Quaker Valley hockey ready to be back home in Class A

Sunday, November 8, 2020 | 11:01 AM

The Quaker Valley hockey team is back where it belongs.

After playing in Class AA of the PIHL for the past five seasons, the Quakers were placed back into Class A, where they had success for so many years. Even with a young team after losing a few crucial seniors, Kevin Quinn and the Quakers are ready to compete right from the start.

“We have some work to do to replace the scoring we lost, but we do have some top talent up front and some skill coming up in the next couple years,” Quinn said. “We’re looking forward to seeing if we can get back to our winning ways, but it’s going to take a lot of work.”

Just last season, the Quakers went 7-11, 7-7 in the Class AA Northwest division, and punched a ticket to the playoffs but fell to Meadville in the first round, 5-1.

From that team, the Quakers lost leading scorer Josh Bemis (21 goals, 8 assists) and top goaltender Colin Rice, who had a .883 save percentage and made 572 saves while making 18 starts for the Quakers.

Although the Quakers graduated a few key seniors, they do have a few players coming back on defense who Quinn believes will have a huge impact this season.

“We return some experience on defense with guys like Max Quinn, Bodhi Wilson and Hayden Earlewine, who have played a lot of hockey for us at Double-A, along with Shane Moore, and they are all returning,” Quinn said. “So our top four defensemen are experienced, as are our two seniors in Bodhi and Shane. Then all of our forwards up front are juniors, sophomores and freshmen.”

Although they are young, Quinn has seen a lot of things that he’s liked from his younger forward through practice, and even last season, that makes him excited for this season and the future.

As freshmen last year, Luke Flowers (4 goals, 2 assists) Braeden Steffey (4 assists) and Ben Carlson (2 goals, 8 assets) all played on the same line. Quinn called them his best line during the team’s playoff game last season.

“They are an experienced group of players that I expect a lot out of,” Quinn said.

Quinn said juniors Noah Mattie (6 goals, 4 assists) and Kyle Rice (3 assists) are on another line with sophomore Riley Moore, and the two lines have been neck and neck through practice.

“It’s like 1A and 1B,” Quinn said. “They are both doing quite well in practice. We are expecting to do well, and that’s what you have to do. You can’t go in with the attitude that we are too young and we are trying to rebuild. The attitude has to be, ‘Let’s play as hard as we can and the winning will take care of itself.’”

The Quakers will also have one goaltender for the second straight year as freshman Ben Collins steps in between the pipes.

“He’s our only goalie, and he’s got a tough task ahead of him,” Quinn said. “But he is working extremely hard to get ready for the challenge, and we’re gonna do whatever we can to support him because there is definitely going to be some bumps for him. But we’re going to support him regardless.”

Quaker Valley also got a late start to its season. After the school went through a two-week shutdown due to a coronavirus exposure, the Quakers only had three practices before their first game with South Park on Nov. 9. They won’t have another game until Nov. 30, and they were looking to take advantage of that time.

“We didn’t get to play any preseason games, so we are a little behind the 8-ball with that, but we’re a young team and we’re excited about the opportunity to even play given all the other distractions with covid and stuff,” Quinn said.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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