Holy Ghost Prep 3, La Salle 1

A fast start proved decisive for Holy Ghost Prep Wednesday afternoon. The Firebirds scored twice before the game was six minutes old and went on to  a 3-1 win over La Salle in an APAC encounter at Hatfield Ice Arena.

Landon Stout beat La Salle netminder Will Braun just 41 seconds after the opening faceoff off a dash down the right wing, and Sean Marshall added a power-play goal at the 5:32 mark as Holy Ghost Prep won its second straight start and its conference opener.

Coach Gump Whiteside appreciated his team’s energy level, particularly in the first period.

“I thought we came out with a good start,” he said. “Any time you play La Salle, you’ve got to be on your toes.”

La Salle (0-2 overall and in the APAC) cut the deficit in half when Matthew Conforti scored just 12 seconds into the middle period. It was the Explorers first goal of the season and seemed to give them an energy boost; La Salle outshot the Firebirds 22-12 over the finals 34 minutes, but couldn’t pocket another goal, thanks in large part to the work of Firebird  goaltender Jason Soule. The senior and first-year starter finished with 34 saves.

“Jay was huge for us,” Whiteside said. “ He’s playing really well and the kids really rally around him.”

Marshall finished the scoring with an empty-net goal with 15 seconds remaining in the final period. “We said in the the locker room before the game ‘We’ve got to come out strong,’” he said. “It’s a great team on the other side. I knew we had to come out strong, and we did. We  put it too them in the first couple minutes and scored two quick. 

“We lost our momentum a little bit but we got it back. We battled in the third period and never gave up.”

Despite the final result, La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner took an abundance of positives away from the encounter.

“I thought it was a good game,” he said. “After we gave up two, we settled in pretty well.

“I think Will played a great game after he settled down a little bit, and our second and third period, I thought we played really well.

“We’ve got to find a way to start scoring some goals.”

Marshall noted the game was the latest in a long strong of close encounters between the Firebirds and the Explorers. “Both teams are good every year,” he said, “A lot of people on both teams are seniors. When they graduate, new people come in. They battle every game.”

Prior to the opening face-off, the Holy Ghost Prep players presented their counterparts at La Salle a memorial puck in honor of La Salle student-athlete Blake Barklage.

Holy Ghost Prep 2 0 1—3

La Salle 0 1 0—1

First-period goals: Landon Stout (HGP) from Shaun Moore, :41; Sean Marshall (HGP) from Brady Baehser, 5:32 (pp)

Second-period goal: Matthew Conforti (L) from Patrick Brace, :12

Third—period goal: Marshall (HGP) from Baehser, 16:45 (en)

Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 25, La Salle 35; Saves: Jason Soule (HGP) 34, Will Braun (L) 22

La Salle and Holy Ghost Prep begin Wednesday’s third period

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