HAMILTON TOWNSHIP N.J.— The playoff seedings in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference are now set in stone.
The Hun School took care of business Wednesday afternoon with a 2-1 win over Malvern Prep at Ice Land.
Charles Guida scored the deciding goal with 1:44 remaining in the third period.
The win assured the Raiders (9-12, 3-5 in conference play) of a fourth-place regular-season finish. The Friars (7-6, 1-5-0-1 in conference) will finish fifth regardless of the result of their regular-season finale against St. Joseph’s Prep Thursday night.
Hun School will host Malvern Prep Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 in a play-in game, with the winner to advance to the playoff semifinals against the winner of Monday’s game between Holy Ghost Prep and La Salle.
Wednesday was Senior Night at Hun School and appropriately, Raider goaltender Stephen Chen was at his best, making 40 saves. Brandon Novabilski in the Malvern Prep net was outstanding as well, recording 35 saves of his own.
“(Novabilski) played very good as well,” Chen said. “it was tough for us to score.”
Chen had a sense early on that it would be a good day for goaltenders.
“You kind of get a feel at the beginning of the game,” he said. “You get the first couple shots and you kind of know you’re in that zone and you’ve got to kind of focus and keep yourself in there. I think it was a great effort by our defensemen as well, just to help me stand there with the saves and the rebounds. I think it was a huge team effort.”
Stephen Chen at work, making a save in Wednesday’s game (photo by MaxMangigian)
Brendan Marino gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead when he beat Novabilski with a slapshot from between the two circles with 5:03 left in the opening period.
The two netminders were perfect after that until the midway point of the third frame. Both were tested.
“This was what we were used to the first half of the year,” said Hun School coach Ian McNally. “We’re up by one in the third period, how do we close out the game and when? It was nice to be talking about that again.
“Stephen is a huge part of that. He stopped like four breakaways a couple two-on–oh chances. It was certainly nice to see him back in that form.”
Malvern Prep didn’t roll over however. Jimmy Jacobs tied the game 8:47 into the third period off a right-wing, neutral-zone faceoff.
From that point on there was a sense the next goal would decide matters. Guida’s game winner came on a shot from the left point that beat Novabilski inside the right post to the goaltender’s left.
For Malvern Prep, it was another case of ‘Almost but not quite.’
“Hun is a very good, sound defensive team” said Friars’ coach Bill Keenan. “They’re fast, they’re physical, they have two very good goaltenders. I thought both teams played well, but we’ve got to find that way to win.”
Malvern Prep 0 0 1—1
Hun School 1 0 1—2
First-period goal: Brendan Marino (HS) from T.J. Walsh, 11:57
Third-period goals: Jimmy Jacobs (MP) from Aidan Kelly and Steven Getsie, 8:47; Charles Guida (HS) from Eliian Estulin and Ryan Levesque, 15:16
Shots: Malvern Prep 41, Hun School 37; Saves: Brandon Novabilski (MP) 35, Stephen Chen (HS) 40
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