Malvern Prep 4, La Salle 0

HATFIELD— Malvern Prep made a statement Wednesday afternoon. And the rest of the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference is sure to notice.

Jack Constabile delivered a hat trick and Anthony Perti pitched a shutout in goal as the Friars prevailed over La Salle 4-0 at Hatfield Ice. It was Malvern Prep’s fourth win of the season without a blemish but Wednesday’s game was its first in conference play and the win over the two-time defending APAC champion Explorers served notice the Friars will be a team to be reckoned with.

Perti made 31 saves in goal, with a half dozen falling into the ‘Extremely Difficult’ category. “I wanted to come out out and prove that we are a good team,” he said,

Prior to Wednesday, Malvern Prep played three non-league games against teams from the InterCounty League, albeit teams classified below the AAA level. Perti spoke to the importance of the Friars stepping up in their conference opener.

“It can’t be (overstated),” he said. “The game we played today, I don’t think it was even the best we’ve played. So, we still have more to prove, and honestly, out goal is to win the Flyers Cup, so this is one step in the right direction.”

Malvern Prep’s Chris Blango (l) and La Salle’s Jake Armstrong battle in Monday’s game.

Jeremy Jacobs gave his team a 1-0 lead 3:51 into the opening period when he made a solo run down the left wing and beat La Salle netminder Aries Carangi. Constabile made it a 2-0 game when he tipped in Chris Blango’s blast from the high slot with 38 seconds left in the period during a Malvern Prep power play.

Constabile added two additional goals not quite four minutes apart late in the second period.
Blango, a defenseman and his team’s captain, has been experiencing the satisfaction of merely being on the ice in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It feels awesome,” he said. “My senior year and all the other seniors (on the Malvern Prep roster) and all the other schools. It feels great just to play, to be able to compete. And to try to win a Flyers Cup.”

In addition to being the two-time defending APAC champion, La Salle is the reigning Class AAA Flyers Cup and state champion. But the Explorers have dropped their first two starts, both in APAC play and in 96 minutes of hockey have scored just three goals.

Veteran coach Wally Muehlbronner is looking for answers. “Not as much progress as I was hoping for since last week’s game (a Friday loss to Holy Ghost Prep,” he said. “We’ve got to get better playing together. I don’t think we’re playing that well together.”

Muehlbronner said his team us still trying to define itself. “Right now it’s kind of about forming an identity,” he said, “getting the guys to figure out who the leaders are going to be and then filling in the roles so the guys can follow along and follow their lead.”

• Between them, the Friars (eight) and La Salle (11) have won Flyers Cups. The Friars won five straight from 2001-‘05, a record for Class AAA.

Malvern Prep 2 2 0—4
La Salle 0 0 0—0
First-period goals: Jeremy Jacobs (MP) from Pierre Larocque, 3:51; Jack Constabile (MP) rom Matt Harris and Chris Blango, 15:22 (pp).
Second-period goals: Contabile (MP) from Quinn Dougherty and Ryan Sambuco, 10:48; Constabile (MP) from Dougherty and Harris, 14:43.
Shots: Malvern Prep 28, La Salle 31; Saves: Anthony Perti (MP) 31, Aries Carangi (L) 24

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