BRSTOL—After an up-and-down season, the La Salle Explorers are ripening like a field full of crops, just as harvest time is drawing near. Evan Golato and James Carpenter scored two goals each as the Explorers held off Holy Ghost Prep 6-5 Monday afternoon at Grundy Arena.
After starting the season by winning just one of its first five games, La Salle stands at 11-8-2 with one regular-season game remaining. The Explorers, who have won their last four starts and six of their last seven, finished Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference play as the regular-season champion with a 6-2 league.
They’ll be seeded first in the conference semifinals, and will face the winner of Thursday’s play-in between Malvern Prep and Hun School on February 22 at Hatfield Ice. Ghost Prep (15-6, 4-2-1-1 in conference) will be the second seed in the playoffs and will take on third-seeded St. Joseph’s Prep in the other semifinal on the same day at the same venue.
Golato scored both his goals in the first period as La Salle took a 2-1 lead. The goals were sandwiched a goal from the Firebirds’ Prep’s Colin Bara.
“We expected a dogfight coming into today,” Golato said. “We’re glad we got away with a win. We just want to keep going game by game, winning and winning. That’s all we want as a team.”
Traffic in front of the La Salle net includes the Explorers’ Will Giordano (#3), and Thomas Doucet (#6) along with Holy Ghost Prep’s Kieran Mulholland (#13) and Zach Pers (#72) Photos by Robert Barnes
Carpenter and Holy Ghost Prep’s Brady Baehser traded goals in the second session before John Seravalli tied the game with 6:53 left in the period. But Matt Giordano answered 43 seconds later with a shot from the high slot to give La Salle the lead for good.
Will Gregorio and Carpenter extended the La Salle lead with third-period goals before Ciaran Chambers scored for the Firebirds with 11:11 left in the game. Kieran Mulholland made it a one-goal game with 29 seconds remaining.
Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside praised the effort of both teams.
“A great APSC game,” he said. “Two great opponents competed to the bitter end.
“I was really happy with how we kept battling back. Nobody wants to chase the game of course, but I was really proud of the effort there.”
Both teams shuffled goaltenders. Jake Rossi started for La Salle, before giving way to Aries Carangi, but later returned before yielding to Carangi once more. Colin Mudrick started in goal for the Firebirds before Jack Unger came on in relief. Mudrick later returned but Unger relieved him again in the third period.”
Golato noted the victory was a true team effort.
“It wasn’t just a performance by one person,” he said. “Every single kid stepped up and had a great game for us to plug away and get the win.”
La Salle 2 2 2—6
Holy Ghost Prep 1 2 2—5
First-period goals: Evan Golato (L) from Ryan Desmond and Declan Kelly, 3:00; Colin Bara (HGP) from Brandon Barger, 12:26; Golato (L) from Will Gregorio, 15:45 (pp)
Second-period goals: James Carpenter (L) from Matt Giordano, 5:07; Brady Baehser (HGP) from Barger, 5:15; John Seravalli (HGP) from Baehser, 13:02; Giordano (L) from Julian Tarsi, 13:45
Third-period goals: Giordano (L) from Michael Zaraycki, 1:49 (pp); Carpenter (L) unassisted, 4:19; Ciaran Chambers (HGP) from Ryan Lippy, 5:49; Kieran Mulholland (HGP) from Mike Holt and Chambers
Shots: La Salle 32, Holy Ghost Prep 18