Matt Traczynski has become quite the two-way player for Hempfield.
Last season, he was second on the team in scoring with 34 points (22 goals, 12 assists), just a point behind Jared Gerger.
In 11 games this season, Traczynski already has 27 points. He has 16 goals and 11 assists.
In two Hempfield wins last week, the senior notched a third of those points and ranks among the top-five scorers in Class AA, only five points off the pace.
For his efforts, Traczynski is the TribLIVE High School Sports Network PIHL Player of the Week.
In Hempfield’s 9-2 win over Plum, Traczynski assisted on the Spartans’ first goal and scored the next two, including the winning goal.
“[In the Plum game] we expressed our ability to create points from a lot of different players. Our team is deep, and that helps,” coach Eric Grant said. “What happens in those games is either Matt or Christian Konieczka scores the points and everyone feeds off that. We made a few adjustments to our defense too, which helped our speed and in turn our breakout and gave us puck control and let us create good chances.”
Grant said Traczynski’s start helped the team pull away.
“The beautiful thing is Matt is not the most vocal guy, but he does a lot with his stick,” said Grant. “Other guys see that and take a look at what those guys do and feed off that. It’s huge to have a player like Matt jump out and do some great things. To have that kind of speed, strength and to come out of the locker room that fast helps a ton.”
Hempfield gets solid contributions from multiple players.
Konieczka, Caden Spehar, Zach Ridilla and Trent Gray were players Grant mentioned.
Traczynski had a six-point night in the Spartans’ 9-2 win Thursday night against Penn-Trafford.
He scored four times with two assists.
“I really thought coming in out of the first period we were playing well. You’ve got a player like Matt who handles the puck like he does. … The thing about Matt, he doesn’t look like he’s working that hard when he skates when we watch him. He’s deceptive,” Grant said. “In that game, we sprung him and other guys, and he created possession opportunities down low, and it created a ton of possession time for us. He gets the four goals, and the guys who are feeding him play really well together.”
Grant said the most impressive thing about Traczynski might not be play-making ability but becoming much better on the back check.
“Whether he’s scoring goals or creating opportunities, he makes plays, and his back-checking has come a long way,” Grant said. “He’s become a very good two-way player, and that’s been a tremendous help.”
Grant said Traczynski is a combination of speed, puck-handling ability and leadership.
“He’s smart. His play away from the puck is so important and what’s maybe even more impressive is what he does away from the puck. His vision is great, and he’s a true power forward,” Grant said. “He’s a great teammate, always looking for ways to improve. His attitude is exceptional, and he’s hungry.”
Traczynski wears an “A” for the Spartans.
“Matt is a great leader. To be fair, the other thing I like with Matt is his maturity. It’s a lot to ask of these kids, being 17 or 18, to act in a manner that we expect them to be super mature, especially in a game that is a fast-paced, high-intensity game, for those guys to act mature in the face of that,” Grant said. “Matt’s very good at that, and that’s where his leadership comes from.”
Traczynski and the Spartans return to action Jan. 13 against Meadville.
Mitchell Geinzer (Upper St. Clair) — Geinzer scored three times and assisted on three other goals as the Panthers upended Mt. Lebanon, 7-2.
Josh Hrip (Canon-McMillan) — Three goals and two assists was the total for Hrip in a 6-2 victory for the Big Macs over Central Catholic
Nic Pushic (Plum) — Pushic had a hat trick, including the winner in overtime, and four points in a 5-4 win over Quaker Valley.
Christian Konieczka (Hempfield) — A linemate of Traczynski’s, Konieczka scored once and had two helpers in the win over Plum and notched two goals and four assists against Penn-Trafford.
Danny Williams and Zach Eisenhower (Indiana) — Williams scored twice and assisted on four goals against Wheeling Catholic, and Eisenhower scored four goals and had an assist in an 8-0 victory.
Evan Eberlein (Ringgold) — It was a six-point night for Eberlein, who assisted on five goals and scored another in a 12-0 Rams’ win over McDowell.
Vinny Amatucci (Latrobe), Anthony Reinholt (Montour) and Luke Ripepi (Thomas Jefferson) — These three goaltenders had shutouts last week.
Seth Faulkner (Cathedral Prep) — Faulkner stopped 34 of 35 shots faced in a 3-1 win over Peters Township.
Chris McFayden (North Catholic) — McFayden stopped 31 of 32 shots faced in a 5-1 win over Blackhawk.
Danny Stauffer (Pine-Richland) — Last year’s Double-A Goalie of the Year had a pair of strong games in two Rams’ wins. He stopped 12 shots in a win over North Allegheny and 27 in an 8-1 win over Bethel Park.