La Salle 3 Portledge School 2

HATFIELD—After a first start, La Salle had to hold on in the stretch. Jack Lindmar’s goal with 9:06 remaining in regulation was the game winner as the Explorers held off Portledge School 3-2 Monday afternoon at Hatfield Ice.

La Salle now stands at 2-4 overall, having won its first two Mid-Atlantic Prep League starts.

Head Coach Wally Muehlbronner is embracing a back-to-basics approach. “That’s what we’re trying to get (the players) to believe in,” he said. “I think we’re starting to do it.”

The Explorers controlled play in the opening period, outshooting the Panthers 9-0 in the early going. Dan Whittock put the hosts in front 6:04 into the period with a goal off an offensive left-wing faceoff. Ryan Desmond made it 2-0 at the 15:48 mark.

Had it not been for the play of Jake Anderson in the Panther net (eight first-period saves), the score might have gotten out of hand.

Instead, the scoreline remained unchanged heading into the third period when Portledge (1-2 overall) came out flying. Eric Kold scored off a La Salle turnover 47 seconds into the final frame to make it a one-goal game and give the Panthers a surge of emotional energy.

For their part, the Explorers focused on sticking to their game plan. 

“I knew, obviously, they were going to come out hard,” Whittock said. Everyone knew that. If we stick to our game plan and with each other, we’ll be fine.”

Lindmar’s goal gave the hosts some breathing room, but the Panthers cut the deficit in half with 3:19 remaining.
Portledge got a big opportunity with 1:51 left in regulation when La Salle’s Chris Wnek was sent to the box for cross checking.

With the ensuing faceoff coming inside the La Salle blue line, Anderson was halfway out of his net. When his team won the draw he headed for the bench, giving the Panthers a six-on-four advantage.

But the Explorers held firm. Goaltender Will Braun made some stops; his best came with 25 seconds to go to help preserve the win.

Whittock notes he and his teammates are starting to get a sense of just what kind of team they are. “I think we know obviously, we might not put up five goals (a game),” he said. “If we stay strong in the defensive zone, cover our guys in front of the net, and everything like that, everything else is just going to click. Our chances will come.”

Portledge School 0 0 2—2

La Salle 2 0 1—3

First-period goals: Dan Whittock (L) from Max Maddalo and Gavin O’ Connell, 6:04; Ryan Desmond (L) from Chase Hannon, 15:48

Third-period goals: Eric Kold (P) unassisted, :47; Jack Lindmar (L) from Charlie Kennedy, 7:54; Terranova (P), assists unavailable 13:41

Shots: Portledge School 29, La Salle 36 Saves: Jake Anderson (P) 33, Will Braun (L) 27

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