WEST GOSHEN — With the regular season winding down, a close, nail-biting win was what Malvern Prep needed to get back on track against conference opponents.
The Friars squeaked out the 2-1 win over St. Joseph’s Prep after playing a smart defensive game Thursday night at Ice Line.
“Our guys did a great job coming back on defense and really packing it in and taking care of our defensive zone,” said Malvern head coach Dave Dorman. “They did a really nice job securing the win. We have a couple of guys with some key blocked shots at the end which takes nothing more than some courage. Overall, a great job.”
Behind the defense, goaltender Matthew Hollingshead was once again on his game, standing on his head a few times to keep St. Joe’s off the board for almost the entire game.
No one was able to crack the sophomore until just over three minutes left in the game when St. Joe’s captain Anthony Giacomin backhanded one past him.
The goal only intensified an already heated, emotional game between the rivals.
“The emotional level was high on both teams,” Dorman said. “The intensity of the game was great, but I thought we did a really good job keeping our emotions in check and not taking any undisciplined penalties. If you do that against a team like St. Joe’s, they’ll put it in the back of your net.”
Malvern, who has gotten into some trouble earlier in the season with penalties, only took two penalties, albeit on top of one another to give St. Joe’s a 5-on-3, but the Friars were able to successfully kill both off.
“A lot of these games are won with special teams and our guys did a good job making sure we didn’t make this a special teams battle tonight,” Dorman said.
Instead, Malvern used it to its advantage with a 5-on-3 goal of its own, courtesy of junior Joey Abel.
After starting the season on an undefeated 6-0 run, Malvern stumbled a bit against other Prep going 1-3 until Thursday’s win.
The win was just what the team needed to get back on the right track with just three games left in the regular season.
“That’s what happens when you read your press clippings and you’re thinking you might be a little bit better than you are,” Dorman said. “It’s good to eat a little bit of humble pie every now and then and I think that’s the most important thing with this group — just understanding that the competition is entirely too close to take anything for granted and we need to make sure that we have our lunch box and our hard hats and we’re going to work.”