Early season struggles continue for the Salesianum School Sallies (2-6-0), who were outpaced in territorial control, puck possession, and shots in a 4-1 defeat to the Holy Ghost Prep Firebirds (8-3-0, 1-0-0 ICSHL) on Thursday (Dec. 21) at the Grundy Ice Arena in Bristol, Pa.
The Firebirds controlled the offensive zone for nearly three-quarters of the game, and fired a barrage of early shots on Sallies netminder Graham Burke from the initial draw. After denying the first seven shots he faced, Burke gave up the first Firebirds goal at the 4:48 mark off the opening period when Timothy Wolfe tapped in the rebound of a Luke Aquaro centering pass from the right corner. Despite Sallies coach Brian LeBlanc electing to use his time out only 31 seconds later, Holy Ghost’s momentum could not be interrupted. Alex D’Angelo converted on a power-play give-and-go from Tommy McNulty at 7:36, firing a hard wrist shot over Burke’s glove from the right dot, and Aquaro increased the Firebirds’ lead to three with an unassisted top-shelf goal from the left dot at 13:51.
Ryan Kelly registered the lone goal for Salesianum at the 10:22 mark of the second period, knocking a rebound in from an initial Patrick Kelly shot originating from the right point. Eric Pohl responded for Holy Ghost with three minutes remaining in the middle frame, redirecting a Ryan LeGris slap shot past Burke.
The Firebirds nearly extended their lead to four in the second minute of the third period, when a Shane Stevens wrist shot from the mid-slot bounced off the right pipe. In all, Holy Ghost unloaded 44 shots on Burke, who responded with 40 saves. Holy Ghost goalie Sean Joyce registered nine saves on 10 shots in victory.
The Sallies travel to The Gardens Ice House in Laurel, Md. for the Steve Malley High School Showcase, to be held Dec. 26-28. They return to Inter-County Scholastic Hockey League action on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, when they travel to LaSalle. Their rematch with Holy Ghost is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 9, and will be aired on Delaware Hockey Night.