By Rick Woelfel
PHILADELPHIA—La Salle took the ice Friday night as if it had something to prove. Namely, that despite an up-and-down season against a rugged schedule that it was still a dangerous hockey team. The message was delivered emphatically.
The Explorers scored three times in the game’s first six minutes and went on to a 6-3 win over St. Joseph’s Pre in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference regular season finale at the University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 1923 Arena.
The win lifted the Explorers (13-13 overall) into second place in the APAC standings with a 3-3-2-1 conference mark, giving them home-ice advantage for a playoff semifinal against the Hawks (11-12, 3-2-0-4) on Monday.
“We came out with good focus,” said La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner. “We jumped on them right away. Which is what we always try to do, but we did it tonight. We played well. We just needed to focus on playing a good game tonight and not on anything that’s going on the weeks ahead.”
Senior defenseman Collin Keiser got LaSalle started with a shot from the deep left wing 1:58 into the game before adding a second goal at the 3:21 mark. Chris Wnek made it 3-0 at 5:39.
Keiser spoke to the importance of the occasion. “We came in knowing what we were up against,” he said, “It was like a playoff game for us, to get home-ice advantage. We came out just like any other game. Probably a little harder, knowing what was on the other side of a win.”
David Kimmel ‘s shorthanded goal 9:18 into the middle period gave the Explorers a 4-0 lead. Jeffrey Hammond got the Hawks on the board at the 10:48 mark but Chase Hannon’s shot from the left point with 1:59 left in the period made it a 5-1 game.
Andrew Centrella scored for the Hawks 3:04 into the thirsted frame but Kimmel answered back with a power-play goal at 4:53 before Centrella finished the scoring.
“The start was a tough one,” said St. Joseph’s Prep coach David Giacomin, “Giving up that goal on one shot from bad angle … When you lay a rivalry school and give up one like that it really tough to come back from. Bur we battled back. It wasn’t a bad effort.”
With Friday’s result, Monday’s APAC semifinals are now set in stone. The second-seeded Explorers and third-seeded Hawks will square of at 4:10 at Hatfield Ice. Top-seeded Holy Ghost Prep will face fourth seed Malvern Prep at 4:00. The Founders Cup championship game will be played Wednesday’s at the home rink of the highest seeded finalist.
La Salle 3 2 1—6
St. Joseph’s Prep 0 1 2—3
First-period goals: Collin Keiser (L) from Max Maddalo, 1:58; Keiser (L) from Jake Hannon and Keenan Schneider, 4:21; Chris Wnek (L) from Ryan Ferry, 5:39.
Second-period goals: David Kimmel (L) from Schneider, 9:18 (sh); Jeffrey Hammond (SJP) from Michael Urbani, 10:49; Chase Hannon (L) from Daniel Whitlock, 14:01
Third-period goals: Andrew Centrella (SJP) from Matthew Moresco, 3:04; David Kimmel (L) from Keenan Schneider, 4:53 (sh); Centrella (SJP) from Joseph Samango, 8:44.
Shots: La Salle 35, St. Joseph’s Prep 17; Saves; Aidan McCabe (L) 14, Rocco Bruno (SJP) 17 and Andrew Custer (SJP) 12
The Grundy Skate Shop is a full-service hockey pro shop inside the Grundy Arena, offering a great selection of equipment, brands and various services. We do a full range of repairs as well as offer custom hockey jerseys. Owner Bill Keyser, has over 25 years experience in the industry and specializes in skate sharpening, including profiling. Please visit our Facebook page or stop in and check us out!
The 2020 Flyers Cup selection show will air Sunday, February 22 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on You Tube