The Pittsburgh Penguins teamed up with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to honor high school hockey players from the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League before their game versus the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
Gannon Warrick of the North Hills Indians, Erik Chidester of the North Allegheny Tigers, Jordan Timmons of the South Fayette Lions and Tyler Kruszewski of the Bethel Park Black Hawks all earned recognition as the PIHL Players of the Month for February.
Warrick is a senior forward for the Indians, and he earned nine points (4G-5A) in four games. He fueled the Indians’ offense on several occasions. Warrick recorded three assists versus Chartiers Valley on Feb. 1 and a hat trick against Baldwin on Feb. 15.
Warrick has clearly been one of the best players for the Indians, but he was modest when receiving his award.
“It’s an honor being Player of the Month,” Warrick said. “I wasn’t expecting it, but it was a good surprise.”
Although he is just a junior, Chidester contributed 10 points (4G-6A) to the Tigers’ offense in the five games they played in February.
Three of those five games were multi-point efforts, and he tallied four points (2G-2A) on Feb. 11 versus Bethel Park. Chidester’s commanding play helped his team to secure the top seed in the Class AAA playoffs.
Chidester was happy receive his award, especially in an arena he is familiar with.
“It’s awesome,” Chidester explained. “It’s a really cool experience. I’ve had season tickets for like three years now.”
Timmons is also only in his junior year, but he has been a major component of the Lions’ offense. He averaged 5.5 points per game in only four outings, earning 22 points (12G-10A) and two hat tricks.
Timmons has been a dominant offensive player for the Lions, but he too was surprised to receive such recognition.
“It’s fantastic,” Timmons admonished. “I wasn’t expecting anything, and to get the award is an honor.”
Also, he was happy to be around the team that he grew up watching.
“I’m a big Penguins fan,” Timmons said. “I’ve watched them since before I was able to walk. I’ve been watching them all the way up through and it kind of inspired me to play hockey and get where I am today.”
Kruszewski is a senior, and he has attributed to a memorable season for the Black Hawks. In two out of their four games he had multi-point efforts, and he recorded seven points (4G-3A) in those four games.
His play was especially impressive because all of the Black Hawks’ games during the month of February were against Class AAA playoff teams.
“It’s an honor,” Kruszewski said. “It feels fantastic to be here. I wasn’t expecting it.”