Trib HSSN PIHL Player of the Week: Week ending Feb. 2, 2020
Sunday, February 2, 2020 | 9:23 PM
With his team facing two big games last week, Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Crousey knew his team needed his stars to play like stars. They did, and one played especially well and added a five-point All-Star Game to his week.
Add those five points to the eight in the two regular-season games, and Eddie Pazo is the second repeat TribLIVE High School Sports Network PIHL Player of the Week of the season.
Sunday is the Class A All-Star Game, Pazo was a member of Team Blue and was dominant.
Paired with regular linemate Hunter Fairman, Pazo and his Jaguars teammate were joined on a line by Bishop McCort’s Adis Ultanbekov and were a sight to see.
Pazo scored three times and had two assists. Fairman scored twice and assisted on another goal, and Ultanbekov assisted on five goals.
After the game, Pazo told the Trib about the line’s chemistry coming together quickly and having fun playing on it.
Then, business picked up for Thomas Jefferson.
Monday, the Jaguars hosted South Park, the team just behind them in their division.
Thomas Jefferson earned a 5-2 victory, in large part because of Pazo, who scored a pair of goals and assisted on another. One of those goals came in the first period, when the Jaguars built a 2-0 lead.
“South Park is a nice rival, and it was a packed house. You need your best players to come through in games like that, and he certainly did,” Crousey said. “You need those guys not only to perform but to lead in games like that. Eddie and all of our other top guys do that.”
Pazo scored the second goal of the game for the Jaguars. His other came in the third on an empty net to make it 5-2. He assisted on TJ’s fourth goal, which put the game out of reach with about two minutes left.
Though it wasn’t a division game, the next one was just as important for the Jaguars. They faced Norwin and again emerged with an 8-5 win in a much different game.
“It wasn’t what we talked about doing, but the kids on both sides took over, and it went back and forth,” Crousey said. “When a guy like Eddie gets it going in a game like that and gets one, it always feels like there is bound to be more.”
Pazo assisted on the second goal for Thomas Jefferson, which tied the score 2-2 apiece at 6:59 of the first. He then assisted on a goal that tied it at 3-3 just 1:27 into the second period before assisting on the fifth goal for Thomas Jefferson, which tied the score at 5-5.
Pazo then scored two of the three third-period goals for Thomas Jefferson, including the winner at 11:12.
“Not to mention he took a penalty late but came out of the box and went and made a play immediately,” Crousey said. “When things are going well for players and him, it seems to just keep coming.”
Crousey credits a lot of Pazo’s success to his hard work, talent and mentality.
“It’s the shooter’s mentality that he has, and they’re going in for him,” Crousey said. “Sometimes good goal-scorers just don’t have them go in, but you don’t change what you’re doing. He’s stuck with it, and it’s paying off.”
Pazo and the Jaguars have a big division game against North Hills on Monday. Puck drop is slated for 9:15. A win for the Jaguars clinches the Southwest Division title.
• Mitchell Geinzer (Upper St. Clair): In a 7-5 win over Bethel Park, Geinzer scored three goals and assisted on two others. One of the hat-trick goals was the winner for the Panthers.
• Alex Wilbert (Peters Township): It was a two-win week for the netminder of the Indians, and he was great in both. He needed to make only 12 saves against Seneca Valley on Tuesday night, but made all of them in a 7-0 win. He then made 21 saves on 22 shots in a 4-1 win over Canon-McMillan on Wednesday.
• Danny Mitchell (Mars): Mitchell posted a shutout, making 33 saves en route to a 5-0 win over Meadville.
• Dusty Geregach (Montour): Another week and another good game for Geregach, who posted another five-point night for the Spartans in a 9-5 win against Plum.
• Logan Schlegel (Plum): The Mustangs forward scored all five goals for Plum in the 9-5 loss to Montour
• Michael Mahoney (Meadville): Mahoney had a five-point night in Meadville’s second game of the week as he scored three goals and assisted on two more in an 8-2 win over Armstrong on Thursday night.
• Ethan Isaly (North Hills): Isaly posted a 26-save shutout for this week’s Team of the Week in a 5-0 win against Freeport.
• Brad Bujdos (Ringgold): His Rams did not play this week, but Bujdos was a participant in the Class B All-Star Game last weekend. He scored a hat trick and assisted on another goal in a 9-7 win by Team Blue. Bujdos scored two short-handed goals, one of which was the winner.
• Geoffrey Bokor, Jake Snyder (Wilmington): In a 7-0 win over McDowell, Bokor had four goals and an assist. Snyder made stopped all 13 shots he faced.
• Tyler Stewart (Burrell): Stewart posted another six-goal performance in Burrell’s 9-7 win over Avonworth.
• Adam Serakowski (Bishop Canevin): Serakowski had the other shutout, making 25 stops in a 3-0 win over Connellsville on Thursday.