April 27, 2012
ICE HOCKEY PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Dan Ufberg
Dan Ufberg concluded his high-school hockey career by reaching the summit.
The senior defenseman scored the game-winning goal in Council Rock South’s 4-3 win over West Allegheny in the Pennsylvania Class AA state title game. It was another case of the Golden Hawks’ captain coming up big when it mattered most. Soft-spoken off the ice, he was a force on it all season, whether making a big play on offense or patrolling his own blue line, like a sentinel. Ufberg’s performance this season earned him the Courier Times Golden Team Player of the Year award. He finished the season with five goals and 14 assists for 19 points to help the Golden Hawks to their second straight Flyers Cup championship and first-ever state crown. All year long and, in fact, throughout his career with the Golden Hawks, Ufberg displayed a propensity for playing his best hockey when the stakes were the highest, the pressure the greatest. “He’s the one player I never had to worry about,” said Ufberg’s coach, Joe Houk. “I always thought of myself as a playmaker and a goal scorer,” Ufberg said. “My biggest strengths are my speed and my understanding of the game. I’ll make the big pass or score the big goal.” Ufberg took to hockey at a young age. His father, a native of Moscow, Russia, was a hockey enthusiast, and his son was on skates at age 4 and skating in an in-house league by the time he turned 6. “I’m sure the first thing he wanted to do was get me on the ice,” Ufberg said. Ufberg and his teammates came into the 2011-12 season with big ambitions. Some of the Golden Hawks played for the team that lost the Flyers Cup final two years ago. In 2011, South won the Flyers Cup before falling in the state title game. This year’s unit had not only experienced the championship atmosphere but also understood what it took to get to that point. Complacency never became an issue. “Honestly, as a senior, I had the same focus,” Ufberg said. “I knew what we were capable of doing and, during tryouts, I could tell we had the same potential. I knew we could match up with any team in the league if we worked hard in practice.” Ufberg hopes to continue his hockey career with the Division I club program at Towson University. He’ll be taking some fond memories with him, particularly of Houk, whose passion for hockey is contagious. “He’s been a huge influence,” Ufberg said. “He’s helped me improve over the last four years, and I think he’s made me a better person.”
All-Area Team (Bucks County)
Forward: Steve Junod, Council Rock South, Senior, Was part of the top line for a Golden Hawks team that won the Class AA Flyers Cup and the state championship. Consistent scorer was a threat any time he was on the ice. Tallied 24 goals and 24 assists.
Forward: Luke Matthews, Pennsbury, Senior, Led the Falcons in scoring with 27 goals and 15 assists while also serving as his team’s captain. Helped Pennsbury to the Flyers Cup Class AA quarterfinals.
Forward: Matt McEntee, Holy Ghost Prep, Senior, The veteran forward led the Firebirds in scoring and keyed their run to the Class AAA Flyers Cup finals. Scored 26 goals and added 21 assists, including four goals and three assists in the Flyers Cup tournament.
Defense: Kevin Kerr, Holy Ghost Prep, Sophomore, The young defenseman played with the poise of a veteran. Scored 14 goals and added 23 assists, including three goals and six assists during his team’s Flyers Cup run; he was the top scorer in the tournament. Played for the U.S. Youth Olympic team.
Defense: Dan Ufberg, Council Rock South, Senior, Golden Teams Player of the Year scored the goal that gave his team the state championship. A gifted blueliner who played his best hockey in critical moments. The Golden Hawks’ captain finished his final high school season with five goals and 14 assists.
Goaltender: Hayden Richards, Council Rock North, Junior, Ended the season with a 3.01 goals-against average and a save percentage of .890 while helping the Indians to the Flyers Cup. Did his best work down the stretch; compiled a 2.02 goals-against average over the course of his last nine games.
Forward: Nick Keck, Council Rock South, Sophomore
Forward: Nick Bohatiuk, Holy Ghost Prep, Freshman
Forward: Kyle Walter, Council Rock South, Sophomore
Defense: Drew Sweetland, Pennsbury, Senior
Defense: Harrison Pitts, Council Rock North, Senior
Goaltender: Ben Herring, Pennsbury, Junior
By Rick Woelfel
The Bucks County Courier Times