The Pittsburgh Penguins would like to announce that Matt Cole of Pine-Richland, Ben Eliason of Cathedral Prep, David Stonebraker of Plum and Anthony Manuel of Carrick are the Highmark PIHL Players of the Month for December 2014.
Each month during the hockey season, the Penguins – alongside Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield – honor four high school hockey players from the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League for their dedication on and off the ice.
Leading his entire team, Cole had a least a point in each of Pine-Richland’s (AAA) games this month. The junior forward has four goals and three assists in just four games for the Rams. He leads his team in both goals and excels in the blocked shots column. Cole is noted for his play in all situations, no matter where he is on the ice. Pine-Richland is also the alma mater of Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad.
As of now, Cole plans to continue his career by playing club hockey in college.
“It feels great, especially as a junior. It’s just a huge honor,” Cole said. “Our team played very well. We started out 1-8 on the season and we really kicked up in December.”
Eliason, who was named the PIHL’s December player of the month, has 11 points in three games – five of those points being goals. Three are power-play goals. Eliason, a senior, is known not only for his skills on the ice, but also for his performance in the classroom. Cathedral Prep leads Class AA’s Western Conference with a record of 12-2-0.
Eliason plans to pursue a degree in plastics engineering or sports management in college.
“It’s awesome. It’s always nice to be recognized for your achievements,” Eliason said.
Plum’s (AA) Stonebraker leads his team with 19 goals and 28 points in 10 games. The Mustang captain had a milestone game when he racked up eight points (five goals, three assists) in a Dec. 12 win. In the past month, Stonebraker tallied seven goals and five assists in just three games.
Stonebraker also plays for the Penguins Elite and would like to play in college after a junior hockey career.
“It feels good to be one of the ones who was chosen to be here,” Stonebraker said. “I don’t think I could’ve done much more for the team. Just finish out the season strong and do well with my amateur team as well as my high school team. Play in college after juniors.”
Anthony Manuel was the definition of clutch for Carrick (C) in December. The senior forward averaged 4.20 points per game with 21 points (12G-11A) in five games. Two of those games were four-point games and one was a five-assist game. Each of his games in the past month were multi-point efforts. He also plays alongside his younger brother, who is a junior at Carrick.
Manuel will attend Robert Morris University as a business major and will try out for their Division III hockey team.
“It feels great,” said Manuel. “We switched the lines up a little bit so I was playing with kids I played with last year. It was just better to play with kids I know.”