The Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference enhanced its legacy Wednesday night. The inaugural APAC Outdoor Classic brought four of the five conference schools to the Spring Mountain resort for a doubleheader in a unique outdoor setting.
For the record, Holy Ghost Prep edged Malvern Prep 6-5 and La Salle downed St. Joseph’s Prep 5-1. But as significant as the results were in the APAC conference standings, the impact of the evening and the setting made a deeper impression on the fans in attendance and most notably on the participants.
The Holy Ghost Prep-Malvern Prep matchup, which opened the doubleheader, was believed to be the first outdoor game in Malvern Pep history, and certainly the first outdoor game in the program’s modern era, which dates back more than half a century.
Senior Jimmy Jacobs is the Friars’ captain. “It was a really cool atmosphere,” he said. “It’s definitely a lot different than what we’re used to.
“When you’re playing outdoors, there’s nothing to complain about, It’s an awesome atmosphere. The ice is a little different, but that’s what we expected. It was really awesome to play outdoors.”
Holy Ghost Prep senior Landon Stout basked in the outdoor atmosphere. Wednesday marked Holy Ghost Prep’s second outdoor game in seven days; the Firebirds faced North Allegheny outdoors last Thursday in Pittsburgh.
“There’s nothing like it,” Stout said of playing outdoors. “That’s all I have to say. It’s a great experience.”
Stout noted the impact the conditions had on play. When the puck was dropped to begin the Holy Ghost Prep-Malvern Prep game, the temperature was in the low 40s, mild enough to impact ice conditions. The lighting conditions were impactful as well
“It’s a lot different than playing inside,” Stout said. “Especially for the goalies, it’s probably pretty hard to see the puck out here.”
St. Joseph’s Prep junior defenseman Shane O’Neill wasn’t happy with the loss to archrival La Salle. But playing a rivalry game in an outdoor setting left memories that are certain to endure.
“It was awesome,” he said. “We got a little taste of it last year against (Cardinal O’Hara), but it’s really nice coming out here under the stars and stuff.
O’Neill could feel a rush of energy when he first took the ice.
“It’s a lot of excitement,” he said. “It’s a different environment out here, but it’s still a lot of fun. At the end of the day, we’re still just playing hockey so, you try not to think too much about where we’re playing, and just get a win.”
La Salle senior Dante DeFuscio was in an observer’s role Wednesday night as the Explorers’ backup goaltender, but he embraced the setting as deeply as anyone in attendance.
“It was definitely unusual but surreal at the same time,” he said. “I don’t think many of our guys have played outside, maybe a handful, two or three. And, we’re just really thankful to be out there.”
DeFusico spent time attempting to absorb the energy and emotion of the occasion.
“I’m just trying to take it all in,” he said, “as much as possible. Especially because I don’t have to be 100 percent locked in. I have to be focused on the game (but) just enjoying keeping the guys loose.”
Holy Ghost Prep 6, Malvern Prep 5—The Firebirds scored three times in the first period and went on to the win that opened the APAC Outdoor Classic. The win kept the Firebirds alone in atop the conference standings with a 4-1-0-1 league record (12-4 overall).
Brady Baehser scored two goals in the win and assisted on another. Kieran Mulholland had a goal and two assists. Landon Stout, John Seravalli and Mike Holt also scored goals.
Jeremy Jacobs scored twice for Malvern Prep (7-3, 1-3) which was seeing its first action of the New Year. Brady Doyle, Jack Sharer, and Caiden Canale also scored for the Friars.
Holy Ghost Prep 3 2 1—6
Malvern Prep 1 3 1—5
First-period goals: Kieran Mulholland (HGP) from John Seravalli, 1:47; Brady Doyle (HGP) from Aidan Kelly, 5:45 (pp); Landon Stout (HGP) from Brady Baehser and Mike Holt, 8:38; Baehser (HG) from Shaun Moore and Mulholland, 12:54
Second-period goals: Jeremy Jacobs (MP) unassisted, 4:09; Jack Sharer (MP) from Matt Barbacane and Jimmy Jacobs, 11:08 (pp); Holt (HGP) from Mulholland, 13:53; Seravalli (HGP) from Mulholland and Shaun Moore, 14:27; Jeremy Jacobs (MP) unassisted, 15:00
Third-period goals: Baehser (HGP) from Seravalli, :48; Caiden Canale (MP) from Jeremy Jacobs, 13:28 (pp)
Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 34, Malvern Prep 44; Saves: Colin Mudrick (HGP) 39, Brandon Novabilski (MP) 28
LaSalle 5, St. Joseph’s Prep 1—Liam Donahue scored twice as the Explorers bested the Hawks in the nightcap of the APAC Outdoor Classic. Chase Hannon, Thomas Doucet and Evan Golato also scored for the Explorers who are now 6-7-2 overall but 4-1 in the APAC. La Salle is one point behind Holy Ghost Prep in the conference standings with a game in hand,
Jeffrey Hammond scored for St. Joseph’s Prep (12-3-2 overall, 1-3-1-0 in conference) which saw a seven-game unbeaten streak snapped.
St. Joseph’s Prep 0 1 0—1
La Salle 2 2 1—5
First-period goals: Chase Hannon (L) from Evan Golato, 3:03; Thomas Doucet (L) from Hannon, 9:16
Second-period goals: Liam Donahue (L) from Max Monzo and Will Gregorio, 1:36; Jeffrey Hammond (SJP) unassisted, 7:17 (pp); Donahue (L) from Monzo, 10:24
Third-period goal: Golato (L) from Declan Kelly, 9:28 (pp)