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ICE HOCKEY: Father Judge Caps off an Excellent Season as PCL Champions

By John Knebels, 03/19/24, 12:45PM EDT


FATHER JUDGE 2024 ICSHL PCL CHAMPIONS (Photo/ Lennie Malmgren)

(Photos by Lennie Malmgren for PSD)



HAVERTOWN – They had hoped to be preparing for this week’s Flyers Cup championship, but a quarterfinal exit ruined those plans.

Father Judge’s ice hockey team, however, isn’t complaining.

As the Crusaders reflect on one of the school’s most successful seasons, the 5-1 Flyers Cup loss to Holy Ghost Prep on March 5 did not diminish their dominant 6-2 victory over Salesianum School in the ICSHL Philadelphia Catholic League championship February 29 at the Skatium in Havertown.

Still, some residual disappointment remains.

“Winning the PCL was definitely a great achievement, and it was really exciting for me and especially the seniors on my team,” said junior Owen Myers. “Although, I do think losing in the Flyers Cup just several days after did kind of take away from the fact that we won the championship.

“The Flyers Cup is definitely something that we wanted to advance in, but unfortunately, we didn’t. In all, it was great to be able to get that PCL championship, but we all wished we could’ve beat Holy Ghost in the Flyers Cup, because I truly believe if we got past that first round, we would’ve won it all.”

In the PCL championship played before a loud, enthusiastic crowd, the Crusaders (15-4-3 overall) started early and didn’t let up. Although Father Judge senior goalie Aidan Childs needed to stop 26 shots, few could be described as particularly dangerous.

By the end, DJ Otzi’s party-like rendition of “Hey Baby” – played over the intercom after every Father Judge goal – reverberated throughout the rink and probably carried into the packed parking lot as spectators returned to their cars.

The culprit? An avalanche of Father Judge offense in which a stunning 12 players contributed in the scoring column, highlighted by six different goal scorers. Junior Leo Reilly (goal, assist) and aforementioned Owen Myers (two assists) were the only players to accrue multiple points.

An unassisted goal by senior George Whitfield – taking advantage of a mental error by the Salesianum goalie – opened the scoring 5:30 into the first period.

Father Judge senior captain Devon Mallon talks about winning a PCL title, and then receives lots of love.(VIdeo/ John Knebels for PSD)

Assistant captain Owen Sherwin scored a very important goal to start the third period. (video/ John Knebels for psd)

Before the first period finished, senior Shawn Miller and sophomore Joe Mullin gave Judge a 3-0 lead before Sallies cut their deficit to 3-1 at intermission.

A goal by sophomore Jaiden Golden 2:33 into the second increased Judge’s lead to 4-1. With the Crusaders 15 minutes away from their first PCL title since 2020, along with avenging last year’s 4-3 overtime loss to Sallies in last year’s final, Judge coach Steve Meade stressed the importance of coming out aggressive in the third period.

His troops listened.

Goalie Aidan Childs made 26 saves in the most important game of his career. (video/ John Knebels for PSD)

Father Judge head coach Steve Meade could not be more proud of his team. (video/ John Knebels for PSD)

Only 1:39 into the final frame, Myers and Reilly set up senior Owen Sherwin for a backbreaking fifth goal. With the throng of Judge fans still celebrating, Reilly took a pass from Myers and found twine just 25 seconds later.

The final 13 minutes seemed to take forever, but when the horn sounded, the Crusaders jumped from the bench and mobbed each other for several minutes before ultimately receiving the PCL cup and periodically carrying it around the ice.

“I believe that winning the championship is still as important now as it was the night that we won,” said senior team captain Devon Mallon. “Although we did not get the outcome we wanted from the game against Ghost in the Flyers Cup, we were lucky enough to work hard and beat them earlier in the year during the Thanksgiving Classic game for the first time in nine years.

“We hold the championship close to our hearts. Before the season, we sat down and wrote down goals we had, with winning the Thanksgiving Classic, being first seed in the PCL, and winning the championship among the goals. We worked hard time after time to cross off each goal. Sadly, we were not able to cross off the Flyers Cup win. However, with many of the boys being seniors, we worked hard in two previous championships, losing in overtime both times.”

Father Judge players celebrate title with beloved team manager Kathy Gibson. (Video/ John Knebels for PSD)

Father judge vs. Salesianum Championship Highlights by Lennie Malmgren for PSD)

Showing their affection and respect during a postgame interview, players and fans kept hollering Mallon’s game. His responding beaming smile spoke volumes.  

“This year we had a special team,” said Mallon. “Each one of the guys played with heart and grit and we made our goals come true. We worked to make sure that this time, it was us holding the trophy out on the ice. Although we would have loved to continue further into the Flyers Cup, we are grateful to have been named the 2024 PCL champions.” 

(Contact John Knebels at or on Twitter @johnknebels.)

FATHER JUDGE ICSHL CHAMPIONS (PSD Photo Gallery by Lennie Malmgren)

(Click here for more photos by Lennie Malmgren from Father Judge's Championship Victory Match.)