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St. Joseph’s Prep wears down Lansdale Catholic in PCL semifinals

PHILADELPHIA >> Lansdale Catholic scored three goals in a two-minute span at the end of the first quarter to take a one-goal lead into the first break in the Philadelphia Catholic League semifinals against St. Joseph’s Prep Friday afternoon.

Unfortunately for the No. 3 seeded Crusaders, that momentum did not continue. The No. 2 seeded Hawks dominated the rest of the game and walked away with a 16-6 win at Brady Field in Philadelphia.

The Prep will face No. 1 La Salle in the championship game Monday at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School at 6 p.m.

Lansdale Catholic’s Joe Walsh scored two of his team-high four goals in the first quarter. The second gave the Crusaders a 3-2 lead with 23.6 seconds until the horn sounded.

That advantage lasted less than two minutes. Prep’s Pat Boyd tied the game at the 10:34 mark and less than three minutes later Jake Gross put the Hawks ahead for good.

The Prep peppered six goals home compared to zero for LC in the second quarter to take an 8-3 lead into the half.

“We didn’t change too much,” Prep coach Sean DeLaney said of the second-quarter success. “I think our guys were just trying to get settled into the game. I know the heat was a little bit of an issue. I think the guys were just slightly nervous and once they relaxed after that first quarter we just stuck to our game-plan. They had some good shooters that made some good shots early.”

Lansdale Catholic’s Grady Kelly tries to beat St. Joseph’sPrep’s Mike Browne and Chris Conquest to a loose ball during their PCL semifinal on Friday, May 19, 2017. (Rick Cawley/For Digital First Media)

“The game-plan didn’t change through the entire game,” LC coach Thomas Nace said. “It was more the fact that our guys ran out of steam. Our bench is like a third of the size of (Prep’s), if that, and we’re nursing a lot of injuries right now. As the game went on, subbed more guys in. The game-plan remains the same but it’s a little bit less fluid. We came out and executed exactly like I talked about in practice yesterday and I thought it was a good start for us … I was happy with their performance in the first quarter, but I knew with the heat and the turf we’d slow down tremendously and unfortunately our depth caught us today.”

It was more of the same in the third quarter. St. Joe’s Zach Snider scored in the first 22 seconds and Finn Monohan in the final 15 seconds to bookend a 12-minute span in which the Hawks out-scored the Crusaders, 5-1, to make it a 13-4 game.

“We were a little bit sloppy with our groundballs out of the faceoffs,” Nace said of LC’s struggles after the first quarter.

“Sloppy, forced passes. Trying to make things happen, trying to play catch-up a little too soon once the score started to break apart then the game-plan started to break down. Mostly because we were trying to pull goals out of thin air.”

The teams traded goals in the fourth, with the Prep winning the quarter, 3-2, to put the finishing touches on a 16-6 Hawks win.

Eric Scheuerle led St. Joe’s win four goals, Boyd had three and Brad Ehrlich and Monohan each scored twice. Monohan added a team-high three assists and Kevin Ortlieb had a pair. Goaltender Nick Cissone stopped 13 of the 19 shots on goal.

Lansdale Catholic’s Nick Heiler gets off a shot despite heavy St. Joseph’s Prep defensive pressure during their PCL semifinal on Friday, May 19, 2017. (Rick Cawley/For Digital First Media)

Nick Heiler and Ryan Flanegan each scored a goal for LC in addition to Walsh’s four tallies. Mike Basilii had two assist and Danny Dutkiewicz had one. Bobby Bausman stopped 17 of the 33 shots on goal.

Prep will face La Salle for the league championship Monday after the Explorers beat Archbishop Wood, 17-4.

“We lost to (La Salle during the regular season),” DeLaney said. “They’re an unbelievably talented team. We’re going to make some changes based on the first game and see what happens on Monday.”

Lansdale Catholic’s shot at a Catholic League title is over, but they still get to play for the District 12 Class-AA championship and a trip to states. The Crusaders will face Mastery Charter Monday at Northeast High School in the semifinals and expect to meet Wood in the championship Wednesday.

“We’re looking forward to that,” Nace said. “We’re worried about the injuries, wanted to rest up — really stressed about that, but we handled Wood earlier this year and Carroll again when we played them in the (PCL) quarterfinals. So we’re not adverse to seeing another team in a second-chance game. We’re definitely looking forward to Monday and Wednesday.”

St. Joseph’s Prep 16, Lansdale Catholic 6
Lansdale Catholic    3 0 1 2 — 6
St. Joseph’s Prep            2 6 5 3 — 16
Goals: LC: Joe Walsh 4, Nick Heiler, Ryan Flanegan. SJP: Eric Scheuerle 4, Dan Maguire, Pat Boyd 3, Jake Gross, Brad Ehrlich 2, Kevin Ortlieb, Zach Snider, Joe Tobia, Finn Monohan.
Assists: LC: Mike Basilii 2, Danny Dutkiewicz. SJP: Jake Gross, Brad Ehrlich, Finn Monohan 3, Kevin Ortlieb 2, Pat Boyd.
Saves: LC: Bobby Bausman 17. SJP: Nick Cissone 13.


Top Photo: Lansdale Catholic’s Nick Heiler and St. Joseph’s Prep’s Eric Mulholland get tangled as they try to gain possession during their PCL semifinal on Friday, May 19, 2017. (Rick Cawley/For Digital First Media)

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