HATFIELD TOWNSHIP— Veterans step up when they’re needed most. John Seravalli did just that for Holy Ghost Prep Tuesday night. His goal 1:41 into sudden death overtime gave his team a 3-2 win over St. Joseph’s Prep in a Class AAA Flyers Cup semifinal at Hatfield Ice.
The second-seeded Firebirds will face La Salle for the title Tuesday at 8:30 at this same venue.
Holy Ghost Prep trailed 1-0 and 2-1 before rallying to pick up their 17th win of the season against seven losses. Third-seeded St. Joseph’s Prep closed the season at 14-7-2.
Seravalli’s goal came when he found space between the two circles and beat Hawks’ goaltender Rocco Bruno.
“It was a little nerve-wracking at first,” Seravalli said of going into the extra period. “They’ve got some good players. But we competed, our goalie (Colin Mudrick) played a great game in overtime I was lucky I got the shot that went in”
Both goaltenders were stellar for a period and half. The first goal of the night didn’t come until the 8:54 mark of the second period. It came off the stick of the Hawks’ Joe Samango off a dump into the St. Joseph’s Prep left-wing corner.
The score stayed 1-0 until Landon Stout tied the game for the Firebirds 4:34 into the third period off a scramble in front of the Hawks’ net. The aftermath of the goal was a scrum near the net and the result of it all a roughing penalty to the Firebirds’ Cieran Chambers, who also drew a 10-minute misconduct.
It took St. Joseph’s Prep just 37 seconds to score a power-play goal. Mudrick denied Caiden Kelly on a backhander, but the Firebirds couldn’t clear the puck out of the crease and Shane O’Neill put the puck in the back of the net to give the Hawks the lead for the second time.
Just 62 seconds later, the game was tied once more thanks to Shaun Moore, who converted a feed from Ryan Lippy.
That set the stage for overtime and Seravalli’s game winner. The senior noted the Firebirds responded to the pressure of the moment.
“We got the little jitters out that first period,” he said. “But we caught on, and we (played through it).”
Holy Ghost Prep celebrates its victory. (Robert Bernes)
Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside praised his team’s tenacity.
“I thought we played a great game,” he said. “We told them (after the second period) to just keep doing what you’re doing, try to find another level, and they stayed with it. They just battled.”
It was an emotional loss for St. Joseph’s Prep coach David Giacomin, who will be saying goodbye to the 12 seniors on his Flyers Cup roster.
“Both teams played their butts off,” he said.”It comes down to a break here or there and unfortunately, they got it.”
The Firebirds finished with a 41-28 shot advantage.
St. Joseph’s Prep 0 1 1 0—2
Holy Ghost Prep 0 0 2 1—3
Second-period goal: Joe Samango (SJP) from Jake Schultz, 8:54
Third-period goals: Landon Stout (HGP) from Zach Pers, 4:34; Shane O’Neill (SJP) from Caiden Kelly, 5:11 (pp) Shaun Moore (HGP) from Ryan Lippy, 6:13
Overtime goal: John Seravalli (HGP) from Ciaran Chambers, 1:41
Shots: St. Joseph’s Prep 28, Holy Ghost Prep 41; Saves: Rocco Bruno (SJP)) 38, Colin Mudrick, HGP 26