BRISTOL—Experience paid off for Holy Ghost Prep Friday afternoon. Midway through the third period, the Firebirds found itself backed into a corner, down by a goal and facing a two-man disadvantage for a full two minutes.
But they weathered the storm, killing off the twin penalties before goals from Kieran Mulholland and Shaun Moore propelled them to a 6-4 win over The Hun School at Grundy Arena.
The win lifted the Firebirds into first place in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference with a 3-0-0-1 conference mark (8-2 overall). The Raiders dropped to 4-6 overall (1-3 in conference).
The Firebirds controlled play for most of the afternoon but after two periods had little to show for it; they held a 26-8 advantage in shots but thanks to Stephen Chen’s work in the Hun School net the teams were deadlocked at 2-2.
“The mindset was just overcoming adversity,” Moore said. “It was a tie game (but we thought we should have been up early in the game. We thought we needed to pick it up big time going into the third period.”
Brandon Barger gave the hosts the lead with a power-play goal 1:51 into the final session but Ryan Levesque answered for Hun School just 57 seconds later.
The key point in the period and the game came with 8:56 remaining in regulation and Hun School holding a 4-3 lead. In an instant, the Firebirds found themselves two men short. Barger was called for roughing while at the same time Patrick Slook was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Raiders an extended five-on-three power play.
But that disappeared when Scott Richmond was called for tripping with 7:27 left in regulation and the Firebirds were able to weather the remainder of the sequence. Twenty-two seconds after the twin penalties expired, Mulholland scored the tying goal. Moore delivered the game winner with 3:24 remaining. Afterward, he credited his teammates for how they dealt with adversity.
“That’s huge,” Moore said. That’s getting our guys ready for that big moment.”
Hun School coach Ian McNally viewed the sequence as the key to the game.
“We had a five-on-three for a minute and a half,” he said, “and all of a sudden, when we take a penalty and we’re shorthanded, all the guys you want out there are tired. It was pretty tough to make it through the last 10 minutes.”
The Raiders were without forwards Elain Estulin and Brendan Marino, forcing several players to play out of position.
“Unfortunately guys were in positions that they don’t normally find themselves,” McNally said. “(Holy Ghost Prep) moved the puck around very well, they find the open guy, and that definitely hurt us. We could have used a coupled more legs.”
Holy Ghost Prep’s John Seravalli assisted on three of his team’s goals, including the game winner. He noted his teammates’ efforts to solve Chen eventually paid off with the four third-period goals.
“We had to get pucks low,” he said. “Try to test him, go side to side. And luckily, we got a quick goal from (Barger). It was difficult, a little bit, but we got to him.”
Ice Chips—Chen still made 32 saves; the Firebirds enjoyed a 38-13 shot advantage. Seravalli’s father John filled in for Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside who missed the game due to illness.
Hun School 1 1 2—4
Holy Ghost Prep 1 1 4—6
First-period goals: Logan Stoudt (HGP) from Brady Baehser, 9:19 (sh); Scott Richmond (HS) from Vincent Gregoire and Ryan Levesque, 14:07 (pp)
Second-period goals: Shaun Moore (HGP) from John Seravalli and Stout, :47 (pp); Josh Sosner (HS) from Levesque, 2:04
Third-period goals: Brandon Barger (HGP) from Patrick Slook, 1:51 (pp); Levesque (HS) from Justin Laplante and Mark Gall, 2:48; Levesque (HS) from Laplante and Richmond, 5:32 (pp); Kieran Mulholland (HGP) from Stout and Seravalli, 10:26 (pp); Moore (HGP) from Seravalli and Baehser, 13:36 (pp); Slook (HGP) unassisted, 16:02 (en)
Shots: Hun School 13, Holy Ghost Prep 38; Saves: Stephen Chen (HS) 32, Colin Mudrick (HGP) 9
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For More about Holy Ghost Prep CLICK HERE