WEST GOSHEN — Same story, different opponent.
“It’s just a complete lack of discipline,” said Malvern assistant coach Dave Defusco. “We’re young — as in being together — from a coaching staff standpoint and a team. It’s going to get fixed now.”
For the second time this season, Malvern (4-0 overall) took eight penalties in the game — including two 5-on-3’s — and is something the coaching staff knows has to be fixed now before it catches up to them and costs the team a win.
“We have meetings that we’re going to set up and the kids are going to skate a lot,” Defusco said. “There might not be many pucks in our near future at practices.”
What couldn’t be overshadowed was another phenomenal performance from sophomore goaltender Matthew Hollingshead and his defense, which shutout the opposition for the second consecutive game.
“It’s mostly my defense,” Hollingshead said. “They’re keeping shots to the outside and I’m seeing a lot of the shots so I can make the saves.”
It could have been tough for the Friars playing Princeton Day, who is in a conference outside of Malvern.
But for the Friars, who play in a small Prep Conference, they are used to those outside match-ups.
“It takes a while to figure out the players and the match-ups,” Defusco said. “Fortunately, there are three of us (coaches) and we work hard on that and we come in prepared so that it doesn’t take too long.”
As added help for the defense, Hollingshead is a vocal goaltender, talking to the players in front of him.
“I’m always letting them know where the guys are if they’re on them,” he said.
Against an unknown team and with the parade to the penalty box, especially in the second period, the defensive style of play kicked in for Malvern.
“We came into this season as coaches talking about that our philosophy was going to be a defense first philosophy,” Defusco said. “We’re very fortunate to have the players to back that up.
Despite Malvern giving up numerous power-play opportunities, Hollingshead remained cool and collected in net.
“I usually try to stay calm and a lot of the shots I’m seeing, so I’m able to make the saves,” he said. “I’m able to keep the rebounds where my defense can play them.”
Though that’s not to say the offense didn’t chip in as senior Jack Hagan scored just 1:21 into the game and junior forward Joey Abel potted one short-handed late in the period.
In an odd sequence, Malvern tacked on one more in the second.
It looked as though a save had been made by Princeton and the whistle blew with no signal made by the referees. But somehow, the puck snuck through and even with the protests of Princeton players on the ice, the goal was awarded to junior forward Matt Pichola.
Though the team has run into some discipline problems, Malvern sits second in the conference (only due to three games being non-conference) with a sparkling 4-0 record and boasting arguably the best back-end in the Prep.
“Our defense has been very stout and have been working very hard and keeping us in the games. I can’t say enough about our goaltending. Matt Hollingshead has been unbelievable, as he was again today.”