LaSalle 5, Malvern Prep 1

By Rick Woelfel

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—The LaSalle Explorers made it official Wednesday afternoon. Daniel Sambuco scored two goals and assisted on a third to give his team a 5-1 win over Malvern Prep in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference game at Hatfield Ice.

The win officially gives LaSalle (16-6 overall) the APAC regular-season title. The Explorers are a perfect 8-0 in conference play (with one win coming in overtime) and one league game left, on Monday against Holy Ghost Prep.

The Explorers and the Friars (11-4, 5-3 in conference with one win in overtime) will be seeded one-two in the APAC playoffs and will host semifinal games on February 25th. Both will move on to the Flyers Cup tournament from there.

Sambuco got the day off to a good start for the Explorers by scoring on a shot from the left circle with 2:56 left in the first frame. LaSalle extended its lead with 10 seconds left in the period when Nathan Benner scored a deflected goal on a play that originated behind the Malvern Prep net and appeared to catch goaltender Dan Dougherty unawares.

Sambuco and Andrew Budzynski scored goals 73 seconds apart to put LaSalle up 4-0 les than two minutes into the second period but the Friars, who were without their sniper, Nick Martino, due to a lower body injury, but they didn’t back off or back down.

“In the second period they had some really good pressure on us I thought” said LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner. “I don’t know that our puck movement was so strong, but Malvern played a really good game. We’ve got to be prepared for every game from here on out.”

The Explorers didn’t buckle however until the 8:04 mark of the period when Jack Constabile scored a power-play goal for the Friars off a scramble in front of LaSalle goaltender Aidan McCabe. It was just the eighth goal surrendered by the Explorers in eight conference games.

“We’ve got a solid defense in the back,” said LaSalle senior defenseman Bryan Evans. “We love to play a hard, physical game and I think teams A. can’t keep up with our physicality and B. can’t keep up with our speed.”

Malvern Prep coach Dave Dorman presided his team’s tenacity. “There was no quit in the game,” he said, “which was the most important thing for us. I thought the bench stuck together, the kids kept competing, and I was happy for that.”

Brandon Leer completed the scoring for LaSalle with 3:04 left in the third period. The Explorers enjoyed a 40-22 edge in shots.

Notes: The four LaSalle seniors, Evans, Leer, Zach Baker, and Sean Keaveney were recognized before the game.
Malvern Prep 0 1 0—1
LaSalle 2 2 1—5
First-period goals: Daniel Sambuco (L) from Sam Lipkin, 13:04; Nathan Brennan (L) from Ryan Ferry, 15:50.
Second-period goals: Sambuco (L) from Lipkin, :25; Andrew Budzynski (L) from Benner, 1:38; Jack Constabile (MP) from Kyle Washalavitch, 8:04 (pp).
Third-period goal: Brandon Leer (L) from Sambuco and David Kimmel, 12:56.
Shots: Malvern Prep 22, LaSalle 40; Saves: Dan Dougherty (MP) 35, Aidan McCabe (L) 19.

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