Holy Ghost Prep 3, La Salle 1

A fast start proved decisive for Holy Ghost Prep Wednesday afternoon. The Firebirds scored twice before the game was six minutes old and went on to  a 3-1 win over La Salle in an APAC encounter at Hatfield Ice Arena.

Landon Stout beat La Salle netminder Will Braun just 41 seconds after the opening faceoff off a dash down the right wing, and Sean Marshall added a power-play goal at the 5:32 mark as Holy Ghost Prep won its second straight start and its conference opener.

Coach Gump Whiteside appreciated his team’s energy level, particularly in the first period.

“I thought we came out with a good start,” he said. “Any time you play La Salle, you’ve got to be on your toes.”

La Salle (0-2 overall and in the APAC) cut the deficit in half when Matthew Conforti scored just 12 seconds into the middle period. It was the Explorers first goal of the season and seemed to give them an energy boost; La Salle outshot the Firebirds 22-12 over the finals 34 minutes, but couldn’t pocket another goal, thanks in large part to the work of Firebird  goaltender Jason Soule. The senior and first-year starter finished with 34 saves.

“Jay was huge for us,” Whiteside said. “ He’s playing really well and the kids really rally around him.”

Marshall finished the scoring with an empty-net goal with 15 seconds remaining in the final period. “We said in the the locker room before the game ‘We’ve got to come out strong,’” he said. “It’s a great team on the other side. I knew we had to come out strong, and we did. We  put it too them in the first couple minutes and scored two quick. 

“We lost our momentum a little bit but we got it back. We battled in the third period and never gave up.”

Despite the final result, La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner took an abundance of positives away from the encounter.

“I thought it was a good game,” he said. “After we gave up two, we settled in pretty well.

“I think Will played a great game after he settled down a little bit, and our second and third period, I thought we played really well.

“We’ve got to find a way to start scoring some goals.”

Marshall noted the game was the latest in a long strong of close encounters between the Firebirds and the Explorers. “Both teams are good every year,” he said, “A lot of people on both teams are seniors. When they graduate, new people come in. They battle every game.”

Prior to the opening face-off, the Holy Ghost Prep players presented their counterparts at La Salle a memorial puck in honor of La Salle student-athlete Blake Barklage.

Holy Ghost Prep 2 0 1—3

La Salle 0 1 0—1

First-period goals: Landon Stout (HGP) from Shaun Moore, :41; Sean Marshall (HGP) from Brady Baehser, 5:32 (pp)

Second-period goal: Matthew Conforti (L) from Patrick Brace, :12

Third—period goal: Marshall (HGP) from Baehser, 16:45 (en)

Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 25, La Salle 35; Saves: Jason Soule (HGP) 34, Will Braun (L) 22

La Salle and Holy Ghost Prep begin Wednesday’s third period

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 the assistant admissions director.

“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.”

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LaSalle 6, Holy Ghost Prep 3

By Rick Woelfel 

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP— All season long, LaSalle has shown the ability to score in bunches. That talent was on display Wednesday afternoon against Holy Ghost Prep in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference championship game. The Explorers scored four second-period goals in a span of 6 minutes, 7 seconds and went on to a 5-2 win over the Firebirds to claim the first-ever Founders Cup in front of an energized audience at Hatfield Ice.

“I’m feeling really excited right now,” said Brandon Leer, one of LaSalle’s captains. “The past four years I’ve been here, this is my first championship … It feels really good right now.”

The two teams played the first period on even terms.

The Firebirds (8-13) started the scoring at the 3:12 mark when Alex D’Angelo sent a pass down the middle of the ice from deep on the left side of his own zone. E.J. Pohl collected the puck in full stride and went up the middle to beat LaSalle goaltender Aidan McCabe.

Nathan Benner tied the game for the Explorers (20-6) with two seconds left in the opening session from midway between the faceoff circles.

Holy Ghost Prep took a 2-1 lead 5:59 into the second period when he tipped in D’Angelo’s shot from the high slot.

But then the Explorers exploded. Fabrizzio Mazzarelli, Sam Lipkin, Jan Olenginski, and Daniel Sambucco all scored goals during the barrage and LaSalle found itself up 5-2 with 1:23 left in the period.

“I think we started clicking a little bit better,” said LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner. “I don’t know that all the lines were on the same page to start with but once we started clicking, we were going to the net hard.”

That five different players scored the Explorers’ first five goals was a testament to the team’s scoring balance. “I think we’re fortunate,” Muehlbronner said, “and they definitely stepped up tonight. It was good to see.”

D’Angelo scored a power-play goal for the Firebirds with 6:39 left in regulation but Benner answered for the Explorers 61 seconds later.

Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside lamented his team’s inability to sustain its early momentum. “I thought we played well the first and third periods,” he said, “and that stretch in the second period our wheels fell off a little bit and they took advantage of our mistakes. Credit to them, Wally and the boys. “But we’ll see them again.”

The Flyers Cup is still ahead but the APAC officially completed its inaugural season on Wednesday. Leer noted the caliber of play was first rate all year season long. “Every team out here (including Malvern Prep and St. Joseph’s Prep was outstanding,” he said. “There was not one game where we felt as if we completely dominate the opponent. Each game we had was very close and then either we outworked the opponent and made the gap grow bigger or they backed down, which made our job a lot easier.”


Notes: LaSalle had a 34-26 edge in shots. All four APAC teams will compete in the Class AAA Flyers Cup. LaSalle is the top seed and had a first-round bye. Malvern Prep is seeded second, Holy Ghost Prep fifth, and St. Joseph’s Prep sixth.


Holy Ghost Prep 1 1 1—3

LaSalle 1 4 1—6


First-period goals: EJ. Pohl (HGP) from Alex D’Angelo, 3:12; Nathan Benner (L) from Michael Casey and Sam Lipkin, 15:58.

Second-period goals: Evan Mudrick (HGP) from D’Angelo, 5:59; Fabrizzio Mazzarelli (L) from Jan Olenginski and Lipkin, 8:30 (pp); Lipkin (L) from Casey and Zach Baker, 9:10 (sh); Olenginski (L) unassisted, 11:06; Daniel Sambuco (L) unassisted, 14:37.

Third-period goals: Alex D’Angelo (HGP) from Eric Mark and Midrick, 9:21 (pp); Benner L) from Colin Kreisler and Ryan Ferry, 10:22.

Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 26, LaSalle 34; Saves: Sean Joyce (HGP) 28, Aidan McCabe (L) 23

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LaSalle 6, Holy Ghost Prep 3

By Rick Woelfel

BRISTOL— On the surface, there wasn’t a lot at stake when LaSalle and Holy Ghost Prep took the ice at Grundy Arena Monday afternoon. The Explorers had already clinched the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference’s regular-season title.

But no meeting on the ice between the two longtime rivals can ever be classified as routine. The intensity level was as high as ever over the course of LaSalle’s 6-3 win.

“It’s a great rivalry game,” said LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner. “It has been for years.”

Special teams played a significant role in this occasion, particularly in the early going. Referee Laura White tolerated no nonsense and called six penalties in the first period. Three of them led to power-play goals.

Colin Costello got things started when he scored for the Firebirds (7-12, 1-8 in the APAC with three losses in overtime or a shootout) off a left-wing faceoff. Michael Casey tied the game for LaSalle (18-6, 9-0 with one win in overtime) at 10:05 but Richard Spore put Holy Ghost Prep back in front at 11:46 when he beat Explorer netminder Aidan McCabe off a nifty feed from Alex D’Angelo.

Fabrizzio Mazzarelli tied the game for a second time when he scored for LaSalle on yet another power-play situation 3:01 into the second period.

Some three minutes later McCabe denied the Firebirds’ Byron Hartley on a two-on-none breakaway and momentum began to shift in LaSalle’s direction, David Brunner scored on a breakaway of his own off a turnover at 11:54 to give his team the lead.

The Firebirds battled through a stretch that found then playing two men short for 89 seconds and it was still a one-goal game after 32 minutes.

But Casey (on a power play) and Bryan Evans scored to make it a 5-2 game 3:57 into the third period to put the Explorers firmly in command. The Firebirds’ Evan Mudrick and LaSalle’s Daniel Sambuco traded goals to complete the scoring.

The temperature of the game cooled off a bit after the frenzied start; there were six penalties called over the last two periods.

“We were a little frustrated in the beginning,” said LaSalle captain Zach Baker, a senior defenseman. “Coach had to calm us down. Everyone was contained in the locker room in between (after the second period). In the first we were a little rattled, off our game, but ever since the end of the first we kind of stuck to our normal game plan and got things going.”

If you’re counting, five of the nine goals in the game came on power plays, including three of LaSalle’s six.

“I thought we did some good things early on,” said Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside, “but you’ve just got to be disciplined and stay out of the box. We told them what was going to happen but unfortunately, we just couldn’t get it done today.”



LaSalle (18-8, 9-0, 1 in OT)

HGP 7-12, 1-8, 3 losses in OT)



LaSalle 1 2 3—6

Holy Ghost Prep 2 0 1—3

First-period goals: Colin Costello (HGP) from Alex D’Angelo and Andrew Serafin, 7:38 (pp); Michael Casey (L) from Daniel Sambuco and Sam Lipkin, 10:05 (pp); Richard Spohr (HGP) from D’Angelo, 11:46 (pp).

Second-period goals: Fabrizzio Mazzarelli (L) from Lipkin and Jan Olenginski, 11:54; David Brunner (L) unassisted, 11:54.

Third-period goals: Casey (L) from Lipkin, 2:10 (pp); Bryan Evans (L) from Sean Keaveny, 3:57; Evan Mudrick (HGP) unassisted, 6:47; Daniel Sambuco (L) from Lipkin, 11:49.

Shots: LaSalle 28, Holy Ghost Prep 27; Saves: Aidan McCabe (L) 24, Sean Joyce (HGP) 22




LaSalle 9, St. Joseph’s Prep 1

By Rick Woelfel

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP— It was pretty much business as usual for LaSalle Friday evening. Sam Lipkin and Daniel Sambuco scored two goals apiece and five other players scored one goal each as the Explorers routed St. Joseph’s Prep 9-1 in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference game at Hatfield Ice.

The win assured that LaSalle (15-6, 6-0-1-0 in the APAC) can do no worse than tie for the regular-season title in the APAC’s inaugural season. The Explorers are six points ahead of second-place Malvern Prep with two conference games remaking for each team, including one against each other next Wednesday at Hatfield Ice.

Friday’s game was settled early on. LaSalle took command when Sambuco, Jan Olenginski, and Sam Lipkin scored first period goals to give their team a 3-0 lead. Lipkin’s goal came with a teammate in the penalty box.

The Explorers epitomized balance by scoring three goals in the second and third periods as well. At a point in the season where physical and mental fatigue become increasingly significant, Sambuco says he and his teammates have maintained their focus.

“We know what we want at the end,” the sophomore said. “Obviously, we want the state championship, so that kind of fuels us, every single game, every single day. It just keeps us driving and going and going becaus e window what that end goal will be.”

LaSalle extended its lead when Sambuco scored his second goal of the game 3:32 into the second frame to chase Hawk netminder Dan McGill, who was relieved by Troy Stefano. Lipkin made it 5-0 with a power-play effort at the 8:27 mark before Evan Cassidy scored what turned out to be St Joseph’s Prep’s only goal at 8:59. Nathan Benner scored for LaSalle before the period ended, a prelude to Max Levenberg, Bryan Evans, and Fabrizio Mazzarelli scoring goals in the third period.

William Gross in the LaSalle net didn’t have much to do; he was called on to make just 15 saves.

“Puck movement I think was really good tonight,” said LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner. “We’re coming of a pretty tough stretch where we haven’t scored a ton of goals. We were pinned in our (defensive zone) a lot the past two games and it’s good to see them play the way they did tonight.”

St. Joseph’s Prep coach David Giacomin saw his team fall to 6-14 overall and 1-6-1-0 in conference. The veteran coach was less upset with the result than he was his team’s seeming lack of emotional energy.

“I see good things out of these kids at times,” he said. “And for whatever reason, we go through these games where they just seem to not care.

“And to me, that’s the frustrating part. Once one goal is scored, or a second goal is scored, it’s almost like they give up. And so it’s very frustrating for a coach who puts in a lot of time and effort and practice with them to have them come out and not handle adversity well.”
St. Joseph’s Prep 0 1 0—1
LaSalle 3 3 3—9
First-period goals: Daniel Sambuco (L) from Michael Casey and Jan Olenginski, 5:43; Oleninski (L) unassisted, 6:15; Lipkin (L) from Casey and Olenginski, 15:24 (sh).
Second-period goals: Sambuco (L) from Lipkin, 3:32; Lipkin (L) from Fabrizio Mazzarelli and Sambuco, 8:27 (pp); Evan Cassidy (SJP) from Vincent Bogessi, 8:59;Nathan Benner (L) from Nolan Woudenberg, 12:48.
Third-period goals: Max Levenberg (L) from Ryan Walsh and Zach Baker; Bryan Evans (L) from Woudenberg and Ryan Ferry, 11:36; Mazzarelli (L) from Baker and Lipkin, 14:03.
Shots; St. Joseph’s Prep 16, LaSalle 43; Saves Dan McGill (SJP) 16 and Troy Stefano (SJP) 18, William Gross (L) 15.

LaSalle Hitting The Road


The LaSalle hockey team is heading to Rhode Island after Christmas. The Explorers will be making their annual post-Christmas trek to Woonsocket, Rhode Island to compete in the annual Mount St. Charles Academy tournament.

The eight-team tournament gets underway on Thursday, December 27 and runs through Saturday the 29th. The single-elimination tournament features a consolation bracket

I think it comes at a great time every year for guys to get closer together as teammates,” said LaSalle coach Wally Muehlbronner. It’s our only time when we travel and spend time as a team throughout the season.

“The way the tournament is set up, we play three games, one game a day which is great. there is a lot of downtime where the guys can really get together and grow as a team.”

The tournament features an elite field. “The same eight teams have been going there a long time, Meuhlbronner said.

LaSalle’s first-round opponent will be Bishop Hendricken of Rhode Island Thursday night.


LaSalle Bests Malvern Prep


WEST GOSHEN— It wasn’t exactly a rerun. But LaSalle faced down a challenge from Malvern Prep and went on to a 6-3 win over the Friars Monday night in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference matchup at Ice Line.

Sam Lipkin scored three goals and assisted on two more as the Explorers ran their conference record to 5-0 (6-2 overall). It was LaSalle’s second win over Malvern Prep (5-2, 2-2) in 11 days; the Explorers shut out the Friars 4-0 on November 30.

LaSalle coach Wally Meuhlbronner fielded a team that was at less than full strength; due to some absences he utilized three lines rather than four. But it didn’t seem to matter.

“We were a little bit short,” he said. “But the guys really worked hard. They managed their shifts well, kept their shifts short, so I was very happy with the way they played.”

Malvern Prep netminder Dan Dougherty kept his team in the game for most of two periods. The senior made 14 saves in a scoreless first period and when on to make 37 in the game.

“Every year that he’s been in net that we’ve played against them he’s been strong,” Meuhlbronner said.

LaSalle took control of the game early in the second period by scoring two goals in just 20 seconds. Lipkin opened the scoring by tipping in a rebound of Dan Sambuco’s original shot at the 47-second mark before Sambuco himself made it a 2-0 game at 1:07.

But the Friars got back in the game when Jack Constabile scored a shorthanded goal at the 5:34 mark after the Explorers coughed up the puck in their own zone.
That was as close as the hosts would come. Lipkin scored a shorthanded goal of his own and Brandon Leer made it a 4-1 game with 2:31 left in the period.
Jan Olenginski extended the LaSalle lead 5:47 into the third period.

LaSalle defenseman and captain Zach Baker cited the balance in the lineup as a key to the team’s success. “Everyone has energy, everyone is always ready to play,” he said. “We always support each other, which keeps us going. We have a lot of guys with a lot of energy who are always ready to go.”

Harrison Campbell brought the Friars closer by scoring two third-period goals, the first on a slapshot at 11:26 and the second on a power play at 15:24.

Lipkin completed his hat trick by scoring into an empty net with 27 seconds left in the game.

Malvern coach Dave Dorman noted that his young team had trouble dealing with LaSale’s speed. “It’s real simple,” he said, “we have to get better.

“We’re asking a lot from some of our younger guys. And they’ll be fine, we’ll get back to work. We’ll be fine, but we’ve got to learn to play that pace from the very first puck drop.”
LaSalle 0 4 2—6
Malvern Prep 0 1 2—3
Second-period goals: Sam Lipkin (L) from Dan Sambuco and Michael Casey, :47; Sambuco (L) from Casey, 1:07; Jack Constabile (MP) from Kenny Connors, 5:34 (sh); LIpkin (L) from Casey, 8:26 (sh); Brandon Leer (L) from Lipkin, 13:29.
Third-period goals: Jan Olenginski (L) from Lipkin, 5:49; Harrison Campbell (M) from Matt Harris and Nick Martino, 5:49; Campbell (MP) from Quinn Dougherty and Martino, 11:26 (pp); Lipkin (L) unassisted, 15:33 (empty net).

Shots: LaSalle 43, Malvern Prep 25; Saves: Aidan McCabe (L) 22, Dan Dougherty (MP) 37

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