Check back for a recap