PIHL Player of the Week: Montour’s Ritchy Froehlich Jr.
By: Kyle Dawson
Sunday, December 16, 2018 | 11:54 AM
Oh Captain, My Captain.
Whether it’s a quote from the movie “Dead Poet’s Society,” or describing the play of the captain of the highest-scoring team in the PIHL, the picture is the same.
It’s the senior captain of the Montour Spartans standing above the rest as the first Trib HSSN PIHL Player of the Week of the 2018-19 season.
There were many players who made significant contributions to their respective teams during this past week’s PIHL hockey slate, but none stood above the five-point performance of Montour forward Ritchy Froehlich Jr., whose effort came in a 10-3 drubbing of Fox Chapel last Tuesday.
Froehlich scored three goals, grabbing a hat trick for the third time this season, and for the second straight game. The senior forward added two helpers, as well. He credited his linemates with doing all the work and allowing him to make plays.
“We have a great chemistry. They always make it easy for me, and it’s a blast playing with them,” Froehlich said. “I just keep my stick on the ice, and they make me look good. I like setting people up, and I like to go to the net.”
Froehlich now has 36 points to lead the Spartans and put him second on the Class A leaderboards. It’s a season and an output Montour coach Clayton Shell is not surprised about. Shell said Froehlich is not only an outstanding player, but an exceptional leader.
“He’s the first one on the ice and the last one off, and I’ve never asked him to do that,” Shell said. “He can stick handle and is a good scorer, but he also creates plays. I think he has more assists than goals this season.”
Shell’s team hasn’t made a multitude of mistakes this year. After all, the Spartans are 10-0 and the leaders of the North section in Class A, with a big matchup coming up with the team right behind them, West Allegheny, which Montour defeated 6-3 earlier this season.
The difference in Froehlich’s leadership and play on the ice, Shell says shows how good of a leader he is, and that it has helped Montour get to where it is.
“Whenever we do make a mistake, he’s always out on the next shift forechecking hard and setting an example,” Shell said.
Froehlich added that he takes on a leadership role with the younger players too.
“It’s really laid back. I was that young guy at one point,” Froehlich said. “Whether it’s letting them know they have more time or whatever it is. They’ve been doing really well, so it’s not that hard on me.”
Froehlich and the Spartans return to the ice at 9 p.m. Monday, at the Baierl Ice Complex in Warrendale against West Allegheny.
“We’re expecting the same type of game (as the first one),” Froehlich said. “They have a really good team, and it’s going to be really difficult. They’re coached well and have talent. We’re just looking forward to it, and going to try and get the puck deep and keep doing what we’re doing.”
PIHL Honorable Mentions (Week of Dec. 10)
• Froehlich wasn’t the only Spartan who aided the Montour effort in the 10-3 win over Fox Chapel. Coming off a four-goal, two-assist game the week prior, sophomore forward Michael Felsing turned in another good performance in the victory Tuesday. Felsing scored two goals, including the second of the game for the Spartans, and assisted on two more.
• A pair of Beaver players notched five-point nights in Beaver’s 7-1 triumph over Deer Lakes Monday. Jeremy Jenkins and Keith Kesler both scored two goals and assisted on three others in the win. Kesler scored the first two goals of the game and Jenkins the last two, making Kesler’s second the game-winning goal.
• Franklin Regional earned a 6-3 win over Shaler Monday, with a great effort in creating opportunities from Oldrich Virag, who had five assists in the Panthers’ win.
• Sean Recktenwald had a 24-save shutout for South Park in a 3-0 win over Westmont Hilltop Tuesday.
• Burrell got significant contributions from Tyler Stewart (two goals and two assists), Logan Schoepf (three goals) and Giovanni Palombo (three assists) in a 9-0 win over McDowell in Division II action.
• Neshannock’s Brayden Morgan earned his first hat trick of the season in a 9-2 Lancers’ win over Trinity.
• Penn-Trafford’s Gavin Patrick netted two goals and had four assists in an 8-6 win over Hampton, while teammate Benjamin Leslie both scored two goals and assisted on three goals in the victory.
Kyle Dawson is a freelance writer.