WEST GOSHEN — Malvern Prep knew what it had to do to advance itself to the next round of the Flyers Cup AAA tournament and came out and flying to the tune of a 7-0 shutout of Roman Catholic Monday night at Ice Line.
“It was awesome to get the first win and get some momentum going into the semifinals,” said Malvern defenseman Michael Churchvara. “I think it’s going to poise us for a good run this year.”
Though the opening Quarterfinals of the AAA tournament was delayed from March 5, the players didn’t mind the little layoff.
“It’s been nice to have a little break just to have some fun, relax and get all your bodies in shape,” Churchvara said. “I think everything’s going good — everybody’s healthy and ready to go.”
It also gave the team time to get in an extra practice and get the team in a proper mindset.
“It was great to get another practice under our belt and get some time to collect ourselves,” said Malvern head coach Dave Dorman. “With the snow, there was a little bit of that grey area of are we or are we not going to play, so that can kind of lead to some thoughts wandering. I was actually happy that that happened.”
During that time, Dorman and the rest of the coaching staff was able to sit down with the team and set forth a gameplan heading into the playoffs.
One that they hope will lead them to the championships.
“We had a good film session and meeting last week and we certainly have a road map for what our identity is and it’s just a matter of being able to execute it and sustain it for three periods,” Dorman said. “If we can do that, we’re as good as anyone. Hopefully moving forward, we’ll be able to pull it off.”
Malvern came out to a fast start, notching five goals in the first period, three of which came in a span of just 62 seconds.
“The was the gameplan,” Churchvara said. “Last time, we came out slow, but when we took it to them and grinded through it, we started playing as a team. That’s what we wanted to come out and do today.”
The coaches couldn’t be happier with the start their team had.
“They really bought in and came out and did exactly what was asked of them,” Dorman said. “For that, as a staff, we’re extremely proud of them.”
Unfortunately, the game began to shift in the second period when Roman Catholic seemingly changed from wanting to score goals to knocking players out of Malvern’s lineup.
Roman Catholic took 13 penalties in the second and third periods — including a charging misconduct and two unsportsmanlike conducts. And that was only what the referees caught.
But Malvern tried its best to keep from retaliating and instead scored two more goals on the power play.
“You really have to continue to hold them accountable and paint the big picture for them,” Dorman said. “If you’re able to do that and help them understand the bigger picture, you’ll be just fine. They did that tonight. They kept their cool when things were getting a little chaotic and I talked to them about leadership and that’s what leaders do.
“In the moment of chaos, they’re the ones remaining cool, calm and collected with coherent and a sober thought process.”
Though the penalties may have detracted from the game, what didn’t go unnoticed was the play of both Malvern goaltenders, who shared the shutout.
“Leading up to this Flyers Cup, (Hunter Swayze) is a senior and he has played absolutely fantastic, to the point where it made my decision difficult,” Dorman said. “He has played tremendous this season and I have just as much confidence in him as I do (Matthew Hollingshead). It was certainly great in that moment to get him in there.”
The Friars will face a tough test in the semifinals when they face No. 1-seeded Holy Ghost Prep, who they were unable to beat during the regular season.
“I think that we know who Holy Ghost is,” Dorman said. “It’s truthfully going to be a matter of who shows up and executes the gameplan from start to finish. There’s so much parity this year, anyone can win it. It will come down to who’s going to show up that night mentally, physically and emotionally and win that hockey game.”