La Salle wins first boys hockey title in 38 years + Gallery
PROVIDENCE — The wait is over for La Salle hockey fans.
After waiting 38 years La Salle finally had a chance to celebrate a state championship on Monday night as the Rams captured their first state crown since 1977 with a 4-1 victory over Hendricken in the third game of their best-of-three state title series at Brown’s Meehan Auditorium.
La Salle took the lead 46 seconds into the game and never gave it up as the Rams rode the outstanding goaltending of senior Tyler Walsh, the tournament MVP.
“From Day One of this season, actually from the first day of tryouts four years ago, this was our dream. This is what we always wanted,” Walsh said about himself and six senior teammates who played a major role in the title drive.
La Salle had won the first game, 3-1, on Friday night, but Hendricken forced Monday’s night winner-take-all showdown with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory on Saturday.
“For four years we have worked hard together,” Walsh said. “We are more brothers than friends.
For the second time in the series one of those seniors, Joe Manown, gave the Rams a 1-0 lead with a goal in the first minute of play.
In the first game of the series on Friday night Manown scored 26 seconds after the opening faceoff. On Monday night he converted a goal-mouth pass from senior linemate Tyler Glick off a two-on-break.
“The start is more important than you think it is. It’s only one goal, but it’s electrifying on your bench,” said La Salle coach Mike Gaffney. “When you get in a big game like this you need a little confidence. When all of a sudden one of your mates goes down and puts one in. It’s very important.”
La Salle made it 2-0 with just under three minutes to play in the opening session when senior Ryan Tracy blasted a shot into the lower right side from about 25-feet out. It was the first time in the series that either team had a two-goal lead in the first 44 minutes of the 45 minutes of regulation play,
“The whole team was outstanding, but I believe you only go as far as your seniors will take you,” said Gaffney. “That’s not only in this series, but through practice and the ups and downs of a season. How you listen in the locker room or how you don’t listen in the locker room. That all goes with the senior leadership on the team.”
It was starting to look like the Rams would carry the two-goal advantage into the third period as Walsh, who gave up only four goals in the three games, was turning in another strong performance.
But La Salle drew a penalty late in the second session and Hendricken converted its first power play of the tourney when Reilly Miller scored from a scramble on the left side with 2:55 to play in the second period.
But despite a 28-13 shot advantage, Hendricken still trailed 2-1 going into the final period.
That was enough for the Rams to carry home the championship. Walsh finished with 36 saves and the senior defensive trio of Nick Altieri, Ryan Kelly and Ben Aldrich did an outstanding job of keeping Hendricken from getting second chances.
La Salle took a 3-1 lead just over a minute after the start of the third period when Matt Manown, Joe’s younger brother, lifted the puck over a group of sprawling players into the netting at the top of the goal. The puck immediately bounced back out on the ice, but the referee behind the net ruled it was a goal.
“They made it so easy for us as coaches,” Gaffney continued about the Senior Seven.
The La Salle fans in the standing-room-only crowd were already celebrating when Joe Manown upped the score to 4-1 with an empty-net goal with eight seconds to play. The goal was Manown’s fourth of the series.
First period — LS, Joe Manown (Tyler Glick, Ryan Kelly) 0:46; Ryan Tracy (Evan McGreen) 12:48. Penalties — LS 1-2.
Second period — H,Reilly Miller (Bryce Dolan, Patrick Creamer) 12:05 (pp). Penalties — LS 3-6, H 3-6
Third period — LS, Matt Manown (Nicholas DiMuccio, Nick Altieri) 1:08; J. Manown (unassisted); 14:52 Penalties — LS 1-2
Saves — Tyler Walsh, L, 13-15-8 — 36; Matt Kenneally, H, 7-6-9 — 22.
Visit us at www.destinationhometown.com for more local news.
Visit www.providencejournal.com for more information