PIHL notebook: Midseason MVPs lead teams to success
By: Sean Meyers
Sunday, December 31, 2017 | 8:29 PM
With all of the PIHL teams idle over the past week because of the holiday break, this installment of the PIHL notebook will take on a different format.
For most teams, the season is near or beyond the halfway point. As a result, it's the perfect time to detail which players have been the most valuable in each division this campaign. Here are the top performers to this point:
Wyatt George, Mt. Lebanon: The Blue Devils forward is leading the classification in scoring by a significant margin. George has 13 goals, which is second best in Class AAA, and 15 assists, which leads the way. His 28 points are seven ahead of the second-ranked scorers.
Additionally, Mt. Lebanon has been one of the hottest teams lately, as the Blue Devils have used a three-game winning streak to move into a tie for fifth place. There has been no bigger catalyst than George, who is 18 points ahead of the team's second-leading scorer.
Honorable mentions: Trevor Gilliland (Butler), Donovan Cullen (Cathedral Prep), Logan Johnson (Seneca Valley).
Zachary Kutch, Armstrong: The River Hawks have not lost since they dropped their season opener. In that time, Armstrong has reeled off nine wins, propelling the squad to the top of the classification. Kutch has been the offensive dynamo for Armstrong, as he produced 14 goals and 29 points. While his points total paces Class AA, Kutch also has proven to be clutch with three game-winning goals.
Honorable mentions: Beau Tomczak (Quaker Valley), JT Schimizzi (Latrobe), Connor Andrews (Hampton).
Eddie Kaufman, Meadville: The Bulldogs are one of two unbeaten teams in Class A. While Meadville's plus-46 goal differential shows the tea, is strong offensively and defensively, it has been Kaufman who has patrolled between the pipes as well as anyone.
His goals-against average of 1.43 ranks second in the class, and his .929 save percentage ranks third. Kaufman also boasts a perfect 7-0 record and class-leading two shutouts.
Honorable mentions: Austin Lapiana (Kiski Area), Nicholas Frantz (Meadville), Cole Bradley (Bishop McCort).
Tyler Stewart, Burrell: When it comes to scoring in Division 2, it's been no contest. Stewart has more goals (34) than anyone else has points (29). Although he's lighting the lamp at an incredible pace, Stewart also has produced 18 assists, which is second best in Division 2. Stewart's offensive punch has yielded team success, as the Buccaneers (8-4) are tied with Ringgold for second in the classification.
Honorable mentions: Lukas Konecsni (Moon), Ryan Brown (Connellsville), Noah Yerdon (Central Valley).
Sean Meyers is a freelance writer.