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BRISTOL—For the third time this season, Malvern Prep and Holy Ghost Prep need more than the regulation 48 minutes to conduct their business.
Pierre Larocque scored a power-play goal 2:02 into the three-on-three overtime to give the Friars a 4-3 win at Grundy Arena Thursday afternoon and put a damper on the Firebirds’ Senior Day festivities.
It was the Friars’ (9-1, overall, 3-1-3-0 in conference) third win over Holy Ghost Prep this season. They prevailed 3-2 via shootout in each of the first two meetings.
The Friars were listed first in the Class AAA Flyers Cup rankings that were released on Monday.
The winning goal came just nine seconds after the Firebirds Luke Panepresso drew a minor penalty plus an automatic 10-minue misconduct for a check from behind that took the Friars’ Jimmy Jacobs into the boards behind the Firebirds’ net. It was a no-doubt-about-it call for referee Laura White.
Malvern Prep won the ensuing faceoff to set up Larocque’s game winner. It was the junior’s second goal of the game.
“This is very satisfying,” Larocque said. “Especially missing (club players) from our team, it’s very satisfying to win this game.”
The Friars were four players short on Thursday, including senior defenseman Chris Blango, their captain, senior forward Jack Constabile, and junior forward Matt Harris. All normally play major roles but all were away on club duty.
“We told our boys coming in it was going to be a tall task,” said Malvern Prep coach Bill Keenan. “Going into overtime the first two games, we knew it was going to be tough. To come out again in the overtime, it was nice to get a win.”
The Firebirds (4-5 overall, 3-3-0-2 in conference) took a 1-0 lead 2:51 into the first period when Antony Sparo tipped in Panepresso’s shot from the left point after his team won a faceoff in the offensive right circle. Ryan Sambuco tied the game for Malvern Prep at the 11:47 mark.
Larocque scored to give the Friars a 2-1 lead just 2:13 into the second session but it only took John Connelly 33 seconds to respond for Holy Ghost Prep. Connelly scored his second goal of the game 2:57 into the third period to give his team the lead for the second time but Sambuco answered back with a power play goal at 6:03 while Evan Mudrick was serving a double minor.
The Firebirds finished with a 31-26 edge in shots. Anthony Perti came up big in goal for the Friars; a number of his 28 saves were extraordinarily difficult.
Keenan credits for his team’s success his senior class. “I’ve said it all year,” he said. “It’s a great group of guys, they’ve been in this program for quite some time and to see them really control the locker, control the bench during the game, it’s nice to see as coaches. Coaches can do so much but the players have got to go out and win the game.”
It was a frustrating afternoon for the Firebirds, who were listed second in the Class AAA Flyers Cup rankings, but whose losing streak has now reached four games.
“I thought we came out and played pretty well,” said Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside.” It was a good start and then a tough break at the end getting that penalty. We just can’t find ways to win right now.”
Malvern Prep 1 1 1 1—4
Holy Ghost Prep 1 1 1 0—3
First-period goals: Anthony Sparo (HGP) from Luke Panepresso and Brian Butler, 2:51; Ryan Sambuco (MP) from Quinn Dougherty and Jeremy Jacobs, 11:47
Second-period goals: Pierre Larocque (MP) from Jack Sharer, 2:13; John Connelly (HGP) from Patrick McAneny and Colin Moore, 2:22
Third-period goals: Connelly (HGP) unassisted, 2:57; Sambuco (MP) from Jimmy Kirk, 6:03 (pp)
Overtime goal: Larocque (MP) from Kirk and Dougherty, 2:02
Shots: Malvern Prep 26, Holy Ghost Prep 31; Saves: Anthony Perti (MP) 28; Bobby Baehser (HGP) 22
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Friday’s scheduled APAC game between La Salle and St. Joseph’s Prep has been postponed.