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LaSalle Advances to APAC Finals

By Rick Woelfel & APAC, 02/22/24, 4:00PM EST


La Salle 3 Holy Ghost Prep 1

In the end, there was little to choose between the two sides. A single surge separated them and that was enough.

Ben Falicki and Charlie Kennedy scored a pair of second-period goals 23 seconds apart and  La Salle went on to a 3-1 win over Holy Ghost Prep Wednesday evening in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference semifinal at the University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 1923 Arena.

The top-seeded Explorers (19-3) will host St. Joseph’s Prep in the conference championship game for the Founders Cup next Wednesday. The fourth-seeded Firebirds (11-13) will join them in the Class AAA Flyers Cup tournament the week of March 4.

The two goals which gave the Explorers the upper hand came after over 31 minutes of scoreless hockeyThe first two periods were defined by their physicality. There was one penalty called inn the first period and six more in the second but referees Eric Michaels and Laura White allowed a good amount of physical play to go uninterrupted and neither team backed away from banging bodies.

“I definitely think our team came out hard,” said La Salle goaltender Jake Rossi. “It’s just a different animal in the playoffs. Everyone in our league is going to be tough.”

 Ben Falicki ended the scoreless draw when beat Holy Ghost netminder Jack Unger on a shot from the left point with 2:48 left in the middle period. Charlie Kennedy made it a 2-0 game when he scored from the right circle just 23 seconds later.

Kennedy said he was confident goals would eventually come despite the absence of goals over the first half of the game,

“Definitely,” he said. “We were getting tons of opportunities and were coming up short. We got [two] quick ones and that gave us a lot of confidence, moving the puck and stuff.”

The Firebirds may have been staggering at that point but they remained unbowed. Jake McCaw finished a rush by beating La Salle goaltender Jake Rossi with 35 seconds left in the period to make it a one-goal game with one period to go.

The only goal of the third period came off the stick of La Salle’s Dean Carvalho with 10 seconds remaining.

Holy Ghost Prep coach John Ritchie talked of what might have been.

“I haven’t quite figured out why some of those pucks didn’t go in for us,” he said. “Six on five [on power plays] we get two or three really good chances.and they just take wired bounces.

“But I’m super proud of my group.”

Holy Ghost Prep 0 1 0—1

La Salle 0 2 1—3

Second-period goals: Ben Falicki (L) from Grant LaGreca and Will Gregorio, 14:49; Charlie Kennedy (L) from Ryan Wiley and Patrick Brace, 15:12; Jake McCaw (HGP) from Michael Holt, 16:25

Third-period goal: Dean Carvalho (L) from Blake Baudelaire, 16:50

Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 27, La Salle 30; Saves: Jack Unger (HGP) 27, Jake Rossi (L) 26