Talented young goalie backstops Quaker Valley hockey to memorable season

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Sunday, April 3, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Landon Buterbaugh stepped in as Quaker Valley’s starting goalkeeper from Day 1 of his freshman year.

It doesn’t happen often in high school hockey.

But QV coach Kevin Quinn didn’t hesitate to station the 5-foot-9, 130-pound Buterbaugh in front of the net this season. He responded with an all-star performance.

“Landon entered his freshman year an accomplished amateur goalie,” Quinn said. “We were excited to add someone of his skillset. He started out confident and poised. He finished confident and poised. He’s a really good kid, too.”

Buterbaugh, 15, helped propel the Quakers to the Varsity A Northwest Division title and a semifinal appearance in the PIHL Penguin Cup playoffs.

He started all 22 games this season and posted a 16-6 record with four shutouts, 2.55 goals-against average and .892 save percentage. Buterbaugh turned back 464 of the 520 shots he faced and saw more than 1,100 minutes of ice time.

“Landon’s the reason we did as well as we did,” Quinn said. “He is very quick and athletic and has been well coached. His future is extremely bright, primarily because of his skill, work ethic, competitiveness and quality of character.”

Buterbaugh, who also competes in lacrosse at Quaker Valley, recorded a 3-0 shutout Oct. 4 against Beaver in his varsity debut. He also blanked Plum, 3-0, Wheeling Park, 8-0, and Freeport, 2-0.

“Once we got our first couple games under our belt, we knew we could probably do something special and be a pretty successful hockey team,” Buterbaugh said. “My freshman year was a really awesome experience. All the boys on the team were really welcoming.

“I personally had a good start to the season with four quick shutouts, so it was really nice for me to start settling into high school hockey.”

The talented netminder plays on multiple teams in the offseason and recently participated with his club team in a tournament in Cleveland.

Buterbaugh has a passion for stopping opponents’ shots.

“I’ve been skating ever since I’ve been able to walk,” he said, “and hockey has always been in my family. Once I was able to sign up, probably around the age of 4 or 5, hockey became a big part of my life.

“I’ve always enjoyed being a goalie, but my parents wanted me to sway more to being a skater. Once I was about 8 or 9, I started playing goalie full time.”

Now with one strong varsity campaign already on his resume, Buterbaugh is looking forward to his sophomore season.

“Our seniors were a huge part of our team and it’s hard to see them go,” he said, “but our upcoming freshman group is really strong, so we are hoping to have a better run next year than we had this year.

“I’m excited for next season to start, and hopefully the team will be able get off to a good start and make it further than we did this year.”

Braeden Steffey, a junior forward, led the Quakers in scoring in 2021-22 with 16 goals and 17 assists. He netted a hat trick Feb. 17 in a 6-1 win against Beaver.

“Braeden’s extremely valuable to our group,” Quinn said. “He led our team in scoring even though he missed time and was moved to defense for extended periods. It was a true all-star season for him.”

Another leading scorer was junior forward Ben Carlson, who finished with a team-high 19 goals and 13 assists. He netted two goals in a game six times and connected for a hat trick Dec. 21 in a 9-4 win against Norwin.

“Ben scored 20 goals for us (including exhibition games) and was a beast,” Quinn said. “He was a 200-foot player all season.”

Two other top juniors that made their presence felt were forward Riley Moore, who chalked up 19 assists to complement his eight goals, and Luke Flowers, who had 12 goals — including two against Moon in the PIHL first round — and five assists.

In the senior class, defenseman Max Quinn and forwards Kyle Rice and Noah Mattie were significant offensive threats and proved to be instrumental in paving the way for QV’s playoff season.

Quinn, no relation to QV’s coach, collected 12 goals and 18 assists and was a mainstay on defense.

“Max was our MVP,” said Quinn, QV’s veteran coach. “He played his heart out all the time and led by example on and off the ice. He will be sorely missed and remembered for how he helped get us back competing for Penguin Cups again.”

Senior Hayden Earlewine and sophomore Will Watson, who scored three goals this year, also anchored the QV defense.

Rice and Mattie clicked for 22 goals and 32 assists between them. Mattie accounted for five points in the two playoff games, including four helpers.

“Kyle scored some spectacular goals for us,” coach Quinn said. “He had a great senior season and will also be missed.

“Noah was another of our seniors who worked hard to score and be a playmaker. He helped us win a lot of games. He and Kyle played well all season together with Ben Carlson.”

Along with Buterbaugh, Carlson, Quinn and Rice were lauded as PIHL Class A all-stars this season.

Quaker Valley skated past Moon, 5-2, in the first round of the playoffs before losing to McDowell, 5-3, in the semifinals.

“We obviously were disappointed in how we finished,” said QV’s coach. “We were right there, tied 2-2 in the third period of the semifinals. I don’t feel we played well at all in the game, and that is on me. But I was happy with the growth and development of our players and team. We had some ups and downs in the second half of the season, but I was pleased we were able to get back to winning divisions and competing for Penguin Cups.”

The Quakers outscored the opposition 99-57 this season, which included an 8-7 edge in the playoffs, and started out with a sparkling 9-0 record. They entered the playoffs with four victories in their last five regular-season games.

A total of 11 players scored for QV this season. Other goal scorers included sophomores Coleman Carey and Noah Kenneweg and junior Carter Siuciak.

Coach Quinn is optimistic the Quakers will contend for a Penguins Cup championship again in 2022-23.

“We have a really good group of returning players and a very nice group of freshmen coming up. It’s one of the deepest groups we have had,” he said.

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