|From left to right, the February Highmark High School Players of the Month: Aaron Packe, Alex Mueller, Anthony Maroadi and Drew Finton.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and corporate partner Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield honored four high school hockey players from the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League with Player of the Month awards during Tuesday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Aaron Placke of Bethel Park High School, Alex Mueller of Hampton High School, Anthony Maroadi of Norwin High School and Drew Finton of Meadville Area High School received the awards for their exceptional leadership and goal-scoring abilities throughout the season.
As they glanced over their shoulders to get a glimpse of the game during the second period, the recipients reminisced about where they were and what they were doing at the time when they received the phone calls telling them that they had won the awards.
“I actually had just gotten home from school, and I checked my voicemail,” Placke said. “I was pretty surprised. I didn’t even know that my coach put me in for a nomination, so I appreciated it. I’m having a good time. It’s a great experience.”
Maroadi, whose team recently beat the undefeated Shaler Area High School hockey team, was also at school when he received the good news. Mueller, who won the award for the second time, was driving home from school.
“It was pretty exciting and pretty fun,” Mueller, whose team clinched first place in their division with a victory on Tuesday, said.
Finton, on the other hand, found out that he had won the award after returning home from one of his hockey games.
“I came back, and the message was on the answering machine,” he said. “I listened to it a couple of times, so it was a good feeling. We just beat Montour yesterday and shut them out, 6-0, so we’re getting ready for the playoffs.”
Placke, a senior defenseman, serves as his team’s captain and led the Blackhawks to a 3-1-1 record last month. Mueller, a senior forward, also serves as team captain and recorded eight goals and 14 points in five games with the Talbots.
Maroadi, a senior left winger, notched eight goals for the Knights in February, including three game-winning markers. Finton, a senior forward who typically plays against the opposing team’s top line, serves as the Bulldogs’ captain and averaged a point a game last month.
The Penguins honor high school hockey players of the month four times each season.