LaSalle Win Class AAA State Title

By Rick Woelfel

Sam Lipkin and Michael Casey combined for five goals as LaSalle defeated North Allegheny 6-3 Saturday afternoon to win the Class AAA Pennsylvania Cup at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh.

Daniel Sambuco scored a goal and added three assists as LaSalle won its sixth state championship, scoring three times in the third period to do it.

LaSalle’s top line of Lipkin, Casey, and Sambuco, the Explorers’ top line all season, accounted for just all six goals but four of the team’s five assists.

“The Casey, Lipkin, Sambuco line was clutch again,” said LaSalle coach Wally Muehlbronner.

Lipkin gave the Explorers (23-6) the lead just 20 seconds into the opening period on his team’s first shot of the game. Tyler Putnam tied the game for the Tigers 8:50 into the opening frame but Casey answered back just 28 seconds later to give LaSalle a 2-1 lead after one period.

Casey scored his second goal of the game at the 3:24 mark of the second period to give LaSalle a 3-1 lead but Aaron Miller scored twice for North Allegheny in a span of 2 minutes, 10 seconds to tie the game. His second goal came on a breakaway off a LaSalle turnover in the neutral zone to make it a 3-3 game with 1:40 left in the second period.

At the start of the third period, LaSalle picked up its intensity level. ““The start of the third period was key,”  Muehlbronner said. “We came out hard and confident. We played a simple game in the third period. And (goaltender Aidan) McCabe was solid.”

Lipkin’s shorthanded goal at 7:39 of the period proved to be the game winner. It came while Sambuco was in the box serving a cross-checking penalty. The Tigers coughed up the puck behind their own net and Sambcuco was on hand to score on wraparound.

The sophomore completed his hat trick by scoring into an empty net with 1:07 left before Sambuco did the same thing with 18 seconds remaining.

“I’m very proud of the boys,” Muehlbronner said. “We battled hard the past three weeks (through the Flyers Cup tournament) and showed a lot of character when facing adversity.

“I’m very happy for all the players, especially our four seniors (Zach Baker, Brandon Leer, Sean Keaveney, Bryan Evans).


Notes: LaSalle’s previous state titles came in 1998, 2008, ’09, 2012, and 2015 …LaSalle’s six Class AAA Titles put it second on the all-time list in that class, behind Meadville, which has won seven … The Tigers won a state title of their own in 2007 … In Saturday’s other Pennsylvania Cup games, West Chester Rustin won a record sixth consecutive Class A title 11-3 over Montour. Pine Richland defeated Downingtown East 3-0 in the Class AA final.

LaSalle 2 1 3—6

North Allegheny 1 2 0—3

First-period goals: Sam Lipkin (L) from Daniel Sambuco, :20; Tyler Putnam (NA) unassisted, 8:30; Michael Casey (L) from Lipkin and Sambuco, 8:58.

Second-period goals: Casey (L) from Sambuco, 3:24; Aaron Miller (NA) from Haden Shimko, 13:10; Miller (NA) from Tyler Lamark and Luke Turkovich, 15:20.

Third-period goals: Lipkin (L) unassisted, 7:39, (sh); Lipkin (L) from Zach Baker, 15:53 (en); Sambuco (L) unassisted, 16:42 (en).

Shots: LaSalle 46, North Allegheny 34; saves: Aidan McCabe (L) 31, Rich Karapandi (NA) 40.

When we’re not covering high school hockey, we’re providing a full line of writing services. Contact us HERE  and let us help you publicize your upcoming event, your team, your conference or league.

We also provide a wide range  of voice services; narrations, commercials, documentaries,  telephone  message greetings, plus public address and other voice work. E-mail us for more information.


The Grundy Skate Shop is a full-service hockey pro shop inside the Grundy Arena, offering a great selection of equipment, brands and various services.  We do a range of repairs as well as offer custom hockey jerseys. We recently celebrated our 5th year at the shop but owner, Bill Keyser, has over 25 years experience in the industry and specializes in skate sharpening, including profiling. Please visit our Facebook page or stop in and check us out!





LaSalle 5, Holy Ghost Prep 4

By Rick Woelfel

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—Down but not out, late in the final round of Thursday night’s Class AAA Flyers Cup semifinal Thursday night, LaSalle rallied to score a dramatic knockout win.

Daniel Sambuco and Sam Lipkin scored goals 11 seconds apart in the final 28 seconds of the third period to give the Explorers a 5-4 win over Holy Ghost Prep at Hatfield Ice. Lipkin’s game winner, which came with 17 seconds remaining in regulation time, marked the first and only time the top-seeded Explorers held the lead in a game that saw them score all five of their goals in the third period.

With the win, the top-seeded Explorers (21-6) will move on to Sunday evening’s final at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m.) where they will try to win their 11th Flyers Cup. Their opponent will be sixth-seeded and defending champion St. Joseph’s Prep, a 6-2 winner over Malvern Prep in the other Class AAA semifinal that was played Thursday at Ice Line.

Trailing by a goal as the clock wound down inside the final minute of the third period, LaSalle’s chances weren’t exactly bright. But Explorer head coach Wally Muehlbronner remained upbeat and his players kept battling.

“The way we’ve been able to score throughout the season I thought we could get one,” Muehlbronner said. “I sure didn’t think we’d get two.”

Sambuco tied the game for LaSalle with 38 seconds left when his shot from the deep left wing beat Firebird goaltender Sean Joyce inside the far post.

The Explorers won the ensuing faceoff and played the puck into the Firebirds’ zone before Lipkin collected it and scored the game winner to send his team to the finals and hand the fourth-seeded Firebirds (9-14) the loss, their fifth against LaSalle this season.



LaSalle’s Eric Ford battles Holy Ghost Prep’s Alex D’Angelo in Thursday’s Flyers Cup Class AAA semifinal. (Photo by Kathy Leister)

“I was really proud of our effort,” said Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside. “I thought we came out really hard, I thought we played a really good game. But 38 seconds is 38 seconds, and it’s unfortunate. They capitalized on bad breaks.

The Firebirds had the better of the play in a hard-hitting but scoreless opening period that saw them outshoot the Explorers 11-6. They took a 2-0 lead into the second session on the strength of goals from Colin Costello at the 6:48 mark and a shorthanded effort from Byron Hartley at 9:49.

Both came off Explorer breakdowns in their own defensive zone. The margin might have been wider had it not been for the work of Aidan McCabe in the LaSalle net.

“We never would have gotten to this point if McCabe didn’t play the way he did,” Muehlbronner said. “He stopped four breakaways in the first two periods.”

The Explorers served notice at the start of the third period that they were still around. It took Sambuco just 53 seconds to cut the deficit in half. Collin Kleiser tied the game at the 3:09 mark on a wrister from the left point.

Evan Mudrick put Holy Ghost Prep back in front when he split two defenders near the LaSalle blue line and went up the middle to beat McCabe at 4:54. Sambuco tied the game for the second time when he went down the left wing and behind the Firebird net before finding Lipkin in front, who tucked the puck in the net with 4:38 remaining.

It took Dan Behr just 63 seconds to respond for the Firebirds off a feed from Alex D’Angelo, who just minutes earlier had been helped off the ice after suffering an apparent leg injury during a collision.

At that point, Holy Ghost Prep was 3:35 away from victory, but their quest came up short.

“I thought Ghost played a tremendous game,” Muehlbronner said. “They took it to us for two periods strong, I think we came out in the third and we played the way we’re capable of playing.”

Holy Ghost Prep 0 2 2—4

LaSalle 0 0 5—5

Second-period-period goals: Colin Costello (HGP) from Byron Hartley, 6:48; Hartley (HGP) from Costello, 9:59 (sh).

Third-period goals: Daniel Sambuco  (L) unassisted, :53; Collin Kleiser (L) from Zach Baker and Michael Casey, 3:09; Evan Mudrick (HGP) rom Alex D’Angelo, 4:54; Sam Lipkin (L) from Sambuco and Casey, 12:22; Dan Behr (HGP) from D’Angelo, 13:25; Sambuco (L) from Lipkin, 16:33; Lipkin (L) from Casey and Sambuco, 16:47.

Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 32, LaSalle 34; Saves: Sean Joyce (HGP) 29, Aidan McCabe (L) 28.


The Grundy Skate Shop is a full service hockey pro shop inside the Grundy Arena, offering a great selection of equipment, brands and various services.  We do a range of repairs as well as offer custom hockey jerseys. We recently celebrated our 5th year at the shop but owner, Bill Keyser, has over 25 years experience in the industry and specializes in skate sharpening, including profiling. Please visit our Facebook page or stop in and check us out!


Three Flyers Cup finals will be available Sunday  HERE beginning with the Class A final between Hershey and West Chester Rustin at 2:00. The Class AA final between Downingtown East and Downingtown West will follow at 4:30, followed by the Class AAA matchup between LaSalle and Holy Ghost Prep at 7:00.

LaSalle 5, Malvern Prep 1

By Rick Woelfel

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—The LaSalle Explorers made it official Wednesday afternoon. Daniel Sambuco scored two goals and assisted on a third to give his team a 5-1 win over Malvern Prep in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference game at Hatfield Ice.

The win officially gives LaSalle (16-6 overall) the APAC regular-season title. The Explorers are a perfect 8-0 in conference play (with one win coming in overtime) and one league game left, on Monday against Holy Ghost Prep.

The Explorers and the Friars (11-4, 5-3 in conference with one win in overtime) will be seeded one-two in the APAC playoffs and will host semifinal games on February 25th. Both will move on to the Flyers Cup tournament from there.

Sambuco got the day off to a good start for the Explorers by scoring on a shot from the left circle with 2:56 left in the first frame. LaSalle extended its lead with 10 seconds left in the period when Nathan Benner scored a deflected goal on a play that originated behind the Malvern Prep net and appeared to catch goaltender Dan Dougherty unawares.

Sambuco and Andrew Budzynski scored goals 73 seconds apart to put LaSalle up 4-0 les than two minutes into the second period but the Friars, who were without their sniper, Nick Martino, due to a lower body injury, but they didn’t back off or back down.

“In the second period they had some really good pressure on us I thought” said LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner. “I don’t know that our puck movement was so strong, but Malvern played a really good game. We’ve got to be prepared for every game from here on out.”

The Explorers didn’t buckle however until the 8:04 mark of the period when Jack Constabile scored a power-play goal for the Friars off a scramble in front of LaSalle goaltender Aidan McCabe. It was just the eighth goal surrendered by the Explorers in eight conference games.

“We’ve got a solid defense in the back,” said LaSalle senior defenseman Bryan Evans. “We love to play a hard, physical game and I think teams A. can’t keep up with our physicality and B. can’t keep up with our speed.”

Malvern Prep coach Dave Dorman presided his team’s tenacity. “There was no quit in the game,” he said, “which was the most important thing for us. I thought the bench stuck together, the kids kept competing, and I was happy for that.”

Brandon Leer completed the scoring for LaSalle with 3:04 left in the third period. The Explorers enjoyed a 40-22 edge in shots.

Notes: The four LaSalle seniors, Evans, Leer, Zach Baker, and Sean Keaveney were recognized before the game.
Malvern Prep 0 1 0—1
LaSalle 2 2 1—5
First-period goals: Daniel Sambuco (L) from Sam Lipkin, 13:04; Nathan Brennan (L) from Ryan Ferry, 15:50.
Second-period goals: Sambuco (L) from Lipkin, :25; Andrew Budzynski (L) from Benner, 1:38; Jack Constabile (MP) from Kyle Washalavitch, 8:04 (pp).
Third-period goal: Brandon Leer (L) from Sambuco and David Kimmel, 12:56.
Shots: Malvern Prep 22, LaSalle 40; Saves: Dan Dougherty (MP) 35, Aidan McCabe (L) 19.

LaSalle 9, St. Joseph’s Prep 1

By Rick Woelfel

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP— It was pretty much business as usual for LaSalle Friday evening. Sam Lipkin and Daniel Sambuco scored two goals apiece and five other players scored one goal each as the Explorers routed St. Joseph’s Prep 9-1 in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference game at Hatfield Ice.

The win assured that LaSalle (15-6, 6-0-1-0 in the APAC) can do no worse than tie for the regular-season title in the APAC’s inaugural season. The Explorers are six points ahead of second-place Malvern Prep with two conference games remaking for each team, including one against each other next Wednesday at Hatfield Ice.

Friday’s game was settled early on. LaSalle took command when Sambuco, Jan Olenginski, and Sam Lipkin scored first period goals to give their team a 3-0 lead. Lipkin’s goal came with a teammate in the penalty box.

The Explorers epitomized balance by scoring three goals in the second and third periods as well. At a point in the season where physical and mental fatigue become increasingly significant, Sambuco says he and his teammates have maintained their focus.

“We know what we want at the end,” the sophomore said. “Obviously, we want the state championship, so that kind of fuels us, every single game, every single day. It just keeps us driving and going and going becaus e window what that end goal will be.”

LaSalle extended its lead when Sambuco scored his second goal of the game 3:32 into the second frame to chase Hawk netminder Dan McGill, who was relieved by Troy Stefano. Lipkin made it 5-0 with a power-play effort at the 8:27 mark before Evan Cassidy scored what turned out to be St Joseph’s Prep’s only goal at 8:59. Nathan Benner scored for LaSalle before the period ended, a prelude to Max Levenberg, Bryan Evans, and Fabrizio Mazzarelli scoring goals in the third period.

William Gross in the LaSalle net didn’t have much to do; he was called on to make just 15 saves.

“Puck movement I think was really good tonight,” said LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner. “We’re coming of a pretty tough stretch where we haven’t scored a ton of goals. We were pinned in our (defensive zone) a lot the past two games and it’s good to see them play the way they did tonight.”

St. Joseph’s Prep coach David Giacomin saw his team fall to 6-14 overall and 1-6-1-0 in conference. The veteran coach was less upset with the result than he was his team’s seeming lack of emotional energy.

“I see good things out of these kids at times,” he said. “And for whatever reason, we go through these games where they just seem to not care.

“And to me, that’s the frustrating part. Once one goal is scored, or a second goal is scored, it’s almost like they give up. And so it’s very frustrating for a coach who puts in a lot of time and effort and practice with them to have them come out and not handle adversity well.”
St. Joseph’s Prep 0 1 0—1
LaSalle 3 3 3—9
First-period goals: Daniel Sambuco (L) from Michael Casey and Jan Olenginski, 5:43; Oleninski (L) unassisted, 6:15; Lipkin (L) from Casey and Olenginski, 15:24 (sh).
Second-period goals: Sambuco (L) from Lipkin, 3:32; Lipkin (L) from Fabrizio Mazzarelli and Sambuco, 8:27 (pp); Evan Cassidy (SJP) from Vincent Bogessi, 8:59;Nathan Benner (L) from Nolan Woudenberg, 12:48.
Third-period goals: Max Levenberg (L) from Ryan Walsh and Zach Baker; Bryan Evans (L) from Woudenberg and Ryan Ferry, 11:36; Mazzarelli (L) from Baker and Lipkin, 14:03.
Shots; St. Joseph’s Prep 16, LaSalle 43; Saves Dan McGill (SJP) 16 and Troy Stefano (SJP) 18, William Gross (L) 15.

APAC Scoring Leaders

Here are the top scorers in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference as of 1-29-19; conference games only.


GP     G     A     Pts

Sam Lipkin Ls                      6          7       9     16

Michael Casey Ls                   6         5       9   14

Daniel Sambuco Ls               6         5       9     14

Nick Martino MP                   5        7        5     12

Kyle Washkalavitch MP        6      3         4       7

Byron Hartley HGP               5       4          1      5

Jan Olenginski Ls                   5       2           3      5

Eric Pohl HGP                         6       2          2       4

Charlie Andress MP              5        1          3       4

Brandon Leer Ls                   6         3          1       4

LaSalle Shuts Out Malvern Prep 4-0

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—The eruption came without warning. For one period and part of another, LaSalle and Malvern Prep battled on even terms. But the Explorers took over the game by scoring four goals in a span of 5 minutes, 18 seconds in the second period.

Neither team scored thereafter and LaSalle left Hatfield Ice Friday night as 4-0 winners.

Four different players scored goals for the Explorers, who stand at 5-2 on the season and a perfect 3-0 in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference, having defeated every other team in the league once.

Sophomore Daniel Sambuco scored LaSalle’s first goal at the 7:10 mark of the second frame with help from Michael Casey and Sam Lipkin. Casey made it a 2-0 game with Sambuco’s help at 9:15 and Fabrizio Mazzarelli extended the lead just 39 second later. Eric Ford finished the scoring at 12:28.

Sambuco, who leads the APAC in scoring with three goals and five assists for eight points in three conference games, said he and his mates on the Explorers’ top line took things up a notch in the second period. “We started running some quick passes and two-on-ones,” he said, “and started driving more pucks to the net That was just our game plan from there on out, put everything to the net.”

LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner was pleased to get production from four lines, particularly in the early going. “We were rolling four (lines) right out of the gate,” he said, “and we switched up a little bit and and kind of got the Sambuco line out there every third (shift) and I think that got them energized a little bit more.”

At the other end of the ice, LaSalle goaltender Aidan McCabe stopped all 19 shots he saw. His best effort came two-and-a-half minutes into the third period when he turned aside Chris Blango’s slapshot from just inside the blue line.

McCabe noted that the effort of the defense corps in front of him expanded his comfort zone. “It allows me to be really confident in the net,” the junior said. “They keep the shots to the outside which lets me see the puck. So I just try to do my job.”

The loss was the first for Malvern Prep after three wins (1-1 in the APAC). Friar coach Dave Dorman saw the evening as another step in the maturation of his young team.

Danie”It was a very typical LaSalle-Malvern Prep hockey game,” he said. “For our younger guys it was baptism by fire. Not the result we want but you know what? That’s part of the learning process, the maturation process for these younger kids.”

Notes—Sambuco’s cousin Ryan, also a sophomore, was in uniform for Malvern Prep. The hitting was intense but clean; there was just five penalties called by referee Eric Michaels, three to LaSalle and two to Malvern Prep, and one of the Malvern penalties was a bench minor for too many men on the ice.
Malvern Prep 0 0 0—0
LaSalle 0 4 0—4
Second-period goals: Daniel Sambuco (L) from Michael Casey and Sam Lipkin, 7:10: Casey (L) from Sambuco, 9:15; Fabrizio Mazzarelli (L) from Ryan Walsh and David Kimmel, 9:54; Eric Ford (L) from Jan Olenginski, 12:28.
Shots: Malvern Prep 19, LaSalle 32; Saves: Dan Dougherty (MP) 28, Aidan McCabe (L) 19.

To find out more about Malvern Prep CLICK HERE

To learn more about LaSalle College High School CLICK HERE

We can help you promote your product, service, or event on this site.

E-mail us for details.