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ICE HOCKEY: Malvern Prep Gets Retribution, Advances Past St. Joseph’s Prep to Flyers Cup 3A Championship

By Zac Wilson , 03/15/24, 11:45PM EDT



WEST CHESTER, PA – The Malvern Prep Friars lean on goaltending, penalty killing to win an intense, low scoring game 3-1 over St. Joseph’s Prep to advance to the Flyers Cup 3A finals.

Matthew Crawford was excellent in net all night for Malvern Prep conceding the lone St. Joseph’s Prep goal with only a second to go and his team up 3-0. He made 35 saves on the night.

Malvern Prep junior goaltender Matthew Crawford #27 - PSD Photo by Michael Rosenthal

He was not the only dominant goalie in this game, Jacob Aranda did all he could to help his team advance to the finals making 33 saves of his own.

In front of a raucous crowd, Malvern Prep was ready to play right from puck drop. They fed off the energy from their student section all night and sent their fans home happy.

In the first period they were the enforcer controlling the pace of play for the majority of the frame. They used back-to-back St. Joseph’s penalties to break the deadlock.

After St. Joe’s was able to kill the first penalty of a 5 on 3, Malvern Prep forward Teague Murray hammered home a shot from the point to give the Friars a 1-0 lead with 4:49 left in the period.

They weren’t done there either. James Young took a seeing eye pass from teammate Logan Love in all alone and put a perfectly placed shot top shelf to give his team a 2-0 lead with 3:13 to go in the first.

Aranda was the more tested goalie in the first, facing 13 shots to just 3 St. Joseph’s shots, all of those were stopped by Crawford.

The second period was by far the Hawk’s best of the night. They were the more desperate team being down 2-0 and their play showed it.

They were able to find their footing and establish a consistent forecheck resulting in them firing 21 shots in the period, but once again Crawford was up for the task, stopping all of them.

Breakaway save by SJP's Jacob Aranda - PSD Video by Zac Wilson

Malvern Prep was well aware their middle frame was not to the level they expect of themselves.

“We kind of let our foot off the gas, we were happy we were able to get to the intermission still up two,” Crawford said.

St. Joseph's had three power plays in the middle frame but came up empty on all of them, not for lack of chances but every time they seemed close to breaking through, Crawford was there to shut them down.

Aranda was also great in the period making 14 saves, including three breakaways to keep his team within striking distance.

He and his teammates survived a late period press by the Friars, making three saves in the final minute of the second to keep his team down just 2-0 going into the third.

Down two was as close as St. Joseph’s would come tonight. They were given three more power plays in the third but Malvern Prep’s penalty killing unit was not going to be beaten. They made countless blocks putting their body on the line, sensing how close they were to the finals. They would finish the night a perfect 6-6 on the penalty kill.

The dagger came on an empty net goal from Henry Tesoriero with 1:35 left in the game on a great individual effort to navigate his way through six Hawks on the ice.

Tristin Winata was able to spoil the shutout for Crawford with 51 seconds left in the game, but this was too little too late and Malvern Prep is on their way to the Flyers Cup Finals.

Malvern goaltender Matthew Crawford said winning the flyers cup championship would be "the best memory of his life" - PSD Video by Zac Wilson

Malvern Prep celebrates 3-1 victory and a trip to the Flyers Cup 3A Championship - PSD Video by Zac Wilson

This is what Malvern Prep has been working towards all year long, and Crawford could not be more excited to do it with this group of guys.

“Winning a championship with them would be the best memory of my life,” Crawford said post game.

It will be a familiar foe that Malvern Prep will face in the Flyers Cup 3A finals. The Friars will face La Salle, a team they have already played twice this year. Revenge will be on the mind of the Friars after losing both games by scores of 4-1 and 3-0.

They will get that shot next week on March 20th. Both teams have been playing at their best in this tournament, having scored a tournament best 11 goals. Malvern Prep has only given up one goal in their two games while La Salle has held their opponents to just three in their two games.