Trib HSSN PIHL Player of the Week — Nov. 4, 2019

Sunday, November 3, 2019 | 10:00 PM

The TribLIVE High School Sports Network PIHL Player of the Week is a forward for just the second time this season.

His coach described him as a spark plug.

It was a three-goal, two-assist night in a 7-6 Canon-McMillan victory over Central Catholic, with three of those points coming in a back-and-forth third period, that earned the honors for Big Macs senior forward Josh Hrip.

One of Hrip’s three goals came short-handed in the second period and pushed the Big Macs’ lead to two goals. The Big Macs never gave up the lead and picked up their fourth win, one off their 2018-19 total.

Hrip, who led the PIHL’s Class AAA in points through last week’s play with 14, relies on a great hockey IQ, a heightened ability on the ice and a great work ethic, first-year coach Ryan Lamberger said.

“Josh does a little bit of everything for us. He has great vision, which is his best attribute. He uses that to his advantage to be able to dictate the play and take advantage of what the other team does,” Lamberger said. “He’ll see a defenseman making a wrong step, and he’ll just beat them and fire the puck on net.”

Hrip baited a Vikings power-play specialist before going down the ice for his short-handed tally.

“When you’re on a penalty kill you’re trying to hold the team off, but he took it the other way and gave us an extra-goal lead, which was huge,” Lamberger said.

Lamberger said Hrip is always positive and has a great attitude.

“He continues to get better because he works harder than almost anyone I’ve seen,” Lamberger said. “I’m lucky to have a player like him. Guys feed off his attitude and work ethic.”

The Big Macs are trying to rebound from a tough season with a new coach and a new attitude, and — with the help of Hrip, and Logan Ford, who is sixth in the classification in scoring — are off to a good start.

“The seniors want to make the most of this year, and hopefully Josh and the others can lead us to a Penguins Cup. I think we have an opportunity to do that,” Lamberger said. “We trust those guys to run our gameplan.”

Lamberger said the key is to shoot more.

“We know that when Josh shoots the puck, we’re going to have other guys crashing. We love to score those dirty goals,” Lamberger said. “We’ll keep getting better and so will Josh.”

Hrip and his Canon-McMillan teammates return to the ice Tuesday against Pine-Richland.

Honorable Mentions:

· Michael Felsing (Montour) — Felsing, who was a player of the week last year, scored twice and had four assists in a 6-2 victory Monday over Moon.

· Shane Nolan (West Allegheny) — Nolan scored three goals and added an assist as one of four Indians to record a four-point game in a 9-1 win over Meadville.

· Cole Ferri (Latrobe) — Ferri scored four times in a 6-2 win over Plum on Monday to hand the Mustangs their first loss.

· Logan Connelly (Norwin) — In a 7-0 win against Wheeling Park, Connelly scored four goals and assisted on another.

· Will O’Brien (Thomas Jefferson) — In two victories this week, O’Brien was the best player on the ice for the Jaguars. He had a hat trick and an assist in a Monday win over Westmont Hilltop and added two goals and two helpers in a 10-3 win against Freeport.

· Connor Strobel and Bryce Rearick (Butler) — Strobel’s 39-save effort in a 2-1 shootout win over North Allegheny on Monday and Rearick’s 38-save outing in a 2-1 win over Pine-Richland on Thursday highlighted the week for the Golden Tornadoes.

· Jake McGee (Hampton) — The one-time player of the week was tagged with a loss but made 29 saves in a 1-0 decision against Armstrong. The Talbots mustered just 15 shots on goal as Gavin Crafton, another honorable mention, got the shutout in goal.

· Sam Coll (Norwin) and Shane Peremba (South Park) — Coll’s 23-save shutout and Peremba’s 18-save shutout were highlights of the week.

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