Malvern Prep 4, Holy Ghost Prep 3 OT

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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.”

Malvern Prep’ Ryan Sambuco (in white carries the puck against Holy Ghost Prep’s E.J. Pohl. #97 in white is Jeremy Jacobs. (Photo by Rick Woelfel)

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.

Malvern Prep 5, La Salle 4 OT

HATFIELD— The finish would have made a wonderful ending to a movie. Pierre Larocque scored a goal 1:54 into overtime to give Malvern Prep a 5-4 win over La Salle Wednesday’s evening in an APAC matchup at Hatfield Ice.

Moments earlier, Larocque assisted on Ryan Sambuco’s goal that tied the game with 20 seconds left in regulation.

“We were really aggravated with the way we were playing at the time,” Larocque said. “So we had to stay positive in order to play better.”

Malvern Prep (5-4 overall, 3-2-1-0 in the APAC) was playing its first game since December 11 but they got off to a fast start against the Explorers (7-9, 0-2-1-1) who played a game this past Monday. Harrison Campbell and Jack Constabile scored goals 67 seconds apart to put the Friars up 2-0 with 3:18 left in the first period.

But goals from David Kimmel and Collin Keiser drew the Explorers even at 3:35 of the second frame. Jimmy Kirk put the Friars in front once more at the 5:05 mark but Jake Harmon and David Bruner scored 48 seconds apart to put La Salle back in front with 1:17 left in the period,

The third period was scoreless until Sambuco and Larocque provided their heroics. The Friars prevailed despite being outshot 26-16.

“It was nice to see them battle back there at the end,” said Malvern Prep coach Bill Keenan, and pop one in late and keep possession and get a heck of a shoot by Pierre Larocque.

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Malvern Prep’s Pierre Larocque (dark jersey) carries the puck against La Salle. Number 26 in white is La Salle’s David Kimmel (photo by Gracie Cleveland).



Larocque was idled much of last season by an ankle injury. this year he’s spent time both up front and on the blue line.

“He battles every time he’s out there,” Keenan said. “For him to get going there and get that goal, it means a lot to us, it means a lot to our team.”
Larocque is enjoying simply being back on the ice. “I missed it a lot,” he said,” he said. “I watched (hockey) a lot, it was really tough.”

Keenan is hoping that Wednesday’s win will energize the Friars for the second half of the season. “We had a couple good practices right before this,” he said, carried it into today, and we’re forward to what’s ahead.”

Malvern Prep 2 1 1 1—5
La Salle 0 4 0 0—4
First-period goals: Harrison Campbell (MP) unassisted, 11:35; Jack Constabile (MP) from Matt Harris and Ryan Sambuco, 12:42.
Second-period goals: David Kimmel (L) from Andrew Budyzski and Keenan Schneider, 2:40; Collin Keiser (L) unassisted, 3:35; Jimmy Kirk (MP) from Matt Donatucci, 5:05; Jake Harmon (L) from Budzynski and Schneider, 13:55; David Bruner (L) from Daniel Whitlock and Max Maddalo, 14:43.
Third-period goal: Sambuco (MP) from Harris and Pierre Larocque, 15:40.
Overtime goal: Larocque (MP) from Harris and Quinn Dougherty, 1:54.
Shots: Malvern Prep 16, La Salle 26; Saves: Anthony Perti (M) 22, Liam Gross (L) 11.