La Salle 5, Malvern Prep 2

HATFIELD— All season long, La Salle has been waiting for its offense to kick into high gear. It finally happened Wednesday afternoon. Keenan Schneider scored twice and three other players added one goal each as the Explorers built off a fast start and went on to defeat Malvern Prep 5-2 in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference game at Hatfield Ice.

The win was La Salle’s second in five APAC starts and improved the Explorers to 3-4 overall. The loss was the first for the Friars in eight games (2-1-2-0) in conference) and left then a point behind Holy Ghost Prep in an ongoing battle for first place in the APAC standings.

La Salle came out swarming and in less than four minutes built a 2-0 lead. Michel Casey beat Anthony Perti in the Friars’ net just 33 second after the opening faceoff and Schneider extended the lead at the 3:49 mark.
“We talked before the game about how differently we play if we score first,” said La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner. “That definitely gave us a lot more spark.”

Jack Constabile got cut the La Salle lead in half when he put the puck past Liam Gross with 2:05 left in the period.

Max Maddalo responded for the Explorers 2:07 into the second session when he put in a rebound of Schneider’s original shot from directly in front of the net.

The La Salle penalty killing unit came up big later in the period when Max Mozo (interference) and Dan Whitock (unsportsmanlike conduct) drew simultaneous penalties. The Explorers ended up two men short for 91 seconds but the Friars were unable to capitalize.

Casey was on the ice for the Explorers for the entire kill. “It was a big kill,” he said. “We needed it. We knew they had a really good power play, that’s where they got most of their chances.”

Casey, a senior, spoke to the discipline necessary for a penalty killing unit to perform at its best. “It takes a lot of patience,” he said. “You have to be disciplined, you can’t get overaggressive. That’s what we did. We just stayed in our triangle, kept them out of the middle of the ice, and let them take their shots from the outside.”

Just 20 seconds after the twin penalties expired, Schneider scored to give the Explorers a three-goal lead. Tim Whitock made it a 5-1 game 54 seconds after that.

Malvern Prep’s Matt Harris put in a rebound of a Chris Blango shot with 9:20 left in regulation for what proved to be the only goal of the third period.

Friars coach Bill Keenan anticipated the Explorers’ quick start. “We knew La Salle was going to come out fast,” he said. “They popped in two goals in the first four minutes of the game and our guys just never found their legs.”

• Perti was shaken up during a second-period collision. He was checked by a trainer at period’s end but played solidly in the third frame, making 14 saves.

Malvern Prep 1 0—2
La Salle 2 3 1—5
First-period goals: Michael Casey (L) from Dan Whitlock and David Kimmel; Keenan Schneider (L) unassisted, 3:49; Jack Constabile (MP) unassisted, 13:55
Second period goals: Max Maddalo (L) from Schneider and Jake Hannon, 2:07; Schneider (L) from Jake Hannon, 12:49; Tim Whitlock (L) from Chase Hannon, 13:43.
Third-period goal: Matt Harris (MP) from Chris Blango, 6:40.
Shots: Malvern Prep 22, La Salle 34; Saves: Anthony Perti MP) 29, Liam Gross (L) 20

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