Wyoming Seminary 5 La Salle 1

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—For two periods, La Salle and Wyoming Seminary battled each other on even terms. The result was a 1-1 standoff.

In the third frame, Knights broke through, scoring four goals to record a 5-1 win Friday evening at Hatfield Ice.

Alexis Billequey scored two goals and assisted on another as the Knights improved to 4-1 on the season.

The Explorers dropped to 0-2 but Coach Wally Muehlbronner saw his team take some big strides.

“For us, the game was a big step forward,” he said. “Our approach, the way the guys played, we played hard for three periods.”

The Explorers actually took the early lead when Chase Hannon bested Wyoming Seminary goaltender Caleb Chabot with 7:45 left in the opening period.

The second period was almost two thirds gone before BIllequey responded for the Knights and when the teams left the ice at period’s end it was anyone’s game for the taking.

Starting the third period on fresh ice, the Knights stepped up. Mathis Pellerin beat LaSalle netminder Jake Rossi just 1:24 into the period. Colin Donovan made it a 3-1 game at the 4::05 mark and Billequey scored his second goal just 42 seconds later.

Anthony Petrick completed the scoring with 3:04 left in the game.

Rossi, a sophomore, gave a solid effort in the Explorer net.

“He’s only a sophomore but he’s a competitor,” Muehlbronner said. “He’s a good goalie, I was happy with the way he played today.”

Despite the loss, Muehlbronner sees things heading in the right direction.

“We did a couple things that, if we look back at it, and correct them, it could have been a 1-1 game to the end,” he said. “We hurt ourselves a little it in the third.”

Wyoming Seminary 0 1 4—5

La Salle 1 0 0—1

First-period goal: Chase Hannon (L) assist unavailable, 8:15

Second-period goal: Alexis Billequey (WS) from Oliver van der Groen and Jason Shapiro, 10:18

Third-period goals: Mathis Pellerin (WS) from Yoan Gagnon and Billequey, 1:24; Colin Donovan (WS) unassisted, 4:05; Billequey (WS) from Daniel Svozil, 4:47; Anthony Petrick (WS) from Gagnon, 12:56

Shots: Wyoming Seminary 34, La Salle 22; Saves: Caleb Chabot (WS) 21, Jake Rossi (L) 29

La Salle’s Nathan Benner Skates for His Brother

Nathan Benner’s days as a La Salle College High School hockey player are dwindling to a precious few. The APAC playoffs are ahead followed by the Flyers Cup tournament and perhaps a trip to the state championship. But, at most a month from now, the senior forward will take off his La Salle jersey for the last time.

Benner, who is one of the Explorers’ captains, says his time at La Salle has shaped him as person as well as a hockey player. “It really challenges you,” he said. “Mentally and physically with the hockey, mentally with school. Every week you have tests, you have homework when you get home from school, when you play club hockey (Bennner is skating for the Philadelphia Quakers this year after spending his club career with the Valley Forge Minutemen) you have hockey five days a week, every day on the weekend, balanced with La Sale hockey. Just the values that they stress here, the leadership, the hard work ethic, good character, all in all has definitely made me who I am today.”

Perhaps what Benner treasures most from skating for the Explorers is having his younger brother Jacob in the stands watching his every move.

Jacob Benner is 14 years old and deals with the challenges of Downs Syndrome and Hirschsprung Disease.

Since Nathan started playing hockey the year he turned six, Jacob has been a fixture in the stands whether at a club game or a high-school game.

“He’s been coming to every one of my games from the time I was five years old until now,” Nathan said, “and he memorized everybody’s’ name on the team, everyone’s number, even though we don’t have names on the back of our jerseys.

“When we’re about to leave for a game he’ll go ‘Who do we play today?’ as if he’s on the team, His happiest time is when he comes to watch me play and when he gets to be at the rink.”

sf benner.JPG

Jacob Benner flanked by brother Nathan (right) and father Walter. Photo furnished by La Salle College High School.


On more occasions than not, Jacob Benner is the most enthusiastic La Salle supporter in the building. “He’s the loudest one in the stands,” Nathan says. “He’s always yelling everyone’s name, yelling at the refs, yelling ‘Get into the game.’ Telling us to work harder; he’s always encouraging everyone. Everyone can hear him from the bench and everyone kind of smiles and builds off of what he does from the stands.”

Jacob’s support never wavers, regardless of the numbers on the scoreboard. “Just seeing him cheer me on and watching the games is one of the best things,” Nathan said. “Whether we win or lose, he’s always telling me ‘Good game.’ He loves watching me play no matter how I play and it’s always great to have that.”

Two years ago, Jacob decided he wanted to get on skates himself and began taking lessons at Hatfield Ice. Kati Link was his first instructor. He’s still at it and hopes to play hockey himself one day Nathan drives his brother to his skating lessons, swimming lessons, and other activities.

“At first it was very hard,” Nathan said of his brother’s first efforts on skates, “but he’s able to stand up now, he’s able to move around, and the smile on his face when he skates is one of the best thigs to look at. He always wears my hockey jersey when he goes on the ice and he loves it.”

Nathan Benner says spending time with his only sibling has altered his outlook on and off the ice. “For me, it’s kind of just helped me all around in life with maturing, leadership qualities, about being a good role model,” he said, “because I know my brother wants to model himself off of what I do. I have to be a good role model for him. Even if I do bad things, or say bad words, he models off that so I really have to be watching and be mindful of how I’m acting, because he’s always watching me and acting as if I would act.”


The 2020 Flyers Cup selection show will air Sunday, February 22 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on You Tube

APAC Names All-Conference Team

The Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference has named its inaugural All-Conference team. A total of 13 players were selected in voting by the four conference coaches.

Conference, Flyers Cup, and state Class AAA champion LaSalle had six players selected, Holy Ghost Prep and St. Joseph’s Prep three players each, and Malvern Prep one.

First Team

F Nick Martino     Sr.              Malvern Prep

F Sam Lipkin        So.              LaSalle

F Daniel Sambuco So.            LaSalle

D  Vinnie Borgesi   Fr.           St. Joseph’s Prep

D Nick Cimapitti    Sr.           St. Josephs Prep

G Aidan McCabe  Jr.              LaSalle


Second Team

F Alex D’Angelo Sr.           Holy Ghost Prep

F  Michael Casey  So.             LaSalle

F  Byron Hartley  Jr.           Holy Ghost Prep

D  Jan Olenginski    So.           LaSalle

D  Zach Baker          Sr.            LaSalle

G Sean Joyce          Jr.      Holy Ghost Prep

G Dan McGill         Sr.      St. Joseph’s Prep

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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.

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LaSalle Strives to Make its Students the Best They Can Be

Ever since its founding in 1858 by the Brothers of Christian Schools, LaSalle College High School has been committed to developing young men spiritually and socially as well as academically. Situated in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, just outside Philadelphia, LaSalle boasts a student population of 1,050 boys in grades 9-12.

Wally Muehlbronner, the school’s hockey coach, is also LaSalle’s assistant director of admissions.

“A LaSalle education is about really getting to know your students and touching the hearts of the students,” he said. “So, it’s much more than obviously developing them academically. Being the best student they can be is obviously very important, but really getting to know the students and helping them develop into the best versions of themselves would be the ultimate goal.”

There are over 500 applicants each year for 265-275 places in LaSalle’s freshman class. The pool of applicants includes students from over 100 different grade schools and middle schools. Muehlbronner offers an overview of what the school is seeking in prospective new students.

“First and foremost, we want good kids,” he said. “We want good character kids. We want students who are willing to work hard to be the best students that they can be academically, and students that are going to get involved outside of the classroom, So, we want certainly well rounded students, but first and foremost, we want good character kids who are going to help make the community here stronger.

“So academically, obviously, they need to be good students, and they need to perform well on the scholarship entrance exam but we also look very heavily on their recommendations and their prior performance academically at their grade schools.”
Muehlbronner says most prospective students start thinking seriously about LaSalle in the seventh grade, but adds this caveat.

“It’s gotten and earlier and earlier the longer I’ve done this,” he said. “The kids start exploring the options at an earlier age. We even offer sixth-grade practice test. So, we have sixth graders that will come in in March and take a practice test, as well as seventh graders that would take a practice test in March, and that gives them a good feel of what to expect at schools like LaSalle on the entrance exam for when it matters the most, in eighth grade.

“But most of the students attend an open house in the fall of their seventh-grade year. They take the practice test in March. Some of the students, as seventh graders, may choose to come and visit and spend a full day with us, and shadow a current student.”

Muehlbronner says the intensity of the application process picks up in a student’s eighth-grade year. “They come and they spend a full day with us in the fall,” he said. “They take the scholarship entrance exam, typically in early November or the end of October, and then decisions start getting made on admissions in December.”

The school takes steps to make the freshmen feel comfortable, even before they officially begin their careers at LaSalle.

“We have a Mass together to kick things off,” Muehlbronner says. “That’s done in March of every year. All the families will come in and we have a Mass the Class of 2023 will have their Mass coming up in March and then from there we do freshman orientation with them.
“There’s a lot of different icebreakers so the guys get to meet each other. A lot of times it’s homeroom competitions that they’ll have to create a little bit of camaraderie amongst the homerooms, but then get to meet all the other students.
“Then from there it’s really just staying with them. The freshman guidance counselor, the dean of students, all the different things that go in to helping to introduce them to LaSalle.”

Like the other three school in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference, LaSalle is a single-sex institution, a setting that Muehlbronner says some distinct advantages.

“The single-sex environment helps the guys I think really be themselves,” she said. “They’re not trying to do things to try to impress somebody.

“We hear from the guys when we talk to them. We do different panels here where our students will talk to prospective families about their experience at LaSalle, and oftentimes the parents will ask them ‘What’s it like to go to an all-boy school?’ And the first thing we here is that they love it; there’s a brotherhood, you can be yourself. Nobody’s putting on airs to try impress somebody, but it is a good competitive environment, where guys want to do the best they can in the classroom and outside the classroom. They’re very comfortable getting involved in many different things.

“We have kids that kids that are involved in the theatre program here, the music program here, that are also some of the best athletes in the school. So, there are an awful lot of things they can get into not feel like it’s not the cool thing to do. It’s cool to get involved and it’s cool to be yourself and make the most out of your experience here.”

Muehlbronner notes that students who are considering LaSalle are likely considering all-male schools as well, including the other members of the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference.

“The competitiveness at all four of our schools is a healthy competiveness,” he said, “and I think there’s tremendous support here for the guys to help them along the way. They’re going to fail in things at times but that’s okay. That’s part of learning and growing.”

Muehlbronner has been LaSalle’s hockey coach for 21 seasons and the program has compiled has compiled a remarkable record in that time. His teams have won eight Flyers Cups four state titles and, this season, the APAC’s inaugural championship.

As successful as the program is however, it is but one of a number of outlets for LaSalle students to express themselves.

There’s a pretty clear understanding with the guys as far as what’s expected of them,” Muehlbronner said, “just like all the athletes here. But it’s no different from what’s expected from the kids that are on the robotics team or are heavily involved in the music program; it’s the same. Something that enhances their experience here and helps them grow as young men.”

For more information on LaSalle College High School CLICK HERE

By Rick Woelfel



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.”