Quaker Valley hockey bounces back into title contention

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Sunday, January 9, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Quaker Valley finished with a 6-11 record in the PIHL Varsity A Southwest Division last season.

That didn’t sit well with the Quakers.

The postseason absence provided QV with the impetus for a comeback this year.

Through nine games, QV was undefeated and comfortably atop the Varsity A Northwest Division.

“We always look to win our division and qualify for the playoffs. After last year’s miss, we prepared to be more competitive (this season), and we have,” coach Kevin Quinn said. “I’m very happy with the results so far, but we are far from a finished product. We know we have tough competition ahead, and we will practice hard to prepare for those challenges.”

Quaker Valley moved into the new division this season that also includes McDowell, Blackhawk and Beaver.

The Quakers’ divisional opponents last year were Chartiers Valley, North Hills and South Park.

QV’s top two forward lines consist of senior Kyle Rice, junior Ben Carlson and senior Noah Mattie, along with juniors Luke Flowers, Braeden Steffey and Riley Moore.

“Ben Carlson has been great this year, scoring consistently and playing 200-foot hockey,” Quinn said. “He has been a very strong player for us.”

Carlson, who owns a 3.87 GPA and also plays lacrosse, started skating in hockey rinks when he was around 5. He is a third-year varsity starter at QV.

“I have high expectations for the team going forward,” Carlson said. “We want to keep winning and keep moving forward to securing the top spot in our division. At the beginning of the season, I expected a lot from the team and believed we could go to and win playoffs. We returned almost our entire roster, and we started off this year really strong from the standpoint of team chemistry.”

In his spare time, Carlson helps with the marketing for the Sewickley Community Center and also co-runs a lawn care business. He likes the composition of this year’s QV squad.

“The strengths of the team this year are our goaltending, strong defensive play and ability to run our systems in order to score some goals while giving up very few chances the other way,” he said.

At the start of the new year, Carlson led the squad in scoring with 19 points on 13 goals and six assists. Rice was next with nine goals and five assists; Mattie chipped in with one goal and nine assists.

Also, Moore had connected for three goals and nine assists, Steffey contributed seven goals and four assists, and Flowers added five goals and three assists.

“Both of our (top two) lines have produced and been responsible defensively,” Quinn said.

Freshman goaltender Landon Buterbaugh has sparkled in the net with four shutouts, a 1.89 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.

“He has been a key addition to our group,” Quinn said, “and he has responded well to every challenge. He’s a fine young man and a great teammate as well.”

Buterbaugh, who stopped 198 of 215 shots he faced through nine games, has been flanked by the staunch senior defensive tandem of Max Quinn (4 goals, 7 assists) and Hayden Earlewine.

“Max and Hayden are our top defensive pair, but Will Watson has also been key contributor on D,” said QV’s coach.

Watson, a sophomore, had a goal and six assists.

The Quakers held a 47-17 scoring advantage over their opponents and were averaging close to 5.2 goals per game.

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