Trib HSSN announces PIHL Players, Goalies, Coaches of the Year

Sunday, March 31, 2019 | 3:40 PM

With the conclusion of the 2018-19 PIHL season, it’s time to look back at the stellar individual performances across the four classifications.

Last week during the final PIHL Power Play Show, the TribLive High School Sports Network unveiled its picks for Player, Goalie and Coach of the Year in each classifications, as well as first-team, second-team and honorable mention selections.

In total, 73 student-athletes and four coaches were honored.

Class AAA

Player of the Year: Wyatt George, Mt. Lebanon, Sr.

A three-time all-star, George led the classification in goals with 19. In 16 games, he totaled 29 points, which was the third-best total in Class AAA. George added two power-play goals and two short-handed goals, racing to an average points total of 1.81.

Goalie of the Year: Richie Karapandi, North Allegheny, Sr.

The Penguins Cup playoffs were the showcase, but Karapandi was the best goalie in Class AAA all season. He led the classification with three shutouts, a .936 save percentage and a 1.67 goals-against average. Karapandi allowed 25 goals on 392 shots and had the second most wins (12) in the classification. During the championship run, the all-star stopped 53 of 54 shots in a double-overtime semifinal win against Bethel Park then shut out Peters Township, making 23 saves. He then made 39 saves in the team’s Pennsylvania Cup loss to La Salle.

Coach of the Year: Mike Bagnato, North Allegheny

The fifth-year coach led the Tigers to a championship, along with a good senior class. Bagnato’s unit made the semifinals last season and got revenge on Peters Township, which defeated the Tigers in last year’s semifinals, by defeating the Indians, 3-0, in the Penguins Cup title game.

First team

Bethel Park’s JC Bele, a three-time all star, tied for the classification lead in points with 32 and had the best points average, at 1.88, in Class AAA. He is joined on the first team by George and Cathedral Prep junior forward Jake Kruszewski, who also had 32 points (18 goals and 14 assists).

The defensemen are Bethel Park’s Ryan McLinden, a junior, who tied for the defenseman lead in assists with 15, and Johnny McDonald, a Canon-McMillan senior, who also had 15 assists and added seven goals.

Karapandi is the first-team goaltender.

Second team

Forwards: Aaron Miller (Sr., North Allegheny), Ryan Luppe (Sr., Peters Township), Torrey Schwartz (Sr., Peters Township)

Defensemen: Jerome Oliver (Jr., Butler), Tyler Duderstadt (Sr., North Allegheny)

Goalie: Alex Wilbert (Sr., Peters Township)

Honorable mention

Forwards: Vinny Vituccio (Sr., Bethel Park), Jeremy Anthos (Sr., Peters Township), Logan Ford (Jr., Canon-McMillan)

Defensemen: Justin Symons (Sr., North Allegheny), Ryan Lee (Sr., Peters Township)

Goalie: Nick Guimond (Sr., Bethel Park)

Class AA

Player of the Year: Devin Rohrich, Upper St. Clair, Jr.

Rohrich led the classification with 33 goals and 51 points and was an all-star for the second time. He also led the classification with 10 power-play goals and added 10 points in the Penguins Cup playoffs. The Panthers were the runner-up in to Pine-Richland, but Rohrich led the team to a first-place finish in the South Division.

Goalie of the Year: Danny Stauffer, Pine-Richland, Jr.

A two-time all-star, Stauffer had two shutouts in the regular season, and a class-best 1.68 goals-against average in 19 games. He was 18-0-1, and played more than 941 minutes. Stauffer was 4-0 in the playoffs, including a 24-save shutout in the Rams’ Pennsylvania Cup championship win over two-time defending state champ Downingtown East.

Coach of the Year: Jordan Yoklic, Pine-Richland

The first-year coach won a Penguins Cup and Pennsylvania Cup championship as a player for Pine-Richland program and winning the state title this season. Yoklic brought Pine-Richland from 10-9 last season to a Penguins Cup and Pa. Cup title and a trip to the USA Hockey High School Championships in Cleveland.

First team

Hempfield’s Jared Gerger and Hampton’s Michael Orban, both seniors, join Rohrich on the first team. Gerger scored 28 goals, which was the second-highest total in the classification. Gerger was a three-time all-star selection. Orban, a two-time all-star, scored 21 goals and had 27 assists for 48 points, the third-best total in Class AA.

Pine-Richland’s Jordan Rosenbaum, a senior, and Franklin Regional’s Mathieu Sliva, also a senior, were the two defensemen on the first team. Rosenbaum scored a defenseman-high 26 points, and Sliva totaled 21 points.

Stauffer was the first-team goalie.

Second team

Forwards: Will Studt (Sr., Pine-Richland), Ben Leslie (Sr., Penn-Trafford), Anthony Carone (Fr., Upper St. Clair)

Defensemen: Trent Gray (Jr., Hempfield), Lane Ruffner (Jr., Latrobe)

Goalie: Danny Soltesz (Sr., Franklin Regional)

Honorable mention

Forwards: Alex Walker (So., Latrobe), Olda Virag (Sr., Franklin Regional), Justin Adamski (Sr., Hampton), Jackson Krock (Sr., Mars)

Defensemen: Paul Zmuda (Jr., Baldwin), Will Meglio (Sr., Hampton)

Goalie: Lukas Konecsni (Jr., Moon)

Class A

Player of the Year: Ritchy Froehlich Jr., Montour, Sr.

Froehlich was a two-time PIHL Player of the Week and paced Class A in points with 80 (28 goals, 52 assists). That total was the best in the PIHL. He helped the Spartans win the school’s first PIHL Penguins Cup championship. He had only six penalty minutes, and the Spartans’ captain had a class-best 4.44 points average.

Goalie of the Year: Bruce Hardman, South Fayette, Sr.

Hardman had a class best 1.28 goals-against average and tied for the most shutouts in the classification with five. The all-star was 13-1 in the regular season and allowed only 18 goals on 312 shots (.942 save percentage). He was 3-1 and made 72 saves in the Penguins Cup playoffs.

Coach of the Year: Clay Shell, Montour

Shell led the Spartans to the school’s first Penguins Cup title after the team was 4-15 during the regular season in 2017-18. It was quite the turnaround for the Spartans, who had a hungry senior class. The Spartans scored 181 goals in the regular season and scored at least six game.

First team

Froehlich is joined on the first team forwards list by Meadville’s Nick Frantz and Thomas Jefferson’s Hayden Hintemeyer, who also are seniors. Frantz became Meadville’s all-time leading goal scorer, tallying 42 goals during PIHL play. Hintemeyer, who along with Frantz, was a two-time all star, scored 49 points (24 goals, 25 assists).

North Hills senior Liam O’Neill and West Allegheny junior Nick Bandi are the first-team defensemen. O’Neill scored 21 goals, the most for a defenseman in Class A, and Bandi had 35 points to lead all defensemen in the class.

Hardman was the first-team goalie.

Second team

Forwards: Michael Felsing (So., Montour), Raman Yerameichyk (Sr., Bishop McCort), Shane Nolan (Jr., West Allegheny)

Defensemen: Ethan Diffendal (Sr., Montour), Reed Troutman (Sr., Fox Chapel)

Goalie: Josh Ferry (So., West Allegheny)

Division II

Player of the Year: Tyler Stewart, Burrell, Sr.

Stewart has proven why he was honored as the Division II Player of the Year at nationals. He had a hat trick in all three of the Bucs’ pool-play games. During the PIHL season, Stewart scored a league-high 50 goals and had 76 points. His 16 goals on the man advantage were the most in the PIHL as well. The three-time all-star was the PIHL Power Play Show’s Player of the Year last season.

Goalie of the Year: Evan Cook, Ringgold, Sr.

Cook, a Yough student and Ringgold netminder as part of the six-school co-op, was the best goalie in the classification and had a solid run in the playoffs. He played more than 1,000 minutes in the regular season and sported a record of 16-4 for the eventual Division II champs. During the playoffs, he was 3-0 and allowed four goals on 69 shots. He was a two-time all-star.

Coach of the Year: Rick Kalinowski, Ringgold

Any time you win a championship by knocking off the classification’s top seed, you have a chance to be honored as the coach of the year. Kalinowski and his Rams were eliminated by Burrell in the semifinals last year after defeating them each time in the regular season. This year, Kalinowski’s unit lost to Burrell both times in the regular season, before knocking off the Bucs, 4-3, in the championship game.

First team

Cook, the first-team goalie, and Stewart were joined on the first team by forwards Ryan Brown and Justin Day, as well as defensemen Bryce Schueler and Ryan Marek.

Brown, a senior from Connellsville, had 63 regular-season points, which was the second-highest total in Division II. He had 36 goals and 27 assists and was selected an all-star for the third time. Day, a junior at Ringgold, tallied 42 points and had six power-play goals.

Schueler, a senior from Burrell, had 18 assists and three goals. The three-time all-star was first in points for defensemen in Division II. Ryan Marek was Ringgold’s best d-man, as he scored nine goals.

Second team

Forwards: Dylan Zelonka (Sr., Burrell), Quintin Smith (Sr., Morgantown), Giovanni Palombo (Burrell)

Defensemen: Travis Sipple (Sr., Connellsville), Lance Cotton (Sr., Knoch)

Goalie: Drew Burkett (Sr., Burrell)

Honorable mention

Forwards: Greg Hensh (Sr., Connellsville), Brad Bujdos (Jr., Ringgold), Dominick Bartell (Sr., McDowell)

Defensemen: Jonathan Michaels (Jr., Neshannock), Neil Domico (Fr., Central Valley)

Goalie: Carsen Burkhart (Sr., Neshannock)

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