HATFIELD— A half season’s worth of effort is seemingly starting to pay dividends for the La Salle Explorers. Keenan Schneider scored twice and three other players added one goal each as the Explorers bested Holy Ghost Prep 6-1 Friday night in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference game at Hatfield Ice.
It was the first regulation win in league play for La Salle, which improved to 1-2-1-1 in the APAC and 8-10 overall versus a schedule that would best be described as rugged.
“As fas as league games go, it’s the best three periods we’ve played this year,” said La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner. “We played consistent from start to finish. So, it’s something to build on for sure.”
The Firebirds (8-4, 2-3-0-1 the APAC) were making their first start since December 20. It was not an auspicious beginning to the new year.
“We just didn’t come to play,” said Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside. “We laid an egg. We didn’t play well collectively and the better team beat us tonight.”
The Explorers were outshot 10-5 in the opening period but found themselves up 1-0 at its conclusion, thanks to a goal from Nathan Benner at the 3:11 mark. Aidan McCabe provided support in goal, making 10 saves in the first frame, a number of them while his mates were dealing with two Firebird power plays.
The Explorers extended their lead in the second session. Jake Armstrong scored on a shot from the left circle exactly three minutes into the period and David Bruner made it a 3-0 game at 11:10 from a deep angle on the right wing that got inside the right post past Firebird netminder Bobby Baehser.
Holy Ghost Prep (8-4, overall, 2-3-1-0 in the APAC) got a goal from Brady Baehser with 2:33 left in the period but the Explorers pulled away in the third frame on a goal from David Kimmel and two more from Schneider.
“We’re coming together as a team,” Schneider said. “Right now, we’re playing as a team and we’re just rolling, honestly.”
Muehlbronner has focused on keeping his lines together to build cohesiveness. Schneider, a sophomore was teamed with Kimmel and Jake Hammond.
“We’ve kind of fought through a lot of the adversity by trying to get the lines staying together,” he said, “not making wholesale changes. We’ve done it, burn I think there’s definitely some chemistry starting to grow between the guys.”
Holy Ghost Prep 0 1 0—1
La Salle 1 2 3—6
First-period goal: Nathan Benner (L) unassisted, 3:11;
Second-period goals: Jake Armstrong (L) from Max Maddalo, 3:00; David Bruner (L) from Maddalo, 11:10; Brady Baehser (HGP) from Carlos Rodriguez and Aidan Mulholland, 13:27.
Third-period goals: David Kimmel (L) from Jake Hammond and Keenan Schneider, 6:56; Schneider (L) from Kimmel and Nolan Woudenberg, 9:40; Schneider (L) from Hammond, 15:51.
Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 17, La Salle 18; Saves: Bobby Baehser (HGP) 12, Aidan McCabe (L) 16.
Malvern Prep 5, St. Joseph’s Prep 4 SO
Chris Blango scored in the third round of a shootout to Malvern Prep a 5-4 win over St. Joseph’s Prep Friday night in an APAC matchup at the Class of 1923 Arena at the University of Pennsylvania.
Blango scored two goals in regulation for the Friars (6-4 overall, 2-3-2-0 in the APAC), who moved within two points of St. Joseph’s Prep (6-8, 3-0-0-3 in conference) in the league standings.
Michael Urbani scored twice for the Hawks, who scored twice in the third period to force overtime.
Malvern Prep 2 2 0 0 (1)—5
St. Joseph’s Prep 2 0 2 (0)—4
First-period goals: Jimmy Craig (SJP) from Michael Urbani, 3:15 (pp); Urbani (SJP) from Craig and Ben Briskin, 5:42 (pp);Pierre Larocue (MP) unassisted, 11:54 (sh); Jimmy Kirk (MP) from Quinn Dougherty, 13:15.
Second-period goals: Chris Blango (MP) from Jack Constabile. 3:35 (pp); Blango (MP) from Constabile and Matt Harris, 13:24.
Third-period goals: Urbani (SJP) from Matt Moresco and Jeffrey Hammond, 1:01; Moresco (SJP) from Dominic Fantozzi, 10:49 (pp).
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