Trib HSSN PIHL PLayer of the Week: Week ending Jan. 19, 2020

Sunday, January 19, 2020 | 10:36 PM

Last season, Montour won the Class A Penguins Cup.

If it wasn’t for then-freshman Anthony Reinholt, the Spartans might not have won it.

Montour was loaded with scoring and, to that point in the year, had received great goaltending from Zach O’Malley.

O’Malley got hurt during the playoffs, which thrust Reinholt into the spotlight.

Reinholt started the quarterfinal game against South Park and was superb. He stopped 52 of the 54 shots he faced, and the Spartans advanced.

“Last year we got him a taste as a ninth-grader. There was a game in the playoffs where he played really well, but you could tell he was really nervous,” coach Clay Shell said. “We tried to bring him on slow because we knew we had O’Malley and thought we’d have him this year. (Reinholt) has been thrust into the limelight though, and he’s played better as a sophomore than we probably could have asked for.”

Reinholt’s ride has not been without bumps. But considering the Spartans moved up to Class AA and Reinholt plays against plenty of kids who are, in some cases, two or three years older than him, he has responded to the challenge.

He has one shutout — a 29-save performance Dec. 9 against Shaler — and has a .887 save percentage and a 3.83 goals-against average. Those are inflated slightly by tough outings against Baldwin (nine goals allowed on 49 shots) and two six-goal-allowed nights against Latrobe and Hempfield. The Spartans defeated Hempfield.

The sophomore might have turned in his best performance of the year as the stretch run begins.

Reinholt stopped 45 of 46 shots against in a 5-1 win over Hampton this past week, and is this week’s TribLIVE High School Sports Network PIHL Player of the Week.

“He, obviously, was on. The puck probably looked like a beach ball for him,” Shell said. “The biggest thing we’re working on with him is consistency. The pressure is hard enough playing against kids that are older than you. Sometimes, like any goaltender, you’ve got to get your head on straight. He’s got the talent. His angles were right the other night the whole time.”

Reinholt made 23 saves in the second period.

“He was very, very good,” Shell said. “I don’t understand all of their voo-doo witchcraft, but we just kept looking at each other (on the bench( and saying, ‘He’s on tonight.’ ”

Shell talked about the goal being a .900 save percentage each night, and how, if Reinholt can do that, he is giving the Spartans a chance to win.

“We’ve talked with him, too, about leaning on his defensemen, too. This is a lot for a young kid to do, but he’s really stepped up,” Shell said. “We’ve got a good team, and we’re in the hunt for the playoffs, so he’s had to be good, and he has responded.”

Shell chalked up the Baldwin game to the team not being good and being a bit “in over our heads.”

Montour often doesn’t have a backup goalie, leaving even more on Reinholt’s shoulders. The challenges for the goalie, who Shell said is described best as technically sound, will keep on coming.

Montour plays Monday night at Meadville — a tough place for young goaltenders to play — against a program with pedigree to get a lot of pucks on net.

He and the Spartans then will host Plum, currently a first-place team, travel to Mars, host currently unbeaten Baldwin and then go to Penn-Trafford to close the regular season.

“He’s a quiet kid, so we have to force a little communication with him but that’s not a problem,” Shell said. “There’s been a number of games we didn’t have a backup goalie because JV is playing the same night. He’s been awesome. He’s stepped up. Tomorrow will be a challenge, but we’re confident in him.”

The Spartans and Bulldogs will drop the puck at 7:35 p.m.

Honorable mentions:

Tyler Putnam, Tyler Boyles (North Allegheny): The two biggest efforts for the Tigers in a 9-0 win over Central Catholic on Tuesday came from Putnam and Boyles. Putnam scored five times, and Boyles posted a shutout with 18 saves.

Seth Faulkner (Cathedral Prep): It didn’t matter that Cathedral Prep was outshot on goal 33-18, Faulkner stopped all 33 in the Ramblers’ 4-0 win over Bethel Park on Thursday.

Jack Hughes (Penn-Trafford): In a 13-3 win over Plum on Monday, Hughes scored four goals and assisted on another.

Shane Peremba (South Park), Ian Amaranto (Westmont Hilltop), Sam Watchek (Chartiers Valley), Chris McFayden (North Catholic) and Seamus O’Connor (Indiana): Five Class A goalies recorded shutouts this week. Peremba made 20 stops in a 3-0 win over Kiski Area. Amaranto made 26 saves in a victory over Sewickley Academy. Watchek did the same in a win over Wheeling Catholic. McFayden had the best one of the five, stopping 36 of 36 shots in a win against Greensburg Salem on Thursday. O’Connor had to make only four stops in a 10-0 win over Beaver.

Riley Mastowski (Neshannock): Mastowski, in a big overtime win against Carrick, made 30 saves and allowed one goal for the Lancers.

Gio Palombo and Tyler Stewart (Burrell): Both of the Bucs scored four goals and had three assists in a 13-4 win over McDowell

Justin Day, Evan Eberlein, Brad Bujdos, Ethan Saylor, Hunter Suarez (Ringgold): This week’s team of the week had several standout performances in its two-win week. Day had five assists in an 11-2 win over Avonworth. Eberlein scored twice and had three helpers in the same win. Bujdos was excellent both nights, with three goals and two apples against Avonworth and another two goals and two assists against Central Valley on Thursday.

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