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Holy Ghost Advances to Semi Finals

By Rick Woelfel & APAC, 02/21/24, 3:30PM EST


Holy Ghost Prep 5 Hun School 2

Holy Ghost Prep started fast on Tuesday and kept on going. A pair of first-period goals gave the Firebirds a 2-0 lead and propelled them to a 5-2 win over Hun School in the APAC play in game at Grundy Arena.

Fourth-seeded Holy Ghost Prep (11-12) earned a date with top seed and defending champion La Salle Wednesday at 4:00 at the Class of 1923 Arena at the University of Pennsylvania. Fifth-seeded Hun School closed its season at 4-11.

Having twice defeated the Raiders during the regular season, the hosts took the ice on Tuesday looking to set a tone. Pat Slook’s goal 3:12 into the opening period did just that.  Jack Gavaghan made it a 2-0 on a shot from the right point with 2:34 left in the period.

“We knew that if we just jumped on them, it we got one early, we could keep rolling through them,” Slook said. “The plan was to get pucks deep and go at them, work in the corners and just grind out. Getting that first goal was a big one early.”

Nathan Romer and Caine Bickel added power-play goals for the Firebirds in the second frame, just over five minutes apart.

Special teams were impactful for much of a game that featured 12 minor penalties, six to each side.

A.J. Prete made it a 5-0 game 2:20 into the third period and the Firebirds seemed to have things well in hand.

At that point the Raiders, who had just 14 skaters dressed, seemed to be running low on energy. Following Prete’s goal, P.J. Angotti replaced Julien Arseneault in the Hun School net

  But the visitors never stopped working and their effort paid off when Charles-Etienne Jette got the puck past Firebird netminder Jack Unger 5:35 into the final session. Joachim Neverdahl added a shorthanded goal just shy of four minutes later.

Hun School coach Eric Szeker celebrated his young team’s work ethic.

“My guys gave it everything they had,” he said. “Fatigue, whatever it might be, they made no excuses.

“We came out in the third when everything was against us and we still put a great effort out. That tells you about the [team] more than the score will.”

Holy Ghost Prep coach John Ritchie notes there is still work left to do as his team evolves.

“We gave up a couple breakaways late in the second period,” he said. “A young team starts to cheat a little bit when they have some success offensively and I thought we did that. It ended up hurting us.”

With the ‘second season’ now underway, Slook is encouraged by the progress he and his teammates have made over the course of the campaign.

“We grew as a team,” he said. “I think we hit a few speed bumps along the way but I think we just stayed together as a team and worked through it, and I think we’re in pretty good shape for the playoffs.”

Ice chips: Nine Hun School players concluded their high-school careers this season … The Holy Ghost Prep-La Salle game will be the first game of an APAC semifinal doubleheader matching Malvern Prep and St. Joseph’s Prep. is scheduled for a 6:15 start.

The results of the playoffs will not impact Flyers Cup tournament seedings.

Hun School 0 0 2—2

HGP      2 2 1—5

First-period goals: Patrick Slook (HGP) from Jake McCaw, 3:12; Jack Gavaghan (HGP) from Andrew Morgan and A.J. Prete, 14:26

Second-period goals: Nathan Romer (HGP) from Caine Bickel, 2:30 (pp); Bickel (HGP) from Colin Bara, 7:41 (pp);

Third-period goals; Prete (HGP) from Joseph Kaufmann, 2:20; Charles-Etienne Jette from Andrew Darst, 5:35; Joachim Neverdahl (HS) from Justin Laplante and P.J. Angotti, 9:25 (sh);

Shots: Hun School 21 Holy Ghost Prep 39; Saves: Julien Arseneault (HS) and P.J. Angotti (HS) 34, Jack Unger (HGP) 19