Quaker Valley hockey rebounds from 3-game skid, looks forward to postseason

Sunday, February 13, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Quaker Valley’s hockey team stopped the bleeding.

The Quakers ended a three-game losing streak by winning three of its last four games in January, skating past Wheeling Catholic, 9-3, Blackhawk, 4-1, and Chartiers Valley, 4-3, in a shootout.

QV improved to 10-4 to maintain its firm grip on first place in the PIHL Varsity A Northwest Division.

“We have overcome some key injuries to compete and inch closer to clinching the division title,” coach Kevin Quinn said. “We have four games remaining before the playoffs. We want to get healthy and achieve the highest seed possible.”

Quinn said his team played its best game of the year Jan. 18 against Wheeling Catholic.

“But that is in the past,” he said, “and we need to continue to try and improve, even if we have injuries.”

The Quakers have been sparked on the offensive end by the lines of senior Kyle Rice, junior Ben Carlson and senior Noah Mattie, and juniors Luke Flowers, Braeden Steffey and Riley Moore.

In fact, seven of the top 10 scorers in the division are QV skaters, led by Carlson at No. 3 with 17 goals and 11 assists (28 points).

“Ben has had an outstanding year,” Quinn said. “When he scores, we do not lose. He has embraced his role as leading scorer and pushes himself to be the best player he can be each game.”

Carlson said he likes QV’s chances going forward in the regular season and postseason playoffs.

“Our team’s performance so far has been exceptional,” he said. “Coming from not making playoffs last year to now being in a top spot across the league has been huge. While we did have some hiccups with lost games after a winter break, I think we’ve really been able to bring it together since then. The key for us winning three of our last four has been our desire to win, and people really getting back into that winning mindset.

“My expectations for the rest of the season are high. I know we have a very good team that’s capable of winning a lot going forward. Obviously, we’re looking to win every game we play, and I believe with the players, coaching and systems we have, that’s something we have the capability and desire to accomplish.”

The fourth through eighth scoring positions in the division are held by QV’s Braeden Steffey (10 goals, 14 assists), Kyle Rice, (11, 11), Max Quinn (7, 13), Moore (5, 13) and Mattie (5-11). Flowers, with nine goals and four assists (13 points), ranks 10th.

“Noah Mattie had two goals and the shootout winner over Chartiers Valley,” said his coach. “Noah along with Kyle Rice have had great senior seasons and are keys to our success.”

At the end of January, the Quakers were averaging 4.6 goals per game and had outscored the opposition 74-42.

Landon Buterbaugh, QV’s outstanding freshman goaltender, had posted a 2.51 goals-against average and .892 save percentage with four shutouts, stopping 339 of 380 shots.

“Landon continues to play well in net,” coach Quinn said, “especially stopping all three shots in the shootout win.”

Max Quinn, sophomore Will Watson and Steffey anchor the Quakers’ defensive corps. Hayden Earlewine, a senior and another top defenseman, has been out of the lineup with an injury.

When Steffey plays defense, sophomore forward Coleman Carey takes his place on offense.

“Max, our captain, Will and Braeden have played a lot of defense for us while Hayden has been injured,” coach Quinn said. “They’ve been excelling at both ends of the ice. Braeden has stepped up offensively, too.”

A defenseman who moves to center at times, Quinn believes the Quakers have “righted the ship” with its performance at the end of last month, as does his coach.

“I think we’re doing good and staying on the right track,” Max Quinn said. “There were a few hiccups along the road but those are gone now.

“The key to winning (three of four) was going back to what worked. Simple, fast and hard hockey. Our work ethic wins games for us. If we can keep on this path and keep working hard and playing as a team, it will be a fun rest of the season that could go anywhere.”

Quinn was an alternate captain two years ago and became the first sophomore in program history to wear a letter.

He is in his second season as team captain, and said his role is “to lead and keep everyone positive.”

After graduation, Quinn hopes to pursue a hockey career in juniors and at the college level.


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