HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—There wasn’t much that was flashy about La Salle’s performance Tuesday night. Just three periods of good solid, fundamental hockey. That was more than enough. Three different players scored goals and Aries Carangi pitched a shutout in goal as the Explorers downed Malvern Prep 3-0 in a Class AAA Flyers Cup semifinal at Hatfield Ice.
Top-seeded La Salle (14-9-2) will try for win its 12th Flyers Cup net Tuesday against Holy Ghost Prep (8:00) at Hatfield Ice. Fourth-seeded and two-time defending champion Malvern Prep closed the season at 10-8.
The stars of Tuesday night’s show were the goaltenders. Carangi made 22 saves in the La Salle net but a case could be made that Brandon Novabilski at the other end of the ice was just as impressive. He stopped 40 shots in his final high-school game.
“I’m good buddies with ‘Nova,” Carangi said. ”He played lights out tonight. (La Salle) played really well and helped me get the shutout. I just kind of cleaned up a little bit in front, but they got it done in our own zone.
It was past the midpoint of the second period before the Explorers were able to solve Novalbilski. The goal came of the stick of Evan Golato on a play that originated behind the Friar net. Novabilski made a quality save on Ryan Desmond’s shot from between the circles before Golato put in the rebound.
James Carpenter made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at the 13:43 mark when he tipped in Thomas Doucet’s shot from the right point. The goal came while Malvern Prep’s Caiden Canale was in the box serving a holding penalty.
Meantime, the Friars were trying to find a way to solve the puzzle posed by Carangi. They never succeeded.
“We knew it was going to be a fight coming into this game,” said Malvern Prep coach Bill Keenan. “Both (regular-season games against La Salle this year were tough.
“La Salle is a great team, they’re deep, they’ve got four lines they can turn. For us, I thought this was one of the most hard fought games we’ve played all year. The bounces didn’t go our way. It’s tough to win a game with 22 shots.
Charlie Kennedy put the exclamation point on the win for La Salle when he scored a shorthand goal exactly seven minutes into the final period. The junior noted the Explorers have collectively picked up their game in recent weeks. Tuesday’s win was their ninth in their last 11 games.
“Our team chemistry has gotten really good,” he said. “The boys get along great, we’re a really tight group. We’ve really got our momentum going.”
Malvern Prep 0 0 0‑0
La Salle 0 2 1—3
Second-period goals: Evan Golato (L) from Ryan Desmond and Will Gregorio, 9:47; James Carpenter (L) from Dean Carvalho and Michael Zarzycki, 13:43 (pp)
Third-period goals: Charlie Kennedy (L) unassisted, 7:00
Shots: Malvern Prep 22, La Salle 43; Saves: Brandon Novabilski (MP) 40, Aries Carangi (L) 22