WEST GOSHEN—In a normal hockey season, the field for the Flyers Cup tournament would be announced about now. Because of the pandemic, the 2021 regular season still has a month to go. But Wednesday night, Holy Ghost Prep and Malvern Prep demonstrated what a Flyers Cup game should look like.
Jack Constabile scored in the bottom of the fourth round of a shootout to give the Friars a 3-2 win over the Firebirds in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference game at Ice Line. The win kept Malvern Prep in six starts this season (3-0 in the APAC). It was the first loss for Holy Ghost Prep in four tries (2-1 in conference).
It was the first of three regular-season meeting between the two teams who have emerged as the top contenders for the APAC championship. On Wednesday night, there was little that separated them.
“I thought Holy Ghost played a tremendous game,” said Malvern Prep coach Bill Keenan.”‘I think it’s a testament to our league, and how good the teams are, the strength.”
Malvern Prep’s Jack Constabile (in white) battles with Holy Ghost Prep’s Sean Marshall (photo: Gracie Cleveland)
On a night when the level of play was superb, the brightest star in the heavens was Friar goaltender Anthony Perti. He made 28 saves over the course of 48 minutes of regulation play and five minutes of three-on-three overtime including a half dozen that belong on a highlight reel. The junior sensed the importance of the occasion.
“I kind of knew,” he said. “Big moments, you’ve got to be ready for them if you want to be a big-time player, so I was definitely ready for them. It was a massive game.”
Bobby Baehser in the Firebirds’ net didn’t have to be as spectacular as his counterpart but he was just as efficient; he also finished with 28 saves.
Brady Baehser opened the scoring for Holy Ghost Prep 4:48 into the first period off a turnover deep in the Malvern Prep defensive zone. It took the Friars just 15 seconds to respond; Jeremy Jacobs won a goal-mouth scrum at the 5:03 mark.
The hosts took the lead with 1:05 left in the second stanza when Matt Harris tipped in Steven Getsie’s shot from the left point.
A few minutes prior to that however, Perti made his best save of the game when he denied Anthony Sparo at the end of a two-on-none rush.
The Firebirds stepped up the pressure in the third period, outshooting the Friars 13-5. It was Shaun Moore who scored the tying goal on a backhander from the right side of the net at the 8:11 mark.
Both teams had chances in overtime but only Constabile could find the net in the shootout. It wasn’t for a lack of trying however; the Firebirds found iron three times in four attempts.
“It was a great high-school hockey game,” said Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside. “Two good teams. I though their goalie played really well, made some big stops.
“I thought at times we didn’t have good puck luck either, a couple posts here and there. But that’s hockey.”
Ice Chips—The Firebirds and the Friars will face each other Monday afternoon at Grundy Arena and again on March 11, also at Grundy with additional meetings possible in the APAC playoffs and during the Class AAA Flyers Cup tournament … The Friars unveiled a new set of white sweaters Wednesday which featured a logo commemorating the 50th anniversary of the school’s hockey program. The school fielded its first team in 1970.
Holy Ghost Prep 1 0 1 0 (0)
Malvern Prep 1 1 0 0 (1)
First-period goals: Brady Baehser (HGP) unassisted 4:48; Brady Doyle (MP) from Chrs Blango, 5:03.
Second-period goal: Matt Harris (MP) from Steve Getsie and Ryan Sambuco, 14:55
Third-period goal: Shaun Moore (HGP) from Landon Stoudt and Sean Marshall, 8:11.
Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 30, Malvern Prep 30; Saves: Bobby Baehser 28, Anthony Perti (MP) 28
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