5 all-stars have Quaker Valley hockey firing on all cylinders

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Sunday, January 22, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Five members of the Quaker Valley hockey team have been chosen to participate in the PIHL all-star showcase this year.

Only two are seniors.

It’s a testimonial to the youth of the QV team and the success the Quakers have experienced so far this season.

Two forwards, seniors Ben Carlson and Braedan Steffey, two defensemen, freshman Jacob Keisel and junior Will Watson, and sophomore goaltender Landon Buterbaugh will represent QV on the Varsity A Gold all-star squad.

The showcase event will be held Jan. 29 at the Robert Morris Island Sports Center.

Games will take place at noon (Varsity D2), 1:50 p.m. (Class A, Group 1), 3:40 p.m. (Class A, Group 2), 5:30 p.m. (Class 2A) and 7:30 p.m. (Class 3A).

As of Jan. 17, Carlson led Quaker Valley in scoring while serving as team captain. He is a two-time PIHL all-star.

“I’m very honored to be named an all-star for the second year in a row and am excited to play in the game later this January,” Carlson said. “And I’m really proud of how well our team has played this year, especially for a lot of our younger players who have risen up to the challenge and excelled in their first year at the varsity level.

“It means a lot to me to be able to lead this team, and I’m very optimistic for our chances going forward and in the postseason.”

A four-year starter for the Quakers, Carlson had accounted for 14 goals and 10 assists, or 24 points, through games played by mid-January.

“Ben’s a big senior center who has been solid all year,” QV coach Kevin Quinn said. “He is scoring and leading our team in so many ways.”

Steffey also is a four-year varsity player and an alternate captain this season.

“I’m super excited to be selected as an all-star,” he said.

Steffey ranks among the team’s top offensive threats with five goals and 11 assists, good for 16 points. He led the Quakers in points last season.

“Braeden is having another solid year offensively,” Quinn said, “but he does so much for us defensively as well.”

Keisel and Watson are instrumental in a QV defensive corps that surrendered only 25 goals in 13 games, the lowest total allowed in the Varsity A Gold Division.

“They are our top defensive pair,” Quinn said. “The pairing has been dominant this year, and they will need to be even better the rest of the season and playoffs.

“They play a lot of hockey for us, both offensively and defensively. We’re extremely happy with their play. They are excellent skaters and play the game the right way.”

Along with their prolific defensive skills, Watson (5 goals) and Keisel (3 goals) were second and third in scoring with 17 and 16 points.

“I can’t remember a freshmen skater that has made the all-star game (in the past) for us,” Quinn said. “Jacob is an advanced player with all the tools to be a great player. He is eager to learn and get better.

“And Will has been exemplary in all phases. He brings it every night.”

Buterbaugh had a 7-3 record in 10 decisions with 19 goals against, a 2.02 goals-against average, .884 save percentage and one shutout.

“Landon’s been a rock back there (in goal),” Quinn said. “He pushes himself very hard, and I love his competitiveness.”

Three other leading scorers for the Quakers in 2022-23 are freshman forwards Ben McHenry and Jace Vasbinder and senior forward Riley Moore.

Quaker Valley started the long PIHL season with a tepid 2-2 record, but then exploded to win six in a row and take an 8-2 record into the new year. The Quakers improved to 10-2-0-1 by the middle of the month.

During the winning streak, Buterbaugh logged one shutout and held the other five opponents to one goal.

“We have relied on a combination of senior leadership and young players contributing in all areas,” Quinn said. “We have a balanced attack and are very solid defensively.

“I have to mention the solid defensive play by Carter Siuciak and Liam Welge, as well as key offensive contributions from Riley Moore, Noah Kenneweg and Coleman Carey.”

QV’s coach said the strong performance by the freshmen has been a boost to the program this season.

“Our large freshman class with Ian Lorang, Jace Vasbinder, Ben McHenry, Luke Koehler, Max Modrovich, Colin York and Jacob Keisel has been a pleasant surprise,” Quinn said. “They all play a lot and have been instrumental to our success.”

QV edged Avonworth, 4-3, in a shootout Jan. 16 to win for the eighth time in nine games. The Quakers stood in second place and trailed only North Hills in the divisional standings.

“We have a lot of tough games to go,” Quinn said, “and we want to get the highest seed possible for the playoffs.”

The Quakers have four games on tap in February, then it’s on to the postseason.

With the five all-stars leading the way.

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