LaSalle 6, Holy Ghost Prep 3

By Rick Woelfel 

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP— All season long, LaSalle has shown the ability to score in bunches. That talent was on display Wednesday afternoon against Holy Ghost Prep in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference championship game. The Explorers scored four second-period goals in a span of 6 minutes, 7 seconds and went on to a 5-2 win over the Firebirds to claim the first-ever Founders Cup in front of an energized audience at Hatfield Ice.

“I’m feeling really excited right now,” said Brandon Leer, one of LaSalle’s captains. “The past four years I’ve been here, this is my first championship … It feels really good right now.”

The two teams played the first period on even terms.

The Firebirds (8-13) started the scoring at the 3:12 mark when Alex D’Angelo sent a pass down the middle of the ice from deep on the left side of his own zone. E.J. Pohl collected the puck in full stride and went up the middle to beat LaSalle goaltender Aidan McCabe.

Nathan Benner tied the game for the Explorers (20-6) with two seconds left in the opening session from midway between the faceoff circles.

Holy Ghost Prep took a 2-1 lead 5:59 into the second period when he tipped in D’Angelo’s shot from the high slot.

But then the Explorers exploded. Fabrizzio Mazzarelli, Sam Lipkin, Jan Olenginski, and Daniel Sambucco all scored goals during the barrage and LaSalle found itself up 5-2 with 1:23 left in the period.

“I think we started clicking a little bit better,” said LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner. “I don’t know that all the lines were on the same page to start with but once we started clicking, we were going to the net hard.”

That five different players scored the Explorers’ first five goals was a testament to the team’s scoring balance. “I think we’re fortunate,” Muehlbronner said, “and they definitely stepped up tonight. It was good to see.”

D’Angelo scored a power-play goal for the Firebirds with 6:39 left in regulation but Benner answered for the Explorers 61 seconds later.

Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside lamented his team’s inability to sustain its early momentum. “I thought we played well the first and third periods,” he said, “and that stretch in the second period our wheels fell off a little bit and they took advantage of our mistakes. Credit to them, Wally and the boys. “But we’ll see them again.”

The Flyers Cup is still ahead but the APAC officially completed its inaugural season on Wednesday. Leer noted the caliber of play was first rate all year season long. “Every team out here (including Malvern Prep and St. Joseph’s Prep was outstanding,” he said. “There was not one game where we felt as if we completely dominate the opponent. Each game we had was very close and then either we outworked the opponent and made the gap grow bigger or they backed down, which made our job a lot easier.”


Notes: LaSalle had a 34-26 edge in shots. All four APAC teams will compete in the Class AAA Flyers Cup. LaSalle is the top seed and had a first-round bye. Malvern Prep is seeded second, Holy Ghost Prep fifth, and St. Joseph’s Prep sixth.


Holy Ghost Prep 1 1 1—3

LaSalle 1 4 1—6


First-period goals: EJ. Pohl (HGP) from Alex D’Angelo, 3:12; Nathan Benner (L) from Michael Casey and Sam Lipkin, 15:58.

Second-period goals: Evan Mudrick (HGP) from D’Angelo, 5:59; Fabrizzio Mazzarelli (L) from Jan Olenginski and Lipkin, 8:30 (pp); Lipkin (L) from Casey and Zach Baker, 9:10 (sh); Olenginski (L) unassisted, 11:06; Daniel Sambuco (L) unassisted, 14:37.

Third-period goals: Alex D’Angelo (HGP) from Eric Mark and Midrick, 9:21 (pp); Benner L) from Colin Kreisler and Ryan Ferry, 10:22.

Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 26, LaSalle 34; Saves: Sean Joyce (HGP) 28, Aidan McCabe (L) 23

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Brandon Leer Savoring His Experiences at LaSalle

Brandon Leer’s time at LaSalle College High School has been a period of growth, both on and off the ice.

A senior from Schwenksville. Pa. Leer is in his second varsity season with the Explorers. He’s scored two goal and added an assist in his team’s first two Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference games while working primarily at right wing.

LaSalle coach Wally Muehlbronner says Leer has worked hard to earn his place on the roster. “He’s worked very hard to get a regular shift,” he said and when gets out there think he does a good job keeping it simple.”
Leer says he’s learned a lot about hokey during his time at LaSalle. “It’s definitely been something I’ve never experienced before,” he said. “The coaches here teach you in a way like most kids can never experience. It’s truly awesome, the skill level at any practice.

“We only have one practice a week and how these coaches are able to bring us together and develop our skills is incredible. It’s really a great experience.”

Leer makes the commute to LaSalle each day from his home in Schwenksville. He says the logistics aren’t as challenging as might be expected. “The driving really isn’t that bad. It’s like 30 minutes in the morning, taking the turnpike, and there are three kids that live within like five minutes of me so we carpool.”
Leer has enjoyed the experiences LaSalle has to offer. He chose the school in large measure because of its high academic and athletic standards “The academics, the extracurriculars like hockey it’s all top level,” he said. You’re going to be getting the best out of each thing you’re involved in so there’s really nothing that can match that around me.”

Leer says that meeting the academic demands of the school while also playing a sport necessitates developing time-management skills.

“You definitely can’t be lax,” he said You always have to be sure you’re getting your homework done in free periods and stuff like that; make sure you’re not procrastinating or falling behind, just staying on top of all your schoolwork. Just to make sure you’re doing well in the classroom as well as outside of the classroom.

Freshman year, it was a bit rough but then sophomore year it was a lot easier and it’s been a lot easier ever since.”


LaSalle Beats St. Joseph’s Prep 5-0

By Rick Woelfel

The pieces fit together quite nicely for LaSalle Wednesday afternoon. Five different players scored goals as the Explorers downed defending Class 3A Flyers Cup champion St. Joseph’s Prep 5-0 in an APAC game at Hatfield Ice.
The win was LaSalle’s fourth without defeat this season and its second straight in the APAC.
“All four lines played pretty well,” said LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner. The ‘D’ played pretty well. We overcommitted at times, but we were definitely happy with the result.”
LaSalle took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from Michael Casey at 9:32 and Dan Sambuco at 14:52.
The pair joined Sam Lipkin on a line that collected nine points against Holy Ghost Prep last Friday night in the Explorers’ league opener. The trio collected five points on Wednesday
“They were all together last year,” said Explorer senior Brandon Leer. “They play club together so they’re on the ice together all the time. Their chemistry has been building up since last year. This year, everything has worked out.”
Despite the score, the teams battled on even terms through most of the opening frame. The second period was scoreless but by the time it concluded the Explorers were definitely in command.
In the third frame, St. Joseph’s coach David Giacomin, in search of an offensive spark, shuffled his lines and moved some defensemen up front.
The Explorers responded by scoring three times with the goals coming from Ryan Ferry, Nathan Benner, and Leer.
For the Hawks, who were opening their season on Wednesday, it was an opportunity to find out about themselves.
“They’re well-disciplined,” Giacomin said of the Explorers. “They play fast, It gives us the experience to be able to go back and say ‘If we want to compete, this is what we have to do in order to get better. I always like playing better teams in the beginning of the year rather than playing weak opponents”
LaSalle outshot the Hawks 41-21 but Giacomin was pleased that his troops battled to the final buzzer. “They didn’t quit and they hustled,” he said. “For me, there are some skill things we have to work on and can certainly do better, puck movement and other stuff, but the hustle across our three lines … those kids didn’t quite and they kept hustling their butts off.”
Aidan McCabe earned the shutout in goal for the Explorers.

St. Joseph’s Prep 0 0 0—0
LaSalle 2 0 3—5
First-period goals: Michael Casey (L) from Sam Lipkin and Dan Sambuco, 9:32; Sambuco (L) from Lipkin, 14:52.
Second-period goals: None
Third-period goals: Ryan Ferry (L) from Brandon Leer and Andrew Budzynski, 4:40; Nathan Benner (L) from Collin Kreisler and Zach Baker, 7:16; Leer (L) from Sean Keaveney, 9:00.
Shots: St. Joseph’s Prep 21, LaSalle 41 Saves: Dan McGill (SJP) 36, Aidan McCabe (L) 21.




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