HAVERFORD TOWNSHP— The 2021 Holy Ghost Prep Firebirds are becoming renowned for their fast starts. For the third consecutive game, a big first period propelled the Firebirds to a win, a 5-1 decision over St. Joseph’s Prep Friday night in an Atlantic Prep Conference game at the historic Skatium.
Michael Connelly Anthony Sparo scored first-period goals to give their team a 2-0 advantage at the 9:17 mark of the first period and the Firebirds (3-0 overall, 2-0 in the APAC) continued to step on the gas the rest of the way, outshooting the Hawks (2-1, 0-1) 40-14.
In its three games, the Firebirds have scored seven first-period goals.
“There’s a lot of really good chemistry here,” said Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside, “and guys really like playing with each other. That’s nice to see.”
On this occasion, the chemistry was evident up and down the lineup. Patrick McAneny, centering the fourth line, scored on goal and assisted on another. The senior spoke to his team’s fast start.
“It’s just hard work,” he said, “getting on pucks quick, putting the puck behind (the opponent) and going to work, getting the puck to the net.”
Due to the pandemic, the 2021 scholastic hockey season in Eastern Pennsylvania will last less than three months, even for championship-level teams. But McAneny noted that he and his teammates are pouring a full season’s helping of emotional energy into the abbreviated schedule.
“It’s more of a sprint,” he said, “rather than a marathon, and we just know that every game matters. We’ve only got what, eight to 10 games. Every game is important. Every game has to be a win.”
Kieran Mulholand and Brian Butler also scored for Holy Ghost Prep.
“It was just a good team effort,” Whiteside said. “I thought our (defense) got better as the game went on. Bit hats off to St. Joe’s Prep. They play you tough every time.”
Dom Fantozzi delivered the Hawks’ only goal during a power play with 2:17 left in the third period.
Despite the loss, St. Joseph’ Prep coach David Giacomin was pleased with the way his team competed. “I was proud of the way we played,” he said. “Obviously, it was not the right outcome and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us but that’s a good team we faced. They’re fast, they look like they’ve been playing together for a little while. They did a great job.”
Andrew Custer made 35 saves in the Hawks’ net in the losing effort.
Holy Ghost Prep 2 2 1—5
St. Joseph’s Prep 0 0 1—1
First-period goals: Michael Connelly (HGP) unassisted, 3:05; Anthony Sparo (HGP) from E.J. Pohl, 9:17.
Second-period goals: Kieran Mulholland (HGP) from Evan Mudrick and Anthony Sparo, 1:45; Brian Butler (HGP) from Patrick McAnAneny, 12:47.
Third-period goals: Dom Fantozzi (HGP) from Christian Short and Matt Moresco, 13:43 (pp); McAneny (HGP) from Sparo and Colin Moore, 15:09.
Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 40, St. Joseph’s Prep 14; Saves: Bobby Baehser (HGP) 13 Andrew Custer SJP) 35
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