Trib HSSN PIHL Player of the Week: Franklin Regional goalie Danny Soltesz
By: Kyle Dawson
Sunday, March 10, 2019 | 12:30 AM
As a two-time Penguins Cup champion goaltender, a four-year starter and a three-time PIHL All-Star for Franklin Regional, senior Danny Soltesz’s expectations are always high. But Soltesz, more often than not, exceeds expectations.
Such was the case in the Panthers’ 2-1 win over Mars in which Soltesz stopped 37 of the 38 shots he faced, including several after Franklin Regional had taken a lead with 2 minutes, 2 seconds remaining in the quarterfinal game.
For his effort, Soltesz is this week’s TribLIVE High School Sports Network PIHL Player of the Week.
“Danny has nerves of steel. He is calm in every situation and has always kind of been that way, even as a freshman,” Franklin Regional coach Brian Kurtz said. “It was kind of a big decision to start him as a freshman, and it was the right one. He’s been stellar for the last four years, the other night included, and we know we have a chance to compete when he’s in net.”
The stellar performance in the quarterfinals helped the Panthers advance to the semifinals, and, Kurtz said, was product of Soltesz and his fellow seniors not wanting to see their PIHL days end.
As a freshman, Soltesz held a save percentage over .925 and a GAA of under one goal per game. He is numbers dipped slightly during his sophomore season (2.78 GAA, .900 save percentage), and he was an All Star as a junior and won 11 games.
This season, he was 10-6-2 and had a GAA of 4.11 and a save percentage of .893 but faced 646 shots, the result of having a young defensive corps in front of him.
Soltesz faced 30 or more shots on goal 13 times in 19 regular-season games and 40 or more six times, including 53 by Pine-Richland in January.
He knows what it takes to win in the playoffs and said he told his teammates who weren’t a part of the two runs to gold that playoff hockey is “a different animal.”
Soltesz also said he enjoys facing a high volume of shots.
“I like helping the young defensemen in any way I can because I feel like confidence is a huge part of being back there on the blue line,” he said. “I don’t want them to worry too much. But I kind of like facing more shots. It keeps things exciting.”
He plays amateur hockey for the Armstrong Aeros, who played in a tournament this weekend. Now Soltesz turns his attention to Wednesday’s PIHL semifinal matchup with Upper St. Clair at 9 p.m. at RMU Island Sports Center. A broadcast of the game will be available at tribhssn.triblive.com.
USC defeated Franklin Regional twice this season — both one-goal games. One was in a shootout in the first game of the season, and in the other, Franklin Regional had a two-goal lead entering the third period.
Soltesz made 38 saves in both games.
PIHL Honorable Mentions (Week of March 4):
In Triple-A. North Allegheny’s Richie Karapandi stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced to pace the Tigers in a 3-2 win over Seneca Valley. In Mt. Lebanon’s 7-3 win over Cathedral Prep, goaltender Bradley Weaver stopped 41 of the 44 shots he faced, and Wyatt George scored two goals and assisted on another. Bethel Park’s JC Bele scored four goals to lead the Blackhawks past Central Catholic, and Peters Township’s Alex Wilbert posted a 17-save shutout of Canon-McMillan.
In Double-A, Upper St. Clair’s Anthony Carone posted two goals and two helpers in a 6-2 win over Baldwin, and freshman goalie Kyle Rohrich made 31 saves. Alex Walker had four points, including a goal, in Latrobe’s 4-1 win over Hampton, meaning Walker factored in on all of the goals.
In Single-A, Montour’s Anthony Reinholt stopped 52 shots to lead the Spartans to a 6-3 win over South Park. Michael Felsing had two goals and two assists in the same game for Montour. Luke Ripepi, TJ’s goalie, allowed one goal on 27 shots faced to lead the Jaguars past Meadville.
In Division 2, Burrell got seven points from Tyler Stewart and a five points from Dylan Zelonka in a 10-2 win over Trinity. Ringgold’s Brad Bujdos scored four goals against Central Valley.