Trib HSSN PIHL Player of the Week: Meadville’s Nick Frantz

Sunday, February 24, 2019 | 8:29 PM

“Normally, we would’ve sent him to the showers after the second period,” longtime Meadville hockey coach Jamie Plunkett said. “I think he was just trying his best to catch (Montour’s Ritchy) Froehlich, but, ultimately, he came up short in the points race, but he’s had a great year. Part of it was keeping continuity with the lineup. It was easier to keep him playing.”

Plunkett was talking about this week’s TribLIVE High School Sports Network PIHL Player of the Week, Meadville senior Nick Frantz.

In the Bulldogs’ 17-1 win over Freeport on Thursday, Frantz scored 10 points, with six goals and four helpers, firmly planting his position as the second-leading scorer in Class A, 10 points behind Froehlich.

Frantz has scored 42 goals and has 88 points. He not only set the single-season record for the program, but also is the all-time leading goal scorer in program history.

“The only record he probably won’t end up having is the all-time points record,” Plunkett said. “Scott Phillis, who won four state championships here, was at like 450 points. Nick’s probably going to end up 20-25 points short of that.”

It’s safe to say Frantz has been one of the best players Plunkett has coached in his 33 years at Meadville.

And the kicker: Frantz doesn’t play amateur hockey.

He plays only for Meadville and is a baseball standout during the spring. The Bulldogs lost to Ringgold in the Class 4A PIAA semifinals last year.

“He was a big, big part of that season last year for the baseball team,” Plunkett said. “He’s been a lot of fun to coach. He has a great attitude, doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he doesn’t have a lot of penalty minutes despite being hacked and slashed more than most guys.”

Part of the reason Plunkett enjoys coaching Frantz is his attitude, but he said Frantz is one of the better natural goal scorers he has coached.

“There are some guys that have that, and some that don’t,” Plunkett said. “I don’t think it’s anything we taught him. He has great instincts and a great shot. It’s a heavy shot and a great release.

“I think another thing you find with a lot of natural scorers is they always seem to be in open space. If everybody is going to one area, he seems to go in a different direction, and the next thing you know, he has the puck and he’s wide open.”

Frantz has been an offensive leader since his freshman season when he scored 47 goals. As a sophomore, he was close to 60, and the Bulldogs won a PIHL title. It has gotten better for Frantz since.

“In terms of wearing a letter, this is his first year wearing one. He’s our team captain,” Plunkett said. “But he’s really been a leader since his sophomore year because of his on-ice play. He earned instant credibility as a freshman.”

Frantz’s 42 PIHL goals are the most in the classification and second most in the league behind Burrell’s Tyler Stewart, who scored 50 during the regular season.

Frantz and his teammates will begin the first round of the PIHL Penguins Cup playoffs as the third seed out of the North Division. The Bulldogs are scheduled to drop the puck ay 7:30 p.m. against the South/East Division’s sixth seed, Norwin.

PIHL Honorable Mentions (Week Of Feb. 18):

In Class AAA, Jacob Kruszewski scored five goals and had an assist in two games for Cathedral Prep as the Ramblers leaped from eighth to fifth in the standings with two wins. Evan Sala had two goals and three helpers for Cathedral Prep. … In Peters Township’ victory over Bethel Park on Tuesday, Torrey Schwartz scored three goals.

In Class AA, Pine-Richland goaltender Danny Stauffer stopped 26 of 27 shots in a 4-1 win over Quaker Valley on Thursday. … Upper St. Clair’s Quinn Giacobbe scored two goals and had two assists in the Panthers’ win over Shaler on Monday.

In West Allegheny’s 17-0 win over Beaver in Class A, Jacob Gyergyo and Nick Bandi had five assists each.

In Division 2, Connellsville’s Greg Hensh scored three goals and had an assist in the Falcons’ 8-3 win Tuesday over Central Valley. Teammate Ryan Brown had three goals and four helpers in the same game. … Ringgold’s Bradley Bujdos and Justin Day had hat tricks to go with three helpers in the Rams’ 9-1 win over Bishop Canevin.

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