HATFIELD— The supporting cast stepped into feature roles for La Salle on Wednesday afternoon. With several players sidelined because of suspensions and injury, the Explorers had to juggle the lineup. The revisions proved fruitful. La Salle scored three times in the third period to post a 3-1 win over St. Joseph’s Prep at Hatfield Ice.
The Explorers concluded the regular season at 7-7-1 and the APAC campaign in second place at 4-3-0-1. The Hawks will head to the post season at 8-7-1 and 3-3-0-2 in the APAC; they’re slotted third in the conference at present.
La Salle senior Gavin O’Connell said it was a game when some of LaSalle’s less-heralded performers needed to step up and they did. “Especially since we were missing some of our key players,” he said. “We needed the guys that don’t get as many minutes to step up and everyone was chipping in. Everyone was getting minutes they don’t usually get.”
The only goal of the first two periods was the ultimate bad goal. The Hawks’ Tristan Winata moved through center ice, moved to his left and sent a puck in the direction of the La Salle net from the left face-off circle’ it ended up in the back of the net, behind Explorer netminder Aries Carangi.
The Hawks had the better of the opening period, outshooting their foes 15-6. Momentum started shifting La Salle’s way in second period but the Hawks still led 1-0 as the teams headed to their dressing rooms at period’s end.
“I thought we played really well in the second,” said La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner. “We just couldn’t score any goals. But we had good opportunities, we were playing the way we’ve been playing of late down low, working hard and creating some opportunities.”
Keenan Schneider broke the La Salle scoring drought 70 seconds into the third period off a Hawk turnover. Jackson Lindmar poked in a loose puck at 8:41 to put La Salle in front for good. Patrick Brace finished the scoring at 12:19.
St. Joseph’s Prep coach David Giacomin felt the Explorers had more energy in the third period. “Whether our kids did not have their legs, or whether they didn’t feel the need to compete, obviously, La Salle wanted it more,” he said. “Those kids really busted their butts, they played great.”
O’Connell says the Explorers have been getting contributions from a variety of sources in recent weeks. “I think we’ve seen guys who we haven’t seen much of before,” he said. “Maybe they’ve been playing a lot more and we’ve been seeing what they can truly do. “So we’ve definitely had more depth than we thought and we can do a lot more things.”
Tristan Winata scores the game’s first goal
St. Joseph’s Prep 1 0 0—1
La Salle 0 0 3—3
First-period goal: Tristan Winata (SJP) unassisted, 7:16
Third-period goals: Keenan Schneider (L) from Evan Golato, 1:10; Jackson Lindmar (L) from Gavin O’Connell, 8:41; Patrick Brace (L) from Schneider, 12:19
Shots: St. Joseph’s Prep 29, La Salle 37; Saves: Rocco Bruno (SJP) 34, Aries Carangi (L) 28
Video provided by Erin Schneider