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Pens Honor December's PIHL Players of the Month

by Nicole Jelinek / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins honored December's PIHL Players of the Month before the game on Sunday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena.

This is the 25th season that the Penguins are honoring high school hockey players from the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League with the Player of the Month awards for their commitment on and off the ice.

The award winners are Jared Gerger of the Hempfield Spartans, Paul Knerr of the Baldwin Highlanders and Nicholas Franz of the Meadville Bulldogs.

Gerger is a sophomore forward, scoring 11 goals and 16 points in five games in December - including two shorthand markers. He enjoys being able to play hockey and advance his skills.

"It is cool to be rewarded for what we do," Jared said. "There is a lot of focusing on hard work and hockey because there are a lot of people in the same situation as you. I still have two more years of this, so hopefully those two years are good and I get more opportunities like this."

Knerr is a senior forward who had three goals and three assists over the course of three games in December. Knerr is currently seventh in league scoring and appreciates the opportunities he has had.

"It's pretty great," Knerr said. "You are rewarded for your hard work, so it feels good. I am doing what I love doing."

Frantz, a sophomore forward, led his team through December with eight goals and four assists for 12 points in just three games. He sits third in league scoring in the D2 division with 47 points.

"Being awarded by the Penguins is pretty sweet," Frantz said with a smile. "I will be playing a lot more hockey and gain more experience. I hope to keep getting better as the years go on."

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