HAVERFORD TOWNSHIP—Despite the winter chill outside, the air inside the Skatium was crackling with intensity Friday. That’s a common occurrence when La Salle and St. Joseph’s Prep square off, whatever the sport.
Keenan Schneider’s power-play goal 6:12 into the first period proved decisive as the Explorers prevailed 2-1 in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference matchup.
The win lifted La Salle to 5-4 overall and 2-2 in APAC play. The Hawks fell to 4-5-1 and 1-2-0-2.
La Salle, which has won four of its last five games, jumped in front when the Hawks coughed up the puck in front of and just to the left of their own net. Patrick Brace was one hand to coral the puck and put it behind Hawk netminder Rocco Bruno just 93 seconds after the opening faceoff.
Schneider’s goal came off a faceoff in the circle to Bruno’s right.
St. Joseph’s Prep countered when Nick Storti beat La Salle goaltender Aries Carangi from the left side of the slot 6:12 into the second session.
That was the last goal of the night but both teams maintained a high level of intensity and physicality the rest of the way. Through the first two-and-a-half periods the referees called 11 minor penalties, six against the Explorers, five against the Hawks, but passed on incidents that might have been whistled down on another occasion.
Emotions boiled over with 1:28 remaining in the third period and La Salle trying to protect its one-goal lead.
Eight players, four from each team, were accessed a total of 72 penalty minutes. Two La Salle players Carangi and forward Tim Whittock, were given game misconducts for receiving four penalties during the game and will serve one-game suspensions as a result.
Muehlbronner also faces a suspension; his team was accessed 16 penalties.
When all the penalties were sorted out, St. Joseph’s Prep had a power play. Coach David Giacomin pulled Bruno at that point, giving his team a six-skaters-to-four advantage for the duration of the game but the Hawks couldn’t score.
Will Braun took over for Carangi in the La Salle goal. His only warmup came while the officials were sorting out the penalties but he made two saves over the final 88 seconds of playing time.
“I was happy that we hung on,” Muehlbronner said. “We had a lot to overcome in the third period.”
Muehlbronner made his thoughts clear regarding the late-game incident. “In my eyes, that’s very preventable, what took place,” he said. “It’s not what I expect.
“I don’t think the lack of discipline came on our part. It was a disgrace, what happened at the end. I expect my guys to play hard, play the game the right way. “Thankfully we did that in the first period and that’s what got us through.”
Giacomin noted the teams took turns dictating the flow of the game.
“It was up and down,” he said. “They had a really good first period, I think we played really good in the third period, and that made for an interesting third period, at least the first part of it.”
Giacomin indicated the rivalry between the two schools contributed to the altercation.
“You don’t like to see it,” he said, “but you understand why it happens You’ve just got to hopefully teach the kids from this point on that that’s not the way we play, period. Both teams.”
La Salle 2 0 0—2
St. Joseph’s Prep 0 1 0—1
First-period goals: Patrick Brace (L) unassisted, 1:33; Keenan Schneider (L) from Charlie Kennedy, 6:12 (pp)
Second-period goals: Nick Storti (SJP) from Joey Samango and Dante Passio, :49
Shots: La Salle 38, St. Joseph’s Prep 34; Saves: Aries Carangi (L) 31 and Will Braun (L) 2, Rocco Bruno (SJP) 36
For more information about La Salle College High School CLICK HERE
For information about St. Joseph’s Prep CLICK HERE