Staff photos by Tom Kelly IVEast’s Trevor Cohn (95) fights for possession of the puck with Malvern’s Michael Shrader (35) and goalie Matthew
Staff photos by Tom Kelly IV East's Trevor Cohn (95) fights for possession of the puck with Malvern's Michael Shrader (35) and goalie Matthew Hollinsghead (33) during the Downingtown East vs Malvern Prep ice hockey game at Ice Line, Friday night January 24, 2014. (Tom Kelly IV)

WEST GOSHEN -- Opponents of the Malvern Prep ice hockey team usually have to prepare for the high-scoring trio of Joey Abel, Kevin McGeary and Will Kay. Though, Abel missed Friday's nonleague contest against Downingtown East, the other two legs of the scoring tripod held up their ends just fine.

McGeary had two goals and an assist, while Kay added two goals -- both coming in the third period to blunt a Cougars rally -- and a pair of helpers to lead the Friars (11-3-1) to a 7-2 victory over Downingtown East at Ice Line.

Both teams were in third place in their respective divisions (AAA, Ches-Mont), and neither team showed any letdown as the hitting was of the highest quality early on.

"It was a good physical game,' said Malvern coach Jeff Cameron. "We were excited to play Downingtown East, they're one of the better teams in the Ches-Mont, so even though it was nonleague, it meant a lot to us, so we wanted to come out and play hard. It was a good effort, I was proud of the guys.'

The two teams played evenly for the first couple of minutes, until Malvern broke through nealy four minutes in. as Brian Rawlins tipped in a shot by Tyler Belle (2 assists) for the advantage.

"It was a good sign for us,' Cameron added. "It's always good when you get a goal from hard work like that. It brings energy to the bench.'

The bench was further energized later in the period as McGeary snapped a shot high past the right shoulder of goalie Ben Silver to make it 2-0.

Malvern push the lead to 3-0 early in the second as Doug Hook beat Silver as they slowly started to take over the play.

"It's still a godd game playing any of the local teams at Ice Line,' said McGeary. "It's always fun playing any of the West Chester or Downingtown teams. We played pretty well tonight, we played well in our ' D' zones. They only had two powerplay goals and we got a lot of offense.'

The Friars tacked on a fourth as McGeary notched his second off a feed from Hook for his 15th goal of the season. Coming into the night, Abel, McGeary and Kay were the top three scorers in all games in AAA.

The strength of the Cougars' offense lie in their power play, and it was on full display in the latter stages of the second.

After some sustained pressure and a couple of whacks at a rebound, Ryan Knight slipped one past freshman Matthew Hollingshead, to get East on the board. And the fight back continued with 5.7 seconds left as Jake Booge beat Hollingshead cleanly to cut the deficit in half and give Malvern something to think about heading into the third.

"We knew going in that Downingtown East has one of the best power plays in high school hockey,' said Cameron. "We reminded the boys before the game, but you give then opportunities and they have a lot of talen on that team. We knew after we took a couple early and killed them off that were on thin ice. Hats off to them, they played very well on the power play.'

Any further thoughts of a comeback was thwarted as Kay got his first as he steamed in off a turnover, helped by two East skaters falling down, and went backhand, forehand to slip the puck into the net.

His second came just 40 seconds later to cement Malvern's authority on the game. Michael Churchvara closed the scoring with a shorthanded tally with 3:34 left.

Hollingshead was big when Malvern needed him. He made some huge saves when the Cougars (9-5) were trying to get a toe hold into the game. He even got some help when East's leading scoring Trevor Cohn rang one off the post in the second.

"It's good to see,' said Cameron. "He's a freshman and he's come up big for us this year. He's calm, the kids play well in front of him. He doesn't seem to get rattled, especially for a freshman.'

McGeary added to the praise of the first-year netminder.

"He has a lot of confidence and he's playing well,' McGeary said of Hollingshead. "He makes a lot of good saves. He's small, but he's quick and he made a lot of great saves tonight.'

Hollingshead finished with 25 saves on the evening.

Malvern Prep 7, Downingtown East 2

Malvern Prep 3 1 3--7

Downingtown East 0 2 0--2

Malvern Prep goals: Kay 2, McGeary 2, Hook, Rawlins, Churchvara.

Downingtown East goals: Booge, Knight.

Goalie saves: Hollingshead (MP) 25; Silver (DE) 27.