Malvern Prep 4 La Salle 1

WEST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP—Their opportunity was delayed 12 long months. Which made their accomplishment all the more satisfying.

Malvern Prep scored twice in the first period and went on to a 4-1 win over La Salle Wednesday night to claim the Founders Cup, symbolic of the championship of the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference, at Ice Line.

An enthusiastic audience was on hand to see the Friars (14-3) claim the championship they did not have the opportunity to play for last season because of Covid issues; the scheduled conference final between the Friars and the Explorers was never contested.

Even after Malvern Prep went on to win the Class AAA Flyers Cup and state titles, there was something missing from a glittering resume. Wednesday’s result perhaps helped fill that void.

“It’s super satisfying,” said Friars captain Matt Harris. “We don’t have to share that trophy any more and we can bring it back to Warren Avenue and not have to split it between two teams.

“It’s good to have a full season and get what we deserve. We put in the work on Mondays in practice and brought it back to Warren Ave.

The Friars jumped in front 2:47 into the first period. Brady Doyle launched a knuckleball from just inside the blue line that caught the top right corner of the net.  According to LaSalle coach Wally Muehlbronner, goaltender Aries Carangi was screened on the play and never saw the puck.

Teague Murray hit the same corner of the net on Carangi’s glove side to make it a 2-0 game at the 13:47.From that moment on, La Salle (8-8-1) was trying to climb a very steep hill.

“They had a lot of jump,” Muehlbronner said of the Friars. “They scored some really nice goals on some really good shots. We did not have a whole lot of jump tonight. We did not give them the game that I was hoping we were going to.”

Muehlbronner said his team needed to respond of Larocque’s early goal, but didn’t. “We needed a spark after we went down 1-zip,” said,. We didn’t get it.We had a couple opportunities around the net, but nothing that was really a strong opportunity.”

At period’s end, Muehlbronner made a goaltender change, with Will Braun replacing Carangi.

Harris, the APAC’s scoring champion, extended the Friars’ lead 12:10 into the second period on what was most certainly one of the most picturesque goals of the season. The senior made a move down the right wing, cut to his left and split two defenders before beating Braun.

La Salle got on the scoreboard  on a goal from Patrick Brace 9:12 into the final period before Harris scored into an imply net with 1:47 remaining.

Brace’s goal was the only blemish on Anthony Perti’s record, the Malvern Prep netminder stopped 37 shots.

“We wanted to come in and win (the Founders Cup) for ourselves,” he said. “Keep it for ourselves and ourselves only.”

Perti said Wednesday’s game was reminiscent of last year’s Flyers Cup final, which saw the Friars top the Explorers. “Same type of game, same type of atmosphere,” he said. “Honestly I was pretty calm, didn’t think too much of it. Just another game.”

La Salle 0 0 1—1

Malvern Prep 2 1 1—4

First-period goals: Brady Doyle (MP) unassisted, 2:47; Teague Murray (MP) from Gavin Wilson, 13:47

Second-period goal: Matt Harris (MP) from Jack Shaver, 12:10

Third-period goals: Patrick Brace (L) from Ryan Desmond, 9:12; Harris (MP) from Quinn Dougherty, 15:13 (en)

Shots: La Salle 38, Malvern Prep 40; Saves: Aries Carangi (L) 12 and Will Braun (L) 24;  Anthony Perti (MP) 37

The game’s first goal

Matt Harris extended Malvern Prep’s lead in the second period.

Patrick Brace scores for La Salle

Video courtesy of Erin Schneider

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Malvern Prep Wins APAC Opener 2-0 Over La Salle

There was an abundance of raw competitive energy on display when Malvern Prep and La Salle took the ice Friday evening. Just not a lot of goals.

Pierre Larocque scored off a neutral-zone faceoff and a La Salle turnover with 5:55 remaining in regulation and Matt Harris added a goal into an empty net in the waning seconds to give the Friars a 2-0 win at Hatfield Ice Arena in the opening game of the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference campaign.

Friday’s game was a rematch off the Friars’ overtime win in the Class 3A Flyers Cup final last April and although some names and faces had changed, the two teams seemingly picked up where they left off.

“We knew La Salle was going to be tough,” said Malvern Prep coach Bill Keenan. “We picked up right where we left off last year in a tough battle.

“We got returning guys, they’ve got returning guys, we knew it would be a tough game and we were up for the challenge.”

Friday’s game soon became a goaltending duel with the Friars’ Anthony Perti and the Explorers’ Aries Carangi squaring off at opposite ends of the ice. Between them, the pair stopped 65 shots.

“You don’t see (a goaltending duel) a lot,” Perti said, “but my guys savored this game, we knew it was going to be a tough game; expectations were met.

“You’re going to get the bounce if you play the right way.”

Keenan, who saw his team improve to 2-1 overall, noted both goaltenders came up big when their best was needed. “Anthony has been great,” he said. “He was the MVP last year. He’s looked good so far this year, and a credit to La Salle’s goalie. We peppered him with shots and he came up big a lot.”

La Salle head coach Wally Muehlbronner noted that his team paid a high price for a mistake. “We turned it over and they capitalized like they certainly can,” he said “They’re a good team. But for a first game, I think it was probably good for both teams.”

Muehlbronner was asked what adjustments are required of players at the APAC level, whether they are new to the lineup entirely, or assuming new roles.

“They do play on good teams outside of La Salle so they do play at a pretty good pace,” he said. “The physical side shift to shift could be a little different, so I think that’s going to be an adjustment they’re going to have to get used to, but all in all, I think the young guys did a pretty sound job.”

Malvern Prep (in blue) and La Salle open the APAC conference schedule

Malvern Prep 0 0 2—2

La Salle 0 0 0—0

Third-period goals: Pierre Larocque (MP) from Matt Harris, 11:05; Harris (MP) unassisted (empty net), 16:47

Shots Malvern Prep 32, La Salle 35: Saves: Anthony Perti (MP) 35, Aries Carangi (L) 30

To learn more about Malvern Prep CLICK HERE

To learn more about La Salle CLICK HERE

Malvern Prep 4, La Salle 0

HATFIELD— Malvern Prep made a statement Wednesday afternoon. And the rest of the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference is sure to notice.

Jack Constabile delivered a hat trick and Anthony Perti pitched a shutout in goal as the Friars prevailed over La Salle 4-0 at Hatfield Ice. It was Malvern Prep’s fourth win of the season without a blemish but Wednesday’s game was its first in conference play and the win over the two-time defending APAC champion Explorers served notice the Friars will be a team to be reckoned with.

Perti made 31 saves in goal, with a half dozen falling into the ‘Extremely Difficult’ category. “I wanted to come out out and prove that we are a good team,” he said,

Prior to Wednesday, Malvern Prep played three non-league games against teams from the InterCounty League, albeit teams classified below the AAA level. Perti spoke to the importance of the Friars stepping up in their conference opener.

“It can’t be (overstated),” he said. “The game we played today, I don’t think it was even the best we’ve played. So, we still have more to prove, and honestly, out goal is to win the Flyers Cup, so this is one step in the right direction.”

Malvern Prep’s Chris Blango (l) and La Salle’s Jake Armstrong battle in Monday’s game.

Jeremy Jacobs gave his team a 1-0 lead 3:51 into the opening period when he made a solo run down the left wing and beat La Salle netminder Aries Carangi. Constabile made it a 2-0 game when he tipped in Chris Blango’s blast from the high slot with 38 seconds left in the period during a Malvern Prep power play.

Constabile added two additional goals not quite four minutes apart late in the second period.
Blango, a defenseman and his team’s captain, has been experiencing the satisfaction of merely being on the ice in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It feels awesome,” he said. “My senior year and all the other seniors (on the Malvern Prep roster) and all the other schools. It feels great just to play, to be able to compete. And to try to win a Flyers Cup.”

In addition to being the two-time defending APAC champion, La Salle is the reigning Class AAA Flyers Cup and state champion. But the Explorers have dropped their first two starts, both in APAC play and in 96 minutes of hockey have scored just three goals.

Veteran coach Wally Muehlbronner is looking for answers. “Not as much progress as I was hoping for since last week’s game (a Friday loss to Holy Ghost Prep,” he said. “We’ve got to get better playing together. I don’t think we’re playing that well together.”

Muehlbronner said his team us still trying to define itself. “Right now it’s kind of about forming an identity,” he said, “getting the guys to figure out who the leaders are going to be and then filling in the roles so the guys can follow along and follow their lead.”

• Between them, the Friars (eight) and La Salle (11) have won Flyers Cups. The Friars won five straight from 2001-‘05, a record for Class AAA.

Malvern Prep 2 2 0—4
La Salle 0 0 0—0
First-period goals: Jeremy Jacobs (MP) from Pierre Larocque, 3:51; Jack Constabile (MP) rom Matt Harris and Chris Blango, 15:22 (pp).
Second-period goals: Contabile (MP) from Quinn Dougherty and Ryan Sambuco, 10:48; Constabile (MP) from Dougherty and Harris, 14:43.
Shots: Malvern Prep 28, La Salle 31; Saves: Anthony Perti (MP) 31, Aries Carangi (L) 24