Reflections on a State Championship

   They reached the mountaintop and came home with a state championship. 

Malvern Prep’s 4-2 win over North Allegheny in Saturday’s Class AAA Pennsylvania Cup finale was the culmination of a season’s worth of dedication, not only on the ice but, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, off the ice as well.

Junior Quinn Dougherty scored his team’s first goal, a shorthanded effort that tied the game at 1-1 7:09 into the first period. Dougherty felt that goal was the turning point in the game.

“I thought that was probably a huge goal,” said. “We were down 1-0, we were on a penalty kill, things weren’t really going out way.

“Then we scored on the penalty kill and that just gave us a bunch of life because it was a hard-work goal and it just showed we weren’t going to quit right away.”

Senior Ryan Sambuco, one of the Friars’ captains, says the championship game’s up-tempo pace worked to the Friars’ advantage. “We played the game we wanted to,” he said. “We pretty much kept it simple, getting pucks in deep and shooting low for rebounds That’s how we scored all our goals.

“I think did very well managing the other team and playing to their weaknesses and our strengths.”

Senior Matt Donatucci said the Friars picked up their game after a slow start. ”There were times we were playing sloppy,” he said, “but I think at the end of the second we definitely talked it out. We realized that we kind of had to sacrifice and played our game. I think after that we were probably smooth sailing from there.”

For Donatucci, winning the state championship marked the conclusion of a long journey. I’ve been here for seven years,” he said, “since middle school. I’ve been playing hockey the whole time. Going out on top has been awesome I’m friends with almost every guy in the locker room. It’s just a great group of guys.”

Sambuco saluted his teammate, senior defenseman Chris Blango, for his contributions to the team’s success. Blango didn’t dress for the Flyers Cup final against La Salle or for the state championship game because of injury.

“He brought to where we were, in the playoffs and everything,” Sambuco said. “Being a captain of the team, also being our number one defenseman throughout the regular season and everything, being on the bench as well. 

“He did everything to contribute to the boys. He was out there talking. He was almost like another coach on the bench.”

Malvern Prep Wins State Title

 Jack Constabile scored two goals and Quinn Dougherty and Jimmy Kirk added one each as Malvern Prep defeated North Allegheny 4-2 Saturday evening in the Class AAA Pennsylvania Cup championship game at the UPMC Sports Complex In suburban Pittsburgh.

It marks the third time the Friars (15-1) have won a state title; the previous two came in 1990 and 2004.

Nate Spak opened the scoring for North Allegheny (16-6-1) when he found the back of the net 3:17 into the first period. Quinn Dougherty tied the game for the Friars with a shorthanded goal at the 7:09 mark.

“I thought that was probably a huge goal,” Dougherty said. “We were down 1-0, we  were on a penalty kill, things weren’t really going out way.

“Then we scored on the penalty kill and that just gave us a bunch of life because  it was. a hard-work goal and it just showed we weren’t going to quit right away.”

Malvern Prep coach Bill Keenan said Dougherty’s goal was the turning point in the game.

“We were down 1-0, we end up on a penalty and there’s a chance would go down 2-0,” he said. “We were able to put one in the back of the net to make it a 1-1 game and then a couple seconds later, Jack scores a goal and it changed the whole momentum of the game. We were able to settle down a little bit and get into our rhythms and our game plan and play through the rest of the game.”

Constabile put his team in front for good at 7:35 before scoring his second goal of the game at 9:31 to put Malvern Prep up 3-1 after one period.Malvern Prep’s Jimmy Kirk and the Tigers’ Connor Chi exchanged goals in the second frame to complete the scoring.

Anthony Perti got the win in goal

Malvern Prep 3 1 0—4

North Allegheny 1 1—2

First-period goals: Nate Spak (NA) 3:17; Quinn Dougherty (M) 7:09 (sh); Jack Constabile (MP) 7:35; Constabile (MP) 9:38;

Second-period goals Jimmy Kirk (MP); Connor Chi (NA) 2:39


PA State Championships

Pennsylvania Cup State Championship Games

Saturday, April 24

All Games at UPMC Sports Complex in Cranberry, PA

Class A

West Chester East 6, Indiana 3    Final

The Vikings scored four goals in the third period to claim the state title, the third in school history. The first two were in 2008 and 2013. They finished their season at 17-0.

This game can be streamed here

Class AA

Baldwin 4, Haverford 1 Final

Baldwin previously won a state title in 1988

This game is being streamed HERE

Class AAA

Malvern Prep 4, North Allegheny 2 Final

First-period goals: Nate Spak (NA) 3:17; Quinn Dougherty (M) 7:09 (sh); Jack Constabile (MP) 7:35; Constabile (MP) 9:38;

Second-period goals Jimmy Kirk (MP; Connor Chi (NA) 2:39

This game will be streamed HERE

Flyers Cup Update 4-20-21

Class AA Final

Haverford 4, Downingtown West 1

Jacob Orazi scored twice as third-seeded Haverford bested top-seeded Downingtown West 4-1 Tuesday night in the Class AA Flyers Cup final at Ice Line.

Jagur McClelland and Daniel Quartapella also scored for the Fords, who captured the fifth Cup in school history.

Tyler DeTreux scored for Dowingtown West to give the top-seeded Whippets a 1-0 lead 3:33 into the first period.

McClelland and Orazi scored second-period goals for the Fords. Orazi’s shorthanded effort with 1:12 left in the period proved to be the game winner.

Daniel Quartapella and Orazi scored empty-net goals late in the third period.

Haverford 0 2 2—4

Downingtown West 1 0 0—1

First-period goals: Tyler DeTreux (DW) from Thomas Fetterman and Zakari Spero, 3:33

Second-period goals: Jagur McClelland (H) unassisted, 5:43; Jacob Orazi (H) from Mike Mc Geoch and Aidenn Johnson, 15:48 (sh)

Third-period goals: Daniel Quartapella (H) unassisted, 16:01 (en); Orazi (H) unassisted, 16:44 (en)

Shots Haverford 49, Downingtown West 30;: Saves: Jai Jani (H) 29, Aidan McHutchinson, 49

Flyers Cup Class A Final

West Chester East 3, West Chester Henderson 2

Chase Bencel’s goal with 2:04 left in the second period proved to be the game winner Tuesday night as the top-seeded Vikings bested the Warriors in the Class A Flyers Cup at ice Line. Greg Diamond and Henry Thornton also scored for West Chester East, who captured the third Flyers Cup title in school history. Dylan Trench and Alex Holloway scored for the sixth-seeded Warriors.

West Chester East had a 60-26 shot advantage; Henderson goaltender Dylan Kirk made 57 saves.

WC Henderson 2 0 0—2

WC East 1 2 0—3

First-period goals: Dylan Trench (WCH) from Brian Bowan and Alex Holloway, 5:07; Greg Diamond (WCE) from Chase Becnel and Tristan D’Elia, 11:02 (pp); Holloway (WCH) from Dylan DeAngelo and Chris Laurence, 15:12

Second-period goals: Henry Thornton (WCE) from D’Elia, 6:12; Bencel (WCE) from Diamond, 14:56

Shots: WC Henderson 26, WC East 60; Saves: Dylan Krick (WCH) 57, Jake Godshall (WCE) 24

Flyers Cup Reflections

Thoughts on the Flyers Cup AAA final.

Malvern Prep’s Matt Harris earned the Class AAA Flyers Cup’s Bobby Clarke Award as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Harris, a junior who spends the bulk of his time on right wing, collected three goals and an assist in the first two rounds of the tournament and played a key role in the Friars 4-3 overtime. win over La Salle in Monday night’s final.

Harris noted there was little to choose between the two finalists. “La Salle is definitely a good team,” he said, “They always have been a good team. We knew it was going to be a tough game throughout the whole game.

‘We tried to keep our pressure up. They were doing their best to match with us and we were doing our best to match with them.”

In light of the issues the Friars and the other Flyers Cup qualifiers had to deal with this season, on and off the ice, claiming the title was especially satisfying.

“Super satisfying,” Harris said, moments after the final buzzer Words can’t even describe the way everybody’s feeling right now. Covid was very unfortunate this year but we were lucky that we were able the Flyers Cup games in an and the whole season in. We were just lucky that we didn’t get taken out of the Flyers Cup for Covid-related issues, that we were able to get the job done.”

Malvern Prep celebrates on the ice after winning the Class AAA Flyers Cup Monday night (By Gracie Cleveland)

Malvern Prep coach Bill Keenan Recognized what his team was part of Monday night. “We knew it was going to be a tough game,” he said. “We knew La Salle and what they’re capable of, and props to La Salle, they played a heck of a game. It was back and forth. It was tight, just like as expected.”

The Malvern Prep program was idled by Covid immediately preceding the Flyers Cup. Keenan said the shutdown provided his team with an opportunity to regroup, albeit with a caveat.

“We knew we had a long stretch of games in a short period of time,” he said. “This is what we worked for all season. I’ve coached some of these kids since middle school up through high school and it’s great to see them prevail here and come out on top.”

Kudos to the officiating crew that worked the Class AAA final.  Referees Laura White and Brian McCullough read the temperature of the game perfectly and allowed the players the right amount of leeway. As high as the stakes were, the players respected each other and the game. Doug Hook and Tim Holtz worked the lines.

The All-Tournament team, as selected by the Flyers Cup Committee

All-Tournament Team

F: Jimmy Jacobs – Malvern Prep

F: Michael Casey – La Salle

F: Ryan Sambuco – Malvern Prep

D: Quinn Dougherty – Malvern Prep

D: Andrew Budzynski – La Salle

G: Anthony Perti – Malvern Prep

AAA Leading Scorer: Michael Casey – La Salle 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points

Malvern Prep 4, La Salle 3 OT

WEST GOSHEN— It was the game that high-school hockey enthusiasts hoped it would be. Jimmy Jacobs scored 1:39 into overtime to give Malvern Prep a 4-3 win over La Salle Monday night in the Class AAA Flyers Cup final in front of an energized audience at Ice Line.

Jeremy Jacobs set up the winning goal when he split two La Salle defenders and got off a quality shot. Explorer netminder Liam Gross made the save but Jimmy Jacobs put the rebound in the back of the net.

The win gave the Friars the 11th Flyers Cup title in school history and their first since 2005. It also qualifies them for the Pennsylvania state championship game on Saturday. The Friars will face North Allegheny at the UPMC Sports Complex in Cranberry, PA, near Pittsburgh (4:30 start).

“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Jimmy Jacobs said. “It’s great that we finally won.”

The two top seeds in the tournament delivered a performance fitting for a championship final. Top-seeded Malvern Prep (14-1) got off to a fast start when Jacobs sailed up the right wing and sent a pass to the middle of the ice for Ryan Sambuco who beat Liam Gross 2:42 into the first period.

Jack Constabile made it a 2-0 game at 6:08 when he collected a turnover at the Malvern blue line and went the length of the ice before scoring on a breakaway.

La Salle (10-5) responded when Jake Hannon scored the evening’s only power-play goal at the 10:05 mark after the Friars were whistled for having too many men on the ice. They tied the game 3:12 into the second frame when David Kimmel scored directly off an offensive left-circle faceoff, surprising Malvern Prep goaltender Anthony Perti in the process.

Jimmy Jacobs put the Friars back in front at the 12:37 mark, but it took Hannon just 10 seconds to respond. That was the last goal until the game winner.

As disappointing as the loss was, La Salle head coach Wally Muehlbronner knew his team had much to be proud of.

“We got ourself in a little bit of a hole at the start,” he said. “We battled back, kind of the way we’ve been playing throughout this year; we grew together as a team.”

Muehlbronner praised both goaltenders, who made 78 saves between them. “Gross made some tremendous saves,” he said. “Perti made some great saves. “It could have wen either way a couple times. Both teams battled hard.”

Sambuco, one of his team’s captains, said winning the Flyers Cup was the climax of a career of effort. “We’ve been through the grind for four years,” he said. “And especially for a few of the guys (whose fathers and uncles played hockey for Malvern Prep). It’s special for us to get that cup finally.”

Ice Chips: The Friars’ Matt Harris was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player … Chris Blango, the Friars’ top defenseman and one of their captains, didn’t dress because of an injury … The game featured just three minor penalties, all against the Friars. The last one was called at the 10:28 mark of the second period …The Friars have won three of four meetings from the Explorers this season They could meet a fifth time if the postponed Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference championship game is rescheduled …La Salle was attempting to become the first team to defend a Flyers Cup AAA title since the Explorers won the last of four in a Row in 2014.

La Salle 1 2 0 0—3
Malvern 2 1 0 1—4
First-period goals: Ryan Sambuco (MP) from Jimmy Jacobs, 2:42; Jack Constabile (MP) from Jimmy Kirk, 6:08; Jake Hannon (L) from Max Maddalo and Andrew Budzynski, 9:47 (pp)
Second-period goals: David Kimmel (L) from Michael Casey, 3:12; Jeremy Jacobs (MP) from Aidan Kelly and Constable, 12:37; Hannon (L) from Maddalo, 12:47
Overtime goal: Jimmy Jacobs (MP) from Jeremy Jacobs and Sambuco, 1:39
Shots; La Salle 41, Malvern Prep 44; Saves: Liam Gross (L) 40, Anthony Perti (MP) 38

Flyers Cup Finals Preview

All Games at Ice Line

Class AAA

Malvern Prep vs. La Salle Monday, 8:15

The top-seeded Friars and second-seeded Explorers are each seeking their 12thFlyers Cup championship.

Malvern Prep (13-1), which won the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference regular–season title, features the conference’s two top scorers. Matt Harris scored 13 goals and added 12 assists for 25 points during the regular season and has added three goals and an assist in the Flyers Cup tournament. Jack Constabile contributed 15 goals and eight assists during the regular season plus a goal and an assist in Flyers Cup play

Goaltender Anthony Perti has allowed just two goals in two Flyers Cup games after compiling a 1.84 goals against average and a .934 save percentage in the regular season.

The Friars are looking for their first Flyers Cup since 2005.

La Salle (10-4) is the defending Class AAA Flyers Cup and state champion. The Explorers are paced by Michael Casey, who collected 13 goals and six assists during the regular season for 19 points. He’s added five goals and two assists in two Flyers Cup games. David Kimmel scored six regular-season goals and added nine assists plus a goal and an assist in Flyers Cup play.

Liam Gross compiled a 1.90 goals-against average in the regular season plus a .916 save percentage. He’s allowed three goals in the Flyers Cup.

Flyers Cup Committee President Eric Tye is anticipating a closely contested affair “This is the one (the seeding committee) got right,” he said. “The one and two seeds made it to the finals. I don’t know if you can pick a winner.

“I watched (both semifinals). La dale and Holy Ghost was tight until the end and Malvern had to go to the end with St. Joe’s. I imagine this will be a one-goal game, a two-goal game at the most.”

Malvern Prep won two of three regular-season meetings between the two team this season.

The Friars and the Explorers are tentatively scheduled to meet for the APAC championship on a date to be announced following the state championship game.

Class AA

Downingtown West vs. Haverford Tuesday, 8:15

 Top-seeded Whippets (12-3-1) is seeking the first Flyers Cup in the school’s history. The Whippets are paced by Zakari Spero who scored nine goals and added 13 assists during the regular season/league playoffs for 22 points. He’s added three goals and five assists over the course of three Flyers Cup games. Thomas Fetterman scored eight goals and added 10 assists during the regular season and has added four goals and four assists in Flyers Cup play.

Goaltender Aidan McHutchinson compiled a 2.71 goals against average in regular-season play with a save percentage of .925. He’s been even better in the Flyers Cup with a 2.29 GAA.

Downingtown West handed Haverford its only loss this season; the two teams split a pair of regular-season meeting.
The Fords (15-1) come into the final with a 13-game winning streak. They are seeking the fifth Flyers Cup in their history and their first since 2007.

Jagur McClelland leads the team in scoring with 18 regular-season goals for 22 assists for 40 points plus five goals and five assists in three Flyers Cup games. Jacob Orazi pocketed 14 regular-season goals and 20 assists and added five goals and six assists in the Flyers Cup tournament.

Jal Jani has been outstanding in goal. He compiled a 1.36 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage during the regular season. Over the course of three Flyers Cup games, he’s put together a 1.47 GAA.

Tye says both teams will be primed for the title game after being challenged in the semifinals. Downingtown West prevailed over 12th-seeded Avon Grove while Haverford bested number-10 Pennridge.

“They both got tested really hard in the semifinals,” Tye said. “Avon Grove gave Downingtown West everything they could handle and Pennridge gave Haverford everything they could handle.”

Class A

West Chester East vs. West Chester Henderson Tuesday, 6:00

The top-seeded Vikings (16-0) have been dominant all season, defeating all 16 of their opponents and outscoring them 105-16. They’re seeking the third Flyers Cup title in their history, the first since 2013.

Greg Diamond leads the team in scoring, considering all 16 of his team’s games. He scored 18 goals and added 14 assists for 32 points during the regular season and has added six goals and eight assists during the Flyers Cup tournament.

Tristan D’Elia scored 12 regular-season goals and added 22 assists for 34 points during the regular season. In his loan Flyers Cup appearance, he added two goals and an assist.

Goaltender Jake Godshall put together a 1.92 goals-against average during the regular season with a .941 save percentage. He’s been scored against just once in two Flyers Cup starts.

The sixth-seeded Warriors (6-7-2) are paced in scoring by Alex Holloway, who scored seven goals and added four assists during the regular season. He’s added three goals and two assists during the Flyers Cup tournament. Trey Jefferis collected 11 goals during the regular season. He’s added three goals and an assist during the tournament.

Goaltender Dylan Krick put together a 3.22 GAA during the regular season with a .917 save percentage. He’s allowed two goals in two Flyers Cup games.

The Warriors one previous Flyers Cup championship came in 2007

The Vikings won two regular-season meetings between the two teams by a combined 15-1. They are the likely favorites in the final but Tye offers a caveat.

“They’re probably playing against the hottest goalie in the tournament right now,” he said. “That’s got to be a little bit scary. Strath Haven put 65 shots on that kid in the semifinals and he didn’t allow one until (15) seconds left in the game.”


Downingtown West vs. West Chester Henderson Wednesday, 8:15

Whoever emerges victorious from this matchup will be a first-time Flyers Cup champion.

The top-seeded Whippets (8-6) are paced in scoring by Ava Thomas who collected 19 goals and four assists for 23 points during the regular season. She added three more goals and three additional assists in the Flyers Cup semifinals. Goaltender Molly Rosenzweig compiled a 4.73 GAA in the regular season before allowing three more goals in the Flyers Cup semifinals.

The third-seeded Warriors (12-3) got 18 goals and 11 assists (29 points) from Kayla Czukoski during the regular season. She’s added two Flyers Cup goals.  Cassidy Yaun contributed 20 goals and seven assists during the regular season plus two goals and an assist in Flyers Cup play.

Goaltender Samantha Scebeio carried a 3.34 GA into the postseason. She pitched a two-period shutout in her lone Flyers Cup appearance.

This will be the only Flyers Cup final in which the participants did not meet during the regular season.

La Salle 5 Holy Ghost Prep 3

HATFIELD— A late surge got La Salle over the finish line. The Explorers scored three times in the third period Thursday night to score a 5-3 decision over Holy Ghost Prep in a Class AAA Flyers Cup semifinal at Hatfield Ice. The Explorers (10-4), the second seed in the tournament, will face top-seeded Malvern Prep Monday at Ice Line (8:15 start) in the title game.

Michael Casey scored two goals in the third period, including the game winner, and assisted on the the third. He noted that Thursday’s effort was quite a turnaround from the Explorers’ subpar, albeit winning performance against Father Judge in Tuesday’s quarterfinal.

“We did not play good our first game,” Casey said. “We got the win but it wasn’t good enough. We knew Ghost was going to give us a way harder game.”

The first half of the opening period was a feeling out process, akin to two fighters sizing each other up in the early rounds of a championship bout. Holy Ghost Prep struck first when Brian Butler made a run down left wing to set up Sean Marshall for the game’s first goal at the 10:23 mark. ‘

La Salle got a chance to respond when the Firebirds’ E.J. Pohl was whistled for slashing at 13:35. It took the Explorers just seven seconds to take advantage. Max Maddalo scored the goal with help from Keenan Schneider.

The Explorers took their first lead when Dan Whittock scored with just 53 seconds remaining in the period.

Holy Ghost Prep answered with a power-play goal 6:07 into the second frame, when Anthony Sparo scored from long range. It turned out to be the only goal of the period. After a break for the ice to be resurfaced, the teams returned, one period away from the final, or one period from elimination.

“We basically said it had to be one of our best periods of the season,” Casey said. “We had to go out there and go hard. We had to put more shots in the net; we weren’t generating enough shots,”
Casey scored what proved to be the winning goal 7:09 into the third frame when he rocketed a shot from the slot that beat Firebird netminder Bobby Baehser. He set up David Kimmel for an insurance goal at 9:11.

Holy Ghost Prep (7-7) had a last -ditch opportunity when the Maddalo drew a holding penalty with 4:45 left in regulation but 34 seconds later Whittock and the Firebirds’ Evan Mudrick squared off.

Each received a minor penalty for head contact plus an automatic 10-minute misconduct. After the two players reached the penalty box, Mudrick received a game misconduct as well.

Casey scored into an empty net with 1:20 remaining before Jake Marek scored for Holy Ghost Prep with 41 seconds left.

Firebird coach Gump Whiteside praised his team’s effort. “I thought that was one of the best games of the year for us,” he said. “I really liked our mentality coming into the game. “I’m just so proud of these kids.”

The Firebirds had a 40 shots to La Salle’s 24 but Liam Gross in the Explorer net stopped 37 of them. Ironically, Gross nearly had to leave the game with 7:16 left in the third period because of a problem with one of his skates but La Salle head coach Wally Muehlbronner used his timeout and the situation was resolved.

“It was a great team win,” Muehlbronner said. “Ghost really took it to us for a good portion of that game. We had tremendous goaltending from Gross and a pretty darn good performance out of MIke Casey.”

Notes: Both teams in Monday’s final will be seeking their 12th Flyers Cup title. Monday’s game will not be considered the Atlantic Prep athletic Conference championship game. APAC Commissioner Jim Britt that game, which will also match La Salle and Malvern Prep, will hopefully be scheduled at a later date following the state championship game.

Holy Ghost Prep 1 1 1—3
LaSalle 2 0 3—5
First-period goals: Sean Marshall (HGP) from Brian Butler, 10:28; Max Maddalo L) from Keenan Schneider, 13:42 (pp) Dan Whittock (L) from David Kimmel, 16:07
Second-period goals: Anthony Sparo (HGP) from Landon Stout, 6:07 (pp)
Third-period goal: Michel Casey (L) from Keenan Schneider, 7:09; Jake Kimmel (L) from Casey, 9:11; Casey (L) unassisted, 15:40 (en); Jake Marek (HGP) from Eric Pohl, 16:19
Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 40, La Salle 24; Saves: Bobby Baehser (HGP) 19; Liam Gross (L) 37