May 4, 2004


Campanale carried Malvern Prep

“Without him, we absolutely don’t win another Flyers Cup, or state championship,” his coach says.

The incriminating tapes are hidden somewhere, and Malvern Prep’s Chris Campanale is trying to find them. They show a small child, a skating train wreck heading in one direction, unable to stop. That is how Campanale was introduced to ice hockey. There was a development across the street when he lived in Lansdale, Montgomery County, that had a gaping hole. That hole became a makeshift skating rink. Campanale borrowed a friend’s skates snug-fitting girls’ figure skates. The 6-foot, 185-pound senior left wing has since developed into one of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s most dominant players. This season, he led the Friars with 60 goals a single-season school record – and added 41 assists. With Campanale serving as team captain, Malvern Prep finished the season 37-3-3. Campanale was a key ingredient on a team that won its fourth straight Flyers Cup Class AAA title and its first state championship in 14 years. For his achievements, he is The Inquirer’s Player of the Year in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Campanale can look back at his stumbling start in the sport his parents videotaped him learning to skate as his foundation. “I think back on those times I was lucky enough to get a chance to play,” said Campanale, 18, a resident of Chester Springs, Chester County. “I didn’t play any other sports. “I was never really pushed or never had the pressure from my parents to play any sport. After my parents saw the commitment me and my brothers had to the game, they made a commitment to us. Hockey was what we liked.” Campanale started the season with one goal-winning a state title. He wanted more than the Flyers Cup. Malvern Prep defeated Mount Lebanon, 4-3, to capture the state crown. “I would have considered this year a disappointment if we didn’t win the state championship,” Campanale said. “We had a lot of people doubt whether or not we would even get back to the Flyers Cup championship after last year. “I remember what last year was like. We had a team meeting the day after the state championship,” he said, referring to the 5-4 loss to Meadville, “with the players coming back. It was the worst thing that happened, and I didn’t want it to happen again.” Motivated by that, Campanale dominated at times this season. In the Flyers Cup semifinals against Holy Ghost Prep, Malvern Prep trailed, 4-1, with eight minutes left in the second period, and Campanale was starting to feel a little desperate. He was afraid the season would end without Malvern Prep even winning a Flyers Cup title. Campanale then scored two goals in six minutes to pull the Friars within 4-3 entering the third period. He added an empty-net goal in a 6-4 win. “That game was where I think Chris really showed me what kind of a leader he was,” Malvern Prep coach John Graves said.

“Chris absolutely took the team on his shoulders and almost single-handedly won that game for us. If Chris doesn’t do that, we’re not state champions. “Chris is special because he eats, breathes, and lives hockey. He’s not into it for himself. He really enjoyed being part of a team. Without him, we absolute- ly don’t win another Flyers Cup or a state championship.” Against La Salle in the Flyers Cup title game, Campanale had a goal and two assists in Malvern Prep’s 5-1 win. “I don’t think I could predict any of this would have happened,” Campanale said. “I always thought I was the same big kid who was slow and couldn’t move very well, but after time, you could see the hard work pay off. “You could see over the course of the year, I started to gain confidence. You have to push yourself; it’s not always just about the game. There is a lot more behind it. I learned a lot this year. Leadership was probably one of the hardest things I learned.” The next step for Campanale is junior hockey. His ultimate goal is to land a Division I scholarship. “When that buzzer went off in the state championship, all the weight on my shoulders just fell off, and I couldn’t believe we did it,” Campanale said. “With my teammates, and with what we accomplished, there is a lot to remember. It’s definitely been the best time of my life.”

All-Area Team

All-Southeastern Pennsylvania Ice Hockey Team


Forward: Chris Brennan, Radnor, senior. Brennan was the Flyers Cup Tournament Class A most valuable player for the second straight season. He scored 35 goals, including two in Radnor’s 5-2 state championship victory over Serra Catholic. He will attend Rhode Island, where he will join his older brother, John, a sophomore for the Rams.
Forward: Chris Campanale, Malvern Prep, senior. Campanale scored a single-season school-record 60 goals in 42 games this season and added 41 assists. Campanale is receiving attention from a number of junior hockey league teams. He is The Inquirer’s Player of the Year.
Forward: Greg Mantz, Archbishop Carroll, sophomore. Mantz led the Patriots in scoring, with 37 goals and 45 assists in 38 games. Mantz was the MVP of the Flyers Cup Class AA tournament.
Defense: Matt Campanale, Malvern Prep, junior. Campanale. who graded the highest among the Friars’ defenders, also scored 13 goals. He finished with a plus-minus rating of 65.
Defense: Nick Ryder, Radnor, senior. He was on the ice for just four even-strength goals all season.
Goaltender: Bryan Mountain, Malvern Prep, freshman. He was the MVP of the Flyers Cup Class AAA tournament and posted a 16-2-1 record. He had four shutouts and a 1.51 goals-against average.


Forward: Shane Aldinger, Archbishop Carroll, Junior.
Forward: Ed Devine, Radnor, Senior.
Forward: Paul Worthington, Holy Ghost Prep, Senior.
Defense: Justin Rumsey, Archbishop Carroll, Junior.
Defense: Barry Goers, Council Rock North, Senior.
Goaltender: Ken Wochele, La Salle, Junior.

Other Awards

Team of the Year. After Malvern Prep lost in the state ice hockey Class AAA title game for the third straight time last season, Chris Campanale held a special team meeting. The Friars captain explained to his teammates the importance of getting a state title before they graduated, then guaranteed that they would. Malvern Prep finished the season with a record of 37-3-3 became the first four-time Flyers Cup champion and then snapped a 14-year drought by winning the state title, 4-3, over Mount Lebanon. For its achievements, Malvern Prep is The Inquirer’s ice hockey team of the year. “This was one of the most complete teams we’ve ever had here,” assistant coach Father Ed Casey said. “Everyone performed the roles they were supposed to do. It was a good chemistry situation, and at crunch time we always managed to get the job done.” The leadership of players like Campanale was key for Malvern Prep, as was a demanding schedule. Malvern Prep won the Gilmour Academy Tournament in Cleveland in mid-December and the Meadville (Pa.) Tournament in mid-January. “We played all of the best teams in the area, and we made sure we played out of the area to play tough competition,” coach John Graves said. “From our first team meeting, all the seniors set their sights on winning the state title. “We didn’t have kids missing practice; we didn’t have kids missing games. And it was one of the most rewarding years as a coach, just to see these kids having so much fun.”

Coach of the Year. Throughout the season, Bill Hammond never wavered. The Archbishop Carroll coach always believed in the Patriots, even when they started the season 2-5-1. Carroll went 18-3 the rest of the way and became the school’s first state championship team since 1981. It was the first state title for Hammond. Carroll upset powerful Peters Township, 4-2, in the Pennsylvania Cup Class AA state title game. Carroll finished the season 24-12-2 Hammond was so excited that he ran on the ice and almost flipped on his head. “I remember almost really losing it,” Hammond recalled, laughing. “I was so excited, 1 was flying high. It has to be the pinnacle point of my coaching career ever. “The bonding and chemistry of this team was unbelievable. We were losing the game by a goal. We were missing key players almost every game, because of their club commitment. I just knew the chemistry and the kids would come together. It was just a special group of kids.”

Goal of the year. No goal this season was more spectacular or came at a more crucial time than the one Radnor’s Chris Brennan scored in the Class A state title game against Serra Catholic. With Radnor clinging to a 1-0 lead, Brennan split two defenders and nudged the puck past Eagles goaltender Timmy Johnson for a 2-0 lead. “It was simply one of the greatest if not the greatest, goals I ever saw,” Radnor coach Ed Ritti said. “I still watch the goal on tape, and it’s even more unbelievable.”

Newcomer of the year. He’s listed at 5-foot-4, but he might actually be closer to 5-3. It didn’t matter. Almost everything fired Bryan Mountain’s way was pushed aside by Malvern Prep’s goalie. The freshman went 16-2-1 and had a strong game against La Salle in the Flyers Cup AAA title game, stopping 30 shots His performance earned him MVP honors at the tournament.

By Joe Santoliquito
The Philadelphia Inquirer