Butler's Jonathan Fair skates during a game against Norwin in November.
By Ryan Riordan / Tri-State Sports & News Service
Two years ago, in the midst of a 1-21 season, Butler had just one PIHL all-star game representative.
This year, the Golden Tornado had a Class AAA-best five players and their coach selected to play for the Northeast Conference team in the PIHL Class AAA All-Star game Feb. 9 at RMU Island Sports Center.
"I think it speaks volumes to the style of game we play," Butler coach Mike Guentner said.
"When you have a vote by the coaches that takes place in the middle of the season, they haven't seen every team play yet. So they're going on past knowledge and word of mouth and I think the coaches respect the way we play the game."
Senior forward Troy Double and goaltender Logan Rothbauer will be making their second consecutive all-star game appearances. They will be joined by three first-year selections -- senior forward Joseph DiMartino, sophomore forward Connor Scott and sophomore defenseman Jonathan Fair.
"Obviously, they were all thrilled," Guentner said.
"We had a couple guys in Troy and Logan making their second trip and I think if you asked them before the season, they expected it because they wanted to have productive senior seasons.
"But we had a few sophomores and Joe DiMartino -- who really struggled with his point totals before bursting out this season -- who were surprises. I think those three were the most excited."
Guentner, who took over as Butler's coach midway through the 2011-12 season, was voted as coach of the Northeast All-Stars for the second consecutive season.
He also represented Butler as a player in the game in 2004 and 2005.
Behind Butler's five representatives in Class AAA, Pine-Richland, Bethel Park, North Allegheny and Peters Township each had four selections.
In Class AA, Bishop Canevin, North Hills and Latrobe had the most players chosen with five apiece.
Deer Lakes, Quaker Valley, Mars and Thomas Jefferson each had five players selected to the PIHL Class A game.
And in the Open Class game, which will start off the Feb. 9 quadrupleheader at RMU Island Sports Center, Harborcreek and Indiana will each have five players on the ice.
Six players -- Pine-Richland's Kyle Cunningham, Bishop Canevin's Nikita Meskin, North Hills' Brett Berner, Armstrong's Hunter Grafton, Hampton's Zach Kosick and Freeport's Cole Hepler -- were selected to the all-star game for the third time.
PIHL's top players for December
Bethel Park's Christian Siak, Penn-Trafford's Andrew Power, Pine-Richland's Kyle Cunningham and Quaker Valley's Jimmy Perkins were selected as the Highmark PIHL players of the month for December and were honored by the Pittsburgh Penguins organization last week.
Siak had 11 goals in five games in December and leads Class AAA in goals for the season. Power, a defenseman, has 17 points in 2013-14 while matching up against the opposing team's top offensive line. Cunningham is the Rams' top defenseman and has chipped in 14 points and averaged a goal per game in December. Perkins leads Class A in goals and points and had seven goals and 12 points in December.
Games of the week
North Allegheny at Bethel Park, 7 tonight, Bladerunners-Bethel Park -- A battle of the past two Class AAA Penguins Cup champions, the Black Hawks (11-2) beat the Tigers (8-3-1), 4-1, Nov. 19.
Mars at Quaker Valley, 7:50 tonight, Airport Ice Arena -- The Quakers (12-1) will try to avenge a 4-3 loss to the Planets (12-3) Nov. 26. The defeat against Mars broke Quaker Valley's 51-game unbeaten streak against PIHL opponents.
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