HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J.—The momentum of a hockey game can change in the blink of an eye. So it was at Iceland Tuesday afternoon. Elian Estulin and Seth Kaplan scored third-period goals to propel The Hun School past La Salle 2-1 in a tightly contested Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference matchup.
The win lifted the Raiders (7-6 overall) to 2-2-0-1 in APAC play.
The Explorers fell to 6-7 overall and 3-3-0-1 in conference.
La Salle’s Keenan Schneider scored the afternoon’s first goal on a forehander from the low slot with 4:25 left in the second period.
That was all the two teams could manage through the first two period against a pair of hot goaltenders, the Explorers’ Aries Carangi and the Raiders’ Stephen Chen, although the Raiders had a goal disallowed early in the period because, according to Hun School coach Ian McNally, the whistle blew before the puck crossed the goal line.
Early in the third fame however, the flow of the game shifted rather abruptly in Hun School’s direction. The sequence began at the 4:38 mark when La Salle’s Ryan Warner was flagged for slashing. Just 17 seconds later, Max Maddalo was sent off for cross checking, giving the Raiders an extended two-man advantage. Estulin tied the game at the 5:12 mark with a shot from the right side of the slot.
The Raiders had the momentum from that moment forward. Seth Kaplan scored the winning goal on a partial breakaway with 3:37 remaining in regulation.
“(The coaches) trust in our power-play unit,” Estulin said. “I was on the right side and got a five-hole goal We celebrated, then we got back out and got one.”
Seth Kaplan scores the winning goal
La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner cited the back-to-back penalties as the key point in the game.
“We talked going into the third about being smart and staying out of the box,” he said. “We took a couple penalties, it was unfortunate. I thought we played well.
“A couple of the guys that were in the box were guys that normally kill for us as well.”
Muehlbronner was quick to credit the Raiders for their effort.
“I thought Hun played well,” he said. “They’re a tough team to play against. They’re and they had some good opportunities.”
McNally noted there was sniping in the Raider locker room while the ice was being resurfaced before the third period but was glad his players maintained their composure.
“No one could get over the non-call goal he said. “I was worried we weren’t going to be able to regroup. And we did.”
The win keeps the Raiders mathematically alive in the quest for the APAC regular-season title. They can finish in first place alone if they win their three remaining conference games in regulation. Estulin however says he and his teammates are taking things one step at a time and not worrying about what the standings look like.
“We’re just going to play our game,” he said. “We’re not going to worry about who is 5-0 or who is 3-2. We’re just going to play our game.”
Tempers flared at the close of regulation when the teams scuffled behind the Hun School net. Maddalo, his teammate Chase Hannon, and Hun School’s Nick Dimatos and Mark Gall were accessed a total of 50 minutes in penalties.
La Salle 0 1 0—1
Hun School 0 0 2—2
Second-period goal: Keenan Schneider (L) from Tim Whittock and Chase Hannon, 12:25
Third-period goals: Elian Estulin (HS) from Riley Frost and Nick Dimatos, 5:18; Seth Kaplan (HS) from Dimatos and Frost, 13:23
Shots La Salle 39, Hun School 30; Saves: Aries Carangi (L) 28, Stephen Chen (HS) 38
For more information about La Salle College High School CLICK HERE
For more information about The Hun School CLICK HERE