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ICE HOCKEY: La Salle Culminates Season with Three Trophies Added to the Case

By Jeremy Goode Photos: Zack Beavers, 04/02/23, 9:00PM EDT


Photos/Videos: Zack Beavers & Jeremy Goode

By: Jeremy Goode

COLMAR, PA – The 3A Flyers Cup championship game required an additional six minutes of overtime before Chase Hannon of the La Salle College High School Explorers scored the winning goal to defeat the Holy Ghost Prep Firebirds 2-1, to win the Flyers Cup on Mar. 21 at Hatfield Ice in Colmar, Pennsylvania.

“It was an intense game for both teams,” La Salle hockey head coach Wally Muehlbronner said. “It was a great high school hockey game and it was a shame that one team needed to lose.”

If there were ever a game to end in a tie, this one would be it. What was billed as a championship game amid two high schools in the greater Philadelphia area turned into a chess match throughout the 58 minutes of game time that took place.

La Salle defeated Holy Ghost Prep 2-1 to take home the 2023 Flyers Cup championship - PSD Photo by Zack Beavers

The first period was scoreless. Holy Ghost Prep had the advantage throughout the first 17 minutes. They outshot La Salle 11-7, maintained the puck for the majority of the period, and kept the puck mostly in the Explorer’s zone.

Landon Stout had several hard shots on net that were saved by Explorers’ goalie, Aries Carangi, throughout the first period. Ryan Lippy had a quick shot on net that was saved at the last second. Patrick Slook took a shot that looked threatening off his stick and was deflected to the back side of the boards. For La Salle, Thomas Doucet and Hannon were able to get two solid shots on net, which Spike Mudrick smothered.

When asked about the slow start, Hannon was not shy in acknowledging the difficulties the Explorers experienced early on.

“I think it was the environment; it was the most packed we have ever had at a rink,” Hannon said. “So, I think there were a bunch of nerves running through some guys and that probably slowed us up a little bit.”

Early in the second period, Holy Ghost Prep captain Brady Baehser continued to add pressure on La Salle’s defense the best way he knew how: by skating the length of the rink with the puck, relying on his speed and jump cutting to have clear openings on net, keeping Carangi on his toes in having to save a few shots.

Baehser’s aggressiveness on offense very well could have sparked the Firebirds team. Off of a face off win, Johnny Seravalli scored his second goal of the Flyers Cup. The shot seemed to have snuck through Carangi’s vision because of a screen, giving Holy Ghost Prep a 1-0 advantage with 13:37 left in the period.

“I felt good and was trying to take it one shot at a time,” Carangi said. “The goal was hard to see a bit but I was able to move on from that.”

After the first goal, La Salle picked up the pace. Offensively, the Explorers began to find their own rhythm. Doucet, Hannon, and Matthew Giordano ripped several slapshots on net. All were saved, but there was a sense of offensive momentum brewing, especially after a rather passive first period.

Over eight minutes after Seravalli’s goal, Hannon was able to skate in from the blue line and put a shot by Mudrick on the upper left side of the net, knotting the game at one apiece with 5:11 remaining.

2023 Flyers Cup 3A Championship Highlights by Jeremy Goode & Zack Beavers:

A scoreless third period also could have been an indicator that the tides had shifted. Evan Golato was able to break through and challenge Mudrick a few times with shots of his own. Ryan Wiley almost put one through the posts less than two minutes into the period. There were several flurries in front of Holy Ghost Prep’s net in which La Salle came inches from going up one score. At the end of the period, the Explorers had cut into the Firebirds shots on goal, and after 51 minutes Holy Ghost Prep recorded 31 shots to La Salle’s 30.

In overtime, both the Explorers and Firebirds traded offensive possessions and shots. After a Golato pass to Ryan Desmond in front of the net that was blocked by Mudrick, Golato retrieved the rebound and passed to Hannon, who would break through again, lifting a shot into upper right corner past Mudrick at 10:43. The goal crowned La Salle as the 3A Flyers Cup champions.

After stopping 34 of 35 shots, Hannon mentioned how crucial Carangi has been in front of the net for this Explorers team. He added that Carangi’s play helps the entire roster play better.

“Knowing that you have a goalie behind you that’s going to stop basically every puck is great and you have the ultimate confidence out there on the ice,” Hannon said.

For Carangi, it was just another opportunity to do what he does and enjoys best, stopping pucks in front of the net.

“I just try my hardest, that’s what it comes down to,” Carangi said. “I take it one game at a time, one shot at a time. I just want to win.”

This was the second trophy the Explorers earned this season. After winning the APAC conference earlier in the month, La Salle was awarded the number one seed in the Flyers Cup AAA division. It was consistently noted how the team is where they are due to the commitment they placed on themselves before the season.

“They bought into understanding that for them to win, they would have to do it as a team,” Muehlbronner said. “Everybody had to put their egos aside and just get after it as best they could as a team.”

From a player’s perspective, Hannon agreed.

Chase Hannon was beyond happy to walk away with the 2023 Flyers Cup Championship trophy - PSD Video by Jeremy Goode

La Salle goalie Aries Carangi said his pre-championship nerves subsided as soon as he got to the rink - PSD Video by Jeremy Goode

“This year, we all decided to buy in as a team; pull in the same direction…” Hannon said. “Lots of practice, team dinners, team hangouts; we just bonded and that’s what you need to have a winning team.”

Carangi mentioned that work ethic and finishing the job for this years’ senior class was extremely important to the team. 

They wanted to develop the sense of brotherhood everyone on La Salle feels for each other.

“Coach really made us have a good work ethic all year and we definitely went with that,” Carangi said. “I think a lot of our guys who are seniors this year lost in overtime our sophomore year and for us this was our last shot and we really wanted to win.”

The win pushed La Salle on to the Pennsylvania State Finals hosted in Pittsburgh against the 3A winner of the Penguins Cup, Peters Township on Saturday, March 25th for the AAA Class State Championship.

The Explorers would breeze by comfortably, winning 7-3, giving them three trophies on the season, winning the APAC Founder’s Cup, the 3A Flyers Cup and the 3A Pennsylvania State championship.  

Muehlbronner emphasized why this game meant so much to him and the team as they reflect in the years to come.  

“I think it was a character win. I think it really signified how we grew as a team,” Muehlbronner said. “They wanted to win for each other. It wasn’t always pretty but they got the job done.”