Trib HSSN PIHL Player of the Week: Week ending Jan. 26, 2020

Sunday, January 26, 2020 | 10:38 PM

When Hampton defeated Pine-Richland in a shootout to hand the Rams their only loss of the 2018-19 PIHL season, Jacob McGee stopped 41 of the 44 shots he faced.

It was a game in which the Talbots were outshot by a wide margin.

That happened again this year. This past Monday, the Talbots faced unbeaten Latrobe, the No. 1 team in the state. Latrobe was one of three remaining undefeated teams in the PIHL.

Just as Hampton coach Luke Leya suspected, his goaltender stepped up in a big game.

The Talbots got outshot 51-13, but McGee made 50 saves in a 2-1 Hampton victory.

Because of that, for the second time this year, McGee is the TribLIVE High School Sports Network PIHL Player of the Week.

It is the first time this season an athlete has been honored twice. McGee was also honored for the week ending Oct. 20, 2019.

“Two things needed to go in our favor, the first of which was Jake McGee needed to show up, and he does that in every big game so we weren’t worried there,” Leya said. “Jake played the best game I’ve seen him play, and he’s got quite the resume. Last year, he beat Mars and Pine-Richland, and he has some big wins in the playoffs in years past.

“He just didn’t let anything get in his way. He made the first save, our defense did a good job of clearing rebounds out and he made a couple breakaway saves. You know what? He’s just a gamer. He makes saves.”

McGee allowed his only goal on what Leya described as a credit to Latrobe and a play that happened off a faceoff 41 seconds into the second period. From there, nothing got behind McGee.

He made nine saves in the first period, 24 in the second and 17 in the third.

The win was only McGee’s third of the season, and while he has had some uncharacterisitc subpar performances, he has been good for the bulk of the season. McGee was not chosen for the PIHL Class AA All-Star Game, and Leya thinks that might have given his senior goalie a little extra motivation.

McGee has faced at least 30 shots in every game this season. He allowed just one goal for the fourth time this season, in what was easily his most impressive performance.

McGee is the only four-year senior and varsity player on the Talbots roster. There are only four other seniors and 13 first-year varsity/freshman players on the roster.

When he was honored the last time, McGee said, “I don’t mind facing more shots if they aren’t all high-quality chances. I’d rather face 40 shots from the point than 20 from the slot.”

It’s not just the success on the ice that has been fun to see for Leya.

“He’s carried the torch for us all year. He’s such a leader on and off the ice,” Leya said. “He’s a great kid. He’s got great grades. He’s involved in a plethora of activities and clubs in school. He’s a very well-rounded kid.”

Leya said McGee has been impactful in the locker room and especially with the development of sophomore goalie Brendon Frankel.

“He’s been helping him get confidence and learn. There’s infinite great qualities with Jake, and it’s going to be a shame to see him go after this year,” Leya said. “It was good to see him get a signature win the other day, and, hopefully, we keep fighting and give these seniors one last chance at making a run.”

Hampton, which is also this week’s team of the week, will return to the ice needing a win against West Allegheny Monday, Jan. 27, at 9:10 p.m.

Honorable mentions

Dominic Zavola (Bethel Park): Zevola made 39 saves for the Blackhawks in a 2-1 shootout win over Seneca Valley.

Dusty Geregach (Montour): Had it not been for McGee, Montour would have boasted the player of the week for the second consecutive week after goalie Anthony Reinholt was chosen last week. Geregach, in an 8-3 Spartan win against Meadville, scored six times and assisted on the other two goals. His scoring included a short-handed goal and a power-play tally.

Ethan Szymanski (South Fayette): He didn’t quite factor in on all six goals for the Lions in a 6-5 overtime win against Penn-Trafford, but five is a good night. Szymanski scored twice and assisted on three goals in the victory.

Josh Ferry (West Allegheny), Luke Ripepi (Thomas Jefferson), Logan Marnik (Chartiers Valley), Riley Mastowski (Neshannock): Ferry posted a 28-save shutout in a 7-0 win over Moon on Thursday. Ripepi stopped all 18 shots he faced against Kiski in a 6-0 win for the Jaguars. Marnik had 29 saves in his shutout of Blackhawk, and Mastowski stopped 22 shots in a 3-0 win over Morgantown.

Tyler Weekley (Wheeling Park): Weekley had a hat trick and an assist in a 5-2 win over Beaver.

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