WEST GOSHEN — It truly was a special night for Malvern Prep’s Joey Abel.
It wasn’t another thrilling game-winning goal in the dying seconds of a game, but instead it was the senior notching his 99th, 100th and 101st points in his high school hockey career.
And it all happened on Senior Night.
“It feels amazing,” Abel said. “I’ve been with Malvern four years and couldn’t have asked for a better high school experience. To get 100 points on Senior Night is really something special.”
Abel had a goal and two assists in a 7-5 win over West Chester Henderson (5-9-1) Friday night at Ice Line, but he wasn’t the only senior to get his name on the scoresheet.
Senior forwards Skylar Davis and Patrick Kavanaugh also had points in the game.
“I give a lot of credit to the seniors,” said freshman Nicholas Martino. “They kept us in it and kept us positive on the bench and kept us focused. They lead the way all the time.”
The senior leadership needed to be on par Friday night as Malvern (8-7-2), after taking a 4-1 lead, watched it slip away in the second period as both Henderson and the referees got under the Friars’ skin.
“We came out strong in the first and were playing our game and in the second period, we were letting the players on the other team and refs get to us,” Abel said. “We were focusing more on things outside our control zone than what we should have and we weren’t really focused on the game.”
As Martino acknowledged, the blame wasn’t entirely on the opposition and officiating.
“We kind of put it on ourselves,” he said. “We lost some control, but that’s what the older kids are for. They have experienced a lot more than we have. (Henderson) got under our skin a little bit, but we fought through the adversity and the coach helped us out, too.”
Malvern was able to reign itself back in and took control over again in the third, scoring two quick goals 84 seconds apart from Martino and Abel, and breaking the 4-4 tie late in the game.
An empty-net, short-handed goal from Kavanaugh sealed the win for the Friars.
“We definitely faced some adversity in the second,” Abel said. “To know that we can get through that adversity, even though we caused some of it, and fight to finish and pull out that ‘W’ is just a great feeling.”
Though it was Senior Night, some of the younger players were stilling a bit of the spotlight.
Freshman Sean Danahy filled in for starter Matthew Hollingshead in net, making 25 saved on 30 shots, including a breakaway by Henderson’s Jarrett Slear in the first period.
“Seany gets me a little frustrated in practice,” Abel said. “He’s pretty good. I like to take some breakaways on him and it shows in the games, like when he stopped a couple tonight. He’s really good at coming out and cutting down the angle, which is really impressive for a small goalie like him. He did a good job and we’re proud of him.”
Martino and fellow freshman Gabe Malek have also stepped up for Malvern since the first game of the season.
Malek had the first goal of the game while Martino tallied two of his own, along with two clanks on the pipe which were inches from going in.
“It’s actually amazing to have a couple of these kids step in right away and play as phenomenal as they have,” Abel said. “It’s just a testament to them and their hard work throughout their hockey careers to be able to show what they can do at this level.”