There was an abundance of raw competitive energy on display when Malvern Prep and La Salle took the ice Friday evening. Just not a lot of goals.
Pierre Larocque scored off a neutral-zone faceoff and a La Salle turnover with 5:55 remaining in regulation and Matt Harris added a goal into an empty net in the waning seconds to give the Friars a 2-0 win at Hatfield Ice Arena in the opening game of the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference campaign.
Friday’s game was a rematch off the Friars’ overtime win in the Class 3A Flyers Cup final last April and although some names and faces had changed, the two teams seemingly picked up where they left off.
“We knew La Salle was going to be tough,” said Malvern Prep coach Bill Keenan. “We picked up right where we left off last year in a tough battle.
“We got returning guys, they’ve got returning guys, we knew it would be a tough game and we were up for the challenge.”
Friday’s game soon became a goaltending duel with the Friars’ Anthony Perti and the Explorers’ Aries Carangi squaring off at opposite ends of the ice. Between them, the pair stopped 65 shots.
“You don’t see (a goaltending duel) a lot,” Perti said, “but my guys savored this game, we knew it was going to be a tough game; expectations were met.
“You’re going to get the bounce if you play the right way.”
Keenan, who saw his team improve to 2-1 overall, noted both goaltenders came up big when their best was needed. “Anthony has been great,” he said. “He was the MVP last year. He’s looked good so far this year, and a credit to La Salle’s goalie. We peppered him with shots and he came up big a lot.”
La Salle head coach Wally Muehlbronner noted that his team paid a high price for a mistake. “We turned it over and they capitalized like they certainly can,” he said “They’re a good team. But for a first game, I think it was probably good for both teams.”
Muehlbronner was asked what adjustments are required of players at the APAC level, whether they are new to the lineup entirely, or assuming new roles.
“They do play on good teams outside of La Salle so they do play at a pretty good pace,” he said. “The physical side shift to shift could be a little different, so I think that’s going to be an adjustment they’re going to have to get used to, but all in all, I think the young guys did a pretty sound job.”
Malvern Prep 0 0 2—2
La Salle 0 0 0—0
Third-period goals: Pierre Larocque (MP) from Matt Harris, 11:05; Harris (MP) unassisted (empty net), 16:47
Shots Malvern Prep 32, La Salle 35: Saves: Anthony Perti (MP) 35, Aries Carangi (L) 30
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