HATFIELD—A lead that once seemed safe was on the verge of slipping away. After holding a three-goal advantage with just over eight minutes left in regulation and a two-goal lead with little more than five minutes remaining, Holy Ghost Prep spent the rest of Friday evening trying to kill three penalties but hung on for a 5-3 win over La Salle in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference season opener at Hatfield Ice.
The Firebirds (2-0 overall) were shorthanded the last 5:04 of regulation.
Sean Marshall’s empty-net goal with 35 seconds remaining finally settled matters but more importantly, the junior played a key role on his team’s penalty killing unit.
“We were up the whole game and we needed some big plays,” Marshall said. “I think we got them done on the (penalty kills). It was a total team effort.”
Goals from Michael Connelly, Brady Baehser, and Shaun Moore gave the Firebirds a 3-0 lead with 6:32 left in the second period. Michael Casey scored for La Salle (0-1) with 1:23 remaining in the period but Evan Mudrick’s power-play goal 7:50 into the third frame extended the Holy Ghost Prep lead to three goals once more.
That’s when things began to get interesting. Dan Whitock scored for the Explorers with 5:38 remaining to make it a 4-2 game. With 5:04 remaining, the Firebirds’ E.J. Pohl went to the box for cross checking. Landon Stout drew a tripping penalty just 34 seconds later, leaving Holy Ghost Prep two men short for 1:26.
Chase Hannon scored a power-play goal for La Salle with 2:22 left to make it a one-goal game with La Salle still on a power play for another 52 seconds.
The Firebirds survived that stretch unscathed but Luke Panepresso was sent off for hooking with exactly two minutes to play, leaving his team shorthanded for the balance of regulation unless La Salle scored the tying goal. Instead, Marshall shot the puck from his side of the red line down the middle of the ice and into the empty net.
“They put a lot of pressure on us toward the end there,” said Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside. “We found a way to win. We had a good jump early. Have a 3-0 lead helps, but it’s never secure when these two teams are playing.”
It was La Salle’s first game action since the Flyers Cup quarterfinals last March. The tournament was never completed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We looked like we hadn’t played since March,” said La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner. “We did some good things and we did a lot of things that looked like we hadn’t been playing together.”
Muehlbronner was pleased with the way his team rallied in the third period. “We definitely had some good opportunities,” he said. “Their goaltender (Bobby Baehser) did a great job, especially towards the end there. He did a great job. So, that’s something to build on.”
La Salle had a 27-25 edge in shots … The APAC has gone to a four-official system this season.
Holy Ghost Prep 1 2 2—5
La Salle 0 1 2—3
First-period goals: Michael Connelly (HGP) from Patrick McAneny, 9:40.
Second-period goals: Brady Baehser (HGP) unassisted, :21; Shaun Moore (HGP) from Cole Stevens and Ciaran Chambers, 9:28; Michael Casey (L) unassisted, 14:37.
Third-period goals: Evan Mudrick (HGP) from E.J. Pohl, 7:50 (pp); Dan Whitock (L) from Max Maddalo and Casey, 10:22; Casey (L) from Chase Hannon, 12:38 (pp); Sean Marshall (HGP) unassisted, (sh), (en), 15:25.
Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 25, La Salle 27; Saves: Bobby Baehser (HGP) 24, Liam Gross (L) 20
For more information about Holy Ghost Prep Click Here
For more information about La Salle College High School Click Here
If you’d like to promote your product or service on the Hockey Happenings site, contact us at email@example.com