La Salle 4, St. Joseph’s Prep 0

 La Salle 4, St. Joseph’s Prep 0

BRISTOL— Some of the actors assumed new roles in the production. But in the end the performance was more or less unaffected.

Despite fielding a lineup that had some pieces missing La Salle stayed focused on the task at hand and recorded a 4-0 win over St. Joseph’s Prep Monday night at Grundy Arena in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference semifinal. The win was La Salle’s sixth straight.

The two-time defending champion Explorers (8-4) will face regular-season champion Malvern Prep for the Founders Cup title Wednesday night at 8:00 at Ice Line.

La Salle’s big guns were as powerful as usual. Michael Casey scored a goal and assisted on two others. David Kimmel had a goal and an assist, while Keenan Schneider and Dan Whittock also scored goals.

 But with only 15 skaters in uniform and several regulars missing, La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner had to play mix and match several players got more ice time than usual as a result. One of them was senior forward Michael Roman.

“Definitely it’s a big chance to step up and help the team out,” he said. “I was definitely out there more, so it was more of a way to bring my leadership as a senior.”

Roman notes its important he set an example for his teammates even though, or perhaps because he doesn’t see a lot of ice time in many circumstances.

“It’s extremely important,” he said. “My main job, if I’m not on the ice, I’m giving everyone high-fives and telling everyone ‘Good work’, telling them what to do. Just trying to keep a positive energy on the bench.

Schneider gave the Explorers a 1-0 lead just 72 seconds after the opening faceoff on a shot from the inside of the right circle that seemed to catch St. Joseph’s Prep netminder Rocco Bruno by surprise
Kimmel made it a 2-0 when he put in a rebound of Whittock’s original shot.

Whittock himself extended La Salle’s lead at the 16:41 of the second period and Casey added a fourth goal 8:21 into the third.

Muehlbronner noted that Monday’s game was a new experience for some of his players who weren’t used to the postseason environment.

 “It was the first time for a lot of these guys playing in that playoff atmosphere,” he said, “and I think it showed at times. We just looked a little bit hesitant at times but I think the older guys got it going, and in the end, were certainly happy with the result.

St. Joseph’s Prep (3-9) had just 13 skaters dressed. Hawks’ coach David Giacomin said the pace of the game eventually caught up to his players.

“They played so hard the first period,” he said, “and about halfway through (the second period), maybe three quarters of the way through, that’s when they lost their legs. If they played like they did  … the consistent game, we’re going to be in every game and have a chance to win. But it’s really difficult playing game in and game out with the same 10-12 kids.”

St. Joseph’s Prep 0 0 0—0

La Salle 2 1 1—4

First-period goals: Keenan Schneider (L) from Max Maddalo, 1:12; David Kimmel (L) from Dan Whittock and Michael Casey, 11:10

Second-period goals: Dan Whittock (L) from Casey, 16:41

Third-period goals: Casey (L) from Kimmel, 8:21

Shots: La Salle 35, St. Joseph’s Prep 31; Saves: Rocco Bruno (SJP) 31. Liam Gross (L) 31

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