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Malvern Prep Friars Bring Home Ice Hockey State Championship Title for the First Time in 16 Years

The Malvern Prep Friars (East) paired with the North Allegheny High School Tigers (West) for the AAA Division Pennsylvania State Championship game on Saturday, April 24. The event took place at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex located outside of downtown Pittsburgh, PA. While the Tigers returned to championship ice after losing to La Salle College High School the year prior, it’s been 16 years since the Malvern Prep Friars laced up their skates for a state title game. The long-hoped-for event landed in the Friars' favor after succeeding 4-2 against the Tigers in the championship competition.

The Friars buckled up for a seemingly adverse ride after Tiger, Nate Spak, swooped down in face of Friar goaltender, Anthony Perti '22, to knock one in just three minutes into the game. Friar defenseman, Quinn Dougherty '22, pushed pressure towards the Tigers zone with Josh Bailey set in goal as Jeremy Jacobs '24 puck found its way to Dougherty’s stick for a propped shot between the bars.

“North Allegheny came out fast and we came out flat. It took us a few shifts to find our stride. Once we settled down and played our system, we started to play like we have all season.” said Friar’s head coach, Bill Keenan.

Less than 30 seconds passed when the Friars found that rhythm, and Jack Costabile '21 matched his position on center ice with Bailey who fell short of protecting the net from Costabile’s line drive shot to the left corner. Costabile followed up on his tie-breaking goal two minutes later when he sent one between the bars to put the Friars up 3-1 heading into the second period.

“We definitely came out strong. We knew that we had to keep playing to put the puck in the net, and we are good at getting rebounds so that’s how we scored most of our goals. It feels good going out as a winner.” said Jack Costabile after the game.

The offensive propulsion commenced after back-to-back goals were completed by Jimmy Kirk '21 for the Friars and Connor Chi for the Tigers. With 14:20 left in the game and a 4-2 score, the Tigers couldn’t pick up the pace to get in goal. After multiple slapshots that skid off the bars, the Tigers slowed down and accepted the defeat of the Friars. 

“Being a part of a state champion is a special moment for these boys. We set a goal in the beginning of the season to win a Flyers Cup Championship and a State Championship. To hear the final buzzer sound and watch those boys celebrate, showed all the hard work paid off.” said Keenan reflecting on the big win.

The Friars gathered on the ice at the sound of the final buzzer as their faces lit up the rink with pride. The Friars and Tigers' blood, sweat, and tears were left out on the ice that evening, both teams wishing to redeem those feelings again next season.