BRISTOL—If familiarity doesn’t breed contempt it certainly breeds a certain amount of hostility. Friday’s game between La Salle and Holy Ghost Prep was the third of the season between the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference rivals and Grundy Arena was filled to the brim with emotional energy.
Anthony Sparo’s goal with 8:28 left in regulation was the difference in the Firebirds’ 2-1 win. The win moved Holy Ghost Prep into first place in the APAC with a 4-3-1-0 league mark for 14 points, one point in front of St. Joseph’s Prep, which has a game in hand.
La Salle dropped to 9-14 overall and 1-3-2-1 in conference play.
“There was a lot of emotion,” said Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside. “Two very good hockey teams, great energy in the building tonight. Just happy to get out of here with a win.”
The Explorers’ Chris Wnek opened the scoring 3:15 into the first periods off a feed from David Kimmel.
Early in the second frame the Firebirds found themselves with an opportunity to draw even when they were presented with an 83-second two-man advantage. EJ. Pohl thought he had tied the game at the 2:11 mark with a shot from the right wing but the referee ruled the puck hit the post and did not cross the goal line and the Explorers killed off the remainder of both penalties. A few minutes later, Sean Joyce made a pair of big saves seconds apart to keep it a one-goal game,
The Firebirds did tie the game with a minute left in the period when Brady Baehser scored on an effort that got through a pile of players in front of the net and past La Salle netminder Matthew Bant.
The two teams started the third period on fresh ice and if anything, the pace of play picked up.
Sparo’s game-winning goal came off a left-circle faceoff in the offensive zone.
With 1:29 left in the game the emotions of the evening boiled over when La Salle’s Andrew Budzynski was called for cross checking. Moments later it appeared the Explorers’ Max Maddalo was knocked into the boards but no additional penalties were called and La Salle skated a man short until the Explorers’ Nathan Benner and the Firebirds’ Dan Behr got into a scuffle with eight seconds to go that led to five additional penalties.
La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner was unavailable for comment following the game.
Notes—Brant stopped 39 shots in the La Salle net … La Salle will close its conference campaign at Malvern Prep Monday night … Holy Ghost Prep will host St. Joseph’s Prep Wednesday afternoon. A regulation win would give the Firebirds the APAC regular-season title.
La Sallle 1 0 0—1
Holy Ghost Prep 0 1 1—2
First-period goal: Chris Wnek (L) from David Kimmel, 3:15;
Second-period goal: Brady Baehser (HGP) from Aidan Mulholland, 15:00 (pp)
Third-period goal: Anthony Sparo (HGP) unassisted, 7:32
Shots: La Salle 16, Holy Ghost Prep 41; Saves: Matthew Brant (L) 39, Sean Joyce (HGP) 15
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