WEST GOSHEN — It doesn’t matter who the opposition is in front of Malvern Prep. No one seems to be able to stop the dominant roll the Friars are on as they tacked on their sixth win of the season, 5-1, over Unionville in a non-conference game Friday night at Ice Line.
Even when Malvern (6-0-0 overall) comes out of the gate a little off in its game, the players and coaches are able to pull the team back together and get back on the right track, as was the case Friday.
“We came out in today’s game and played a little individualistic and got ourselves into a little bit of trouble and allowed the team to hang around a little bit,” said Malvern head coach Dave Dorman. “(Unionville) is a real good, young team over there, but we need to make sure from the first puck drop that we’re playing together and we’re playing like a family first. When we do that, it’s a fun team to watch and it’s a fun style to play.
“Tonight, we got away from that a little bit. We talked to the kids in between periods and they did a nice job finishing the game and playing together.”
Things started coming together for Malvern in the second when junior forward Joey Abel tacked on two goals, with the second one coming off a give-and-go 2-on-1 between him and senior forward Brian Rawlins which left everyone in attendance and on the benches in amazement.
“Brian called for the puck up front, so I fed it to him, but I wasn’t expecting to get it back,” Abel said. “It got back to me and I didn’t know what to do so I gave it right back. He gave it back to me and it was just in the net. I don’t even know how it happened. It was just awesome. There’s just a lot of chemistry between me and Brian this year and it’s just working really well.”
From that point on, it was pure domination by Malvern Prep as they poured shot after shot at Unionville (4-4-1 overall) goaltender Michael Hansen and kept their own goalie, Matthew Hollingshead, from seeing too much action.
Though when the time did come for Hollingshead to step up, he was more than up to the task as he kept his shutout streak alive until the final 2:24 of the game when senior forward Matthew Kowash unleashed a rocket of a shot which beat him.
“It’s huge in the confidence role, especially as a defender (having Hollingshead),” said Malvern defenseman Josh Silvestri. “You know he’s got your back and you want to do everything you can to not put him in a position where he has to make a great play or something. But you know if something does happen, he’s got your back.”
Kowash’s goal was the first let in by Hollingshead since the first period of a game against La Salle on Nov. 12, ending his astounding shutout streak of 226:32.
“He’s just so incredibly focused,” he said. “He can go extended periods of time without a shot and just have a Grade A scoring chance against him and he’s just in the zone. He’s always focused, he’s committed to his craft. He really is that rare competitor that you don’t see as much in this day and age. He just loves the moment. He really does love having that moment.”
With everything rolling from top to bottom, Malvern isn’t looking to slow down anytime soon.
“We have real good goaltending this year and Hollingshead is playing great,” Silvestri said. “Our defense is playing really solid. Our freshman have stepped up and played really solid D. Our forwards are starting to get together and getting goals from both our first two lines and sometimes our third line is getting in there for a goal. It’s just real balanced and that’s how we’re beating these good teams.”