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ICE HOCKEY: Familiar Foes Set to Take Center Ice, as La Salle and Holy Ghost Meet in the AAA Flyers Cup Final

By Jeremy Goode Photos: Kathy Leister, 03/20/23, 9:15PM EDT



Tomorrow evening at 8:30 p.m., La Salle College High School will face-off against Holy Ghost Prep in the AAA Flyers Cup championship at Hatfield Ice. The game will be a rematch of the APAC championship, in which La Salle defeated Holy Ghost Prep 7-3 earlier this month.

Tickets for the game must be purchased at

See AAA Flyers Cup semifinal stories below by PSD’s Jeremy Goode to prepare for the championship!

GAME #1: Holy Ghost Prep Prevails in Overtime Semifinal Clash Against St. Joseph’s Prep

Photos: Kathy Leister

By: Jeremy Goode

It is believed that the expression “desperate times call for desperate measures” originated with the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates. Whether or not the Holy Ghost Prep hockey team had biology class the day of their semifinal AAA Flyers Cup against St. Joseph’s Prep, they certainly applied Hippocrates’ theory, as the Firebirds came back twice to defeat the Hawks in overtime, 3-2, with a game winning goal by defensemen Johnny Seravalli. Holy Ghost will face La Salle in the championship game.

“When you play in such a great league that we do, any night anyone can beat anyone else,” Holy Ghost Prep head coach Gump Whiteside said. “I knew it was going to be tight early, and just told the guys to stay with it and find another level.”

2023 Flyers Cup AAA Semifinal Game #1 - Holy Ghost Prep vs. St. Joseph's Prep - Videos by Kathy Leister and Jeremy Goode:

The first period was scoreless, which was unfamiliar territory for both APAC squads. Holy Ghost Prep and St. Joseph’s Prep both traded off several scoring opportunities and shots, while ultimately being unable to convert in the first 17 minutes of competition. The Firebirds finished the period with 13 shots on net while the Hawks had 11 for themselves.

The second period was a continuation of the chess match that started in the first period. Holy Ghost Prep killed off several power plays. Besides their continuation of emphasizing defense, the Firebirds formed their own offensive run. 

Zachary Pers stole the puck in the Hawk’s zone and put a strong backhander on net, only to be denied by goaltender Rocco Bruno with 11:53 left in the second period.

Ronnie Seltzer would have an opportunity himself three minutes later. Seltzer parked himself next to the net and received a pass which beat Bruno in sliding over to cover Seltzer. Seltzer was unable to get a shot off, however, surprised that the puck got to him as quickly as it did.

The Hawks would then add pressure to the Firebirds, scoring a goal with 8:06 left in the second off a missed St. Joseph’s Prep shot. Joseph Samango tallied the goal and was assisted by Jake Schutlz. For Samango it was his fourth goal of the 2023 Flyers Cup. Even after several more chances for Holy Ghost Prep in terms of opportunities and shots on net, St. Joseph’s Prep went into the third up 1-0.

When asked if the Holy Ghost Prep team had a bit of a hangover from their 10-1 thumping of Cardinal O’Hara from the week before, Seravalli thought there was some truth to that.

“We had the jitters for a little bit; it’s nerve wracking for some of the younger kids to play in a playoff game,” Seravalli said. “But we fought on and we got it.”

Down to potentially their last 17 minutes of the season, Holy Ghost Prep pushed it from the start of the period. The Firebirds recorded three shots on net in the first minute of action, and the team was able to keep its physicality up while keeping the puck in St. Joseph’s Prep’s zone for most of the first five minutes of the third period.

Less than five minutes in, the Firebirds were rewarded for their aggressive and desperate play, and Landon Stout was able to shoot one through to tie the game at one.

St. Joe’s Prep responded 37 seconds later on a Shane O’Neill goal. Not wanting to be outdone, Holy Ghost Prep followed with a goal a minute later by Shaun Moore to tie the game at two with 10:47 remaining.

“At break we told the guys they were playing really well, just got to stay with it and good things are going to happen,” Whiteside said. “It’s all positive, guys were good, guys were loose, and they played pretty well so credit to them.”

In addition to their offensive surge, Holy Ghost Prep turned to their goaltender, Spike Mudrick, to keep them in the game. Mudrick saved 25 of 27 shots, was tested several times on the breakaway, and never let the game get away from himself or his team.  

HGP senior John Seravalli said that scoring the winning goal was something he dreamed about as a kid - PSD Video by Jeremy Goode

HGP goaltender Colin "Spike" Mudrick said he was very confident coming into the semifinal vs. St. Joseph's Prep - PSD Video by Jeremy Goode

“In practice I have been working on staying calm during the one on zeros and I felt like that really helped me a lot,” Mudrick said. “I’d do anything to keep my team in this tournament, especially my head coach, Gump Whiteside.”

The last ten minutes of regulation saw both sides firing attempts to be the game-winning hero. There were several moments where Holy Ghost Prep would get a hard shot on net, with the puck bouncing eight feet in the air in front of the net. Brady Baehser had a few full-rink drives in which he was able to put a couple shots on net. After three periods, the game would be tied at two, with Holy Ghost Prep having the momentum with 40 shots, compared to St. Joseph’s Prep with 27.

It would not take long for Holy Ghost to wrap up the game in overtime -- a minute and 41 seconds to be exact. Seravalli was able to skate in on the left side and slap a shot hard to the side of Bruno through to the back of the net, sending Holy Ghost Prep to the AAA Flyers Cup championship game.

“This is something everyone dreams about,” Seravalli said. “When I was a kid, I would dream about winning it in overtime, so it was great.”

Whiteside noted how important senior leadership has been and how important the closeness of the team has been in translating to wins.

“They have confidence in one another and it’s been that way all year,” Whiteside said. “It’s a tight knit group and we feed off the 11 seniors who have been tremendous leaders throughout.”

The Firebirds have been a close-knit group all season, like a brotherhood. For Mudrick, the brotherhood of Holy Ghost Prep hockey goes beyond his teammates. 

“I’ve had two brothers go through Holy Ghost and I watched them play in this Flyers Cup tournament,” Mudrick said. “I remember sitting there on the glass waiting there for my turn; and here it is and now we are in the championship.”

GAME #2: Slow and Steady, La Salle Glides into Flyers Cup AAA Final

Photos: Kathy Leister

By: Jeremy Goode

A slow start for La Salle High College High School proved only to be a slight hiccup, as the Explorers shut out the Malvern Prep Friars 3-0 at Hatfield Ice Arena on Mar. 14, to move on to the AAA Flyers Cup championship game against Holy Ghost Prep.

“I thought Malvern came out pretty strong so we kind of reset for our second period and got right back on it,” La Salle goaltender Aries Carangi said. “I was not too worried… we had to adjust some things and that’s what we did in the second.”


An active first period between La Salle and Malvern Prep ended with the scoreboard showing a high number of shots on goal. The Explorers recorded 12 shots in the first period, while also saving nine shots. Several players were active offensively, as William Gregorio, Declan Kelly, Cam Ross, Julian Tarsi, and Chase Hannon all were able to put competitive shots on net, all of which were denied by Malvern Prep goalie, Brandon Novabilski.

While La Salle was unable to execute during the first period, head coach Wally Muehlbronner was not too concerned.

“That is kind of the way we are,” Muehlbronner said. “I think we were a little bit tight, we have a lot of guys in this situation for the first time and it is only natural that they were a little bit tight.”

The beginning of the second period would mirror the first. Charlie Kennedy was able to put a hard slap shot on net five minutes in that was kick saved by Novabilski. After Malvern Prep went on the power play at 10:43, La Salle would follow a minute and 29 seconds later, going to four on four. Kelly and Hannon would start the power play early with shots that deflected off Novabilski behind the net. James Carpenter also had a shot deflected by a Malvern Prep defender, after the shot had looked like it was a promising opportunity for La Salle at 8:22. 

Right as the power play ended for La Salle, the Explorers tallied a score breaking the scoreless tie. Evan Golato grabbed a rebound in front of the net and was able to finally get a shot past Novabilski with 7:13 remaining in the second period.   

Three and a half minutes later, La Salle would capitalize and widen their lead to 2-0 as Carpenter was able to take a full shot near the blue line that Novabilski was unable to track the entire way with 3:17 remaining in the period. With this goal, and with the way La Salle was defending Malvern Prep, it felt like the nail in the coffin. The remaining period saw no more goals, as La Salle would go into the third period up 2-0. Carangi would face another eight shots that period, putting him at 17-17 in save opportunities.

I think we just went back to doing what we try to focus on… keeping it simple, getting pucks to the net,” Muehlbronner said.

The final 17 minutes featured strong performances from everyone who skated for La Salle. The Explorers’ defensive lines held strong early and throughout the period. Hannon and Ryan Desmond attempted shots on net to more or less put the game out of the way.

Malvern Prep would go on the power play at 10:58, realizing that if there were any time to execute, it was now. After a Malvern Prep turnover, Kennedy took a quick slapshot to give La Salle a 3-0 advantage and the final score.

“It was a little bit of a slow start but we got ourselves together and moved the puck well throughout the end of the game and finished off well,” Carpenter said.

La Salle goaltender Aries Carangi said he was locked-in coming into the game vs. Malvern - PSD Video by Jeremy Goode

James Carpenter scored La Salle's second goal to give the Explorers' added momentum - PSD Video by Jeremy Goode

When summing up the game for La Salle, Muehlbronner noted a few aspects of his team’s performance that set it apart from Malvern Prep. He noted that Carangi was great in net, ultimately giving the team a lot of confidence. He also mentioned that the Explorers were able to establish their forecheck really well, which according to Muehlbronner was key to leading to both goals La Salle scored in the second period.

Carangi’s final shot line showed 22 saves on 22 shots, another shutout for the Explorers’ goaltender who had already recorded quite a few this season. While all units for La Salle have been plugged in, Carpenter acknowledged how Carangi’s performance in front of the net has been so vital for this La Salle team.

“It’s definitely great having a big guy like that in net,” Carpenter said. “He definitely saved us with huge saves… Had a few breakdowns this game but Aries was there to back us up.”

To Carangi, it was just another game in front of the net, while he also attributed much of his success to his defensive unit.

“I felt pretty locked in going into the game; I was ready to get to the rink and get to work,” Carangi said. “Our defense does a great job back there; clearing guys out in front of the net, picking up loose pucks and making it easy for me to see the puck.”

It was a pretty methodical game for La Salle. There were not many thrills or dominant moments offensively. The Explorers played simple, gritty hockey in which they were able to execute a few times; that was the difference maker in the game.

This could have been the result of the familiarity La Salle had with its opponent. Both teams compete in the APAC Conference and have faced off several times this season. Muehlbronner explained how the familiarity between both units influenced the game.

“We know each other pretty well and the games that we have had against them have been good, competitive games, so I expected nothing else,” Muehlbronner said.

It would be La Salle’s fifth win in a row, and they have grown accustomed to finishing games with the most goals. When asked about what it was about this team that often found itself on the winning end, Carpenter praised the culture that the team has established.

“We’re relentless,” Carpenter said. “We’re just keeping the puck well, keep getting pucks to the net, we never stop and keep going to the last whistle."