La Salle 5 St. Joseph’s Prep 2

HATFIELD— Having just played each other 72 hours previously, La Salle and St, Joseph’s Prep picked up where they left off Monday afternoon. The result was an intense, grind-it-out Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference semifinal that saw the Explorers prevail 5-2 at Hatfield Ice.

Second-seeded La Salle (14-13) which has now won five of its last six games, will face top seed Holy Ghost Prep for the Founders Cup Wednesday afternoon at Grundy Arena (time TBA).

La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner was not surprised by the tone of the afternoon. “Honestly, I thought that was the way it was going to be,” he said. “I thought it was going to be a tight game. That’s what i would expect. That’s the way it’s going to be down the stretch.”

Nate Benner scorers twice for the Explorers to send them into Wednesday’s final. “There were no skill goals today,” he said. “It was just rebounds and deflections, get it to the net, second and third opportunities. That’s what comes with Therese kinds of games.”

The Hawks got things started at 5:46 of the first period when Michael Urbani scored a power-play goal on a shot from midway between the top of the two circled that stayed along the ice and beat La Salle netminder Aidan McCabe on his stick (right) side. The Explorers’ response came just 23 seconds later when Chris Wnek beat Andrew Custer from after a dash down the left wing. Benner put La Salle in front with 35 seconds left in the opening period.

The second period was scoreless. Benner scored his second goal of the game 4:22 into the third frame to restore La Sale’s two-goal lead but Paulo Colavita’s goal with 6:11 left in regulation got the Hawks (11-13) back into the game.

It took LaSalle just 61 seconds to respond. Nick Astolfi restored the Explorers’ two-goal lead before Nolan Woundenberg added an empty net goal with 1:14 remaining.

“We’ve got to bring a solid (48) minutes,” said St. Joseph’s Prep assistant coach Rich Black. “We played a great seven minutes. We came out hard, we were moving … We just need to put together a full game giants these guys.”

Top seed Holy Ghost Prep defeated Malvern Prep 4-1 in the other semifinal. La Salle will be seeded second in the Class AAA Flyers Cup and will face seventh-seeded Roman Catholic on March 5 at 7:30 at Hatfield Ice in a quarterfinal game. The Hawks, who are seeded third, will face sixth-seeded Cardinal O’Hara in a quarterfinal game the same night at the Skatium. Game time will be 8:45. The Explorers have won all four meetings over the Hawks this season but two of the four required overtime.

St. Joseph’s Prep 1 0 1—2
La Salle 2 0 3—5
First-period goals: Michael Urbani (SJP) from Austin Amato, 5:46 (pp); Chris Wnek (L) from Francis Ford, 6:09; Nathan Benner (L) from Jake Armstrong and Ryan Ferry, 15:25;
Third-period goals; Benner (L) from Armstrong and Colin Keiser. 4:22; Nolan Woudenberg L) from Andrew Budzynski and Aidan McCabe, 14:46 (en).
Shots: St. Joseph’s Prep 27, La Salle 31: Saves; Andrew Custer (SJP) 26; Aidan McCabe (L) 25

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s