May 4, 2014
ICE HOCKEY PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Peyton Jones
He isn’t flashy on the ice. He’s a likely subject for an instructional video as opposed to a highlight reel. All Peyton Jones does is keep the puck out of the net. Which he does very, very well.
Jones finished his senior season at Holy Ghost Prep with an 11-1-1 record and a 1.65 goals-against average. Those numbers made him the Golden Team Player of the Year. Jones and his teammates won 21 games this season and reached the Flyers Cup Class AAA semifinals before falling in overtime to La Salle in a game that had the atmosphere and intensity of a final. It was a game that left Jones with positive memories, even in defeat. “In a game like that, any second the game could change,” he said. “You can’t take a shift off, you have to focus every second.” At the start of the season, the Firebirds weren’t expected to reach the finals. But a young team grew up in a hurry. Jones and the other veterans on the roster showed the way. “We had a lot of people who doubted us,” Jones said. “We didn’t have as much skill (as the previous season) but we definitely worked a lot harder.” Jones first stepped on the ice at age 5 and became fixated on playing in goal almost from the start. His inspiration was longtime NHL net-minder John Vanbiesbrouck, who was in goal for the Flyers when Jones attended his first NHL game. “Ever since then I wanted to be a goalie,” he said. Jones became a serious student of his position, constantly looking for ways to improve. That sense of purpose was not lost on Gump Whiteside, his coach at Holy Ghost Prep. “He’s extremely mature and extremely focused,” Whiteside said. “He was pretty much that way when he stepped in as a freshman. As good a goaltender as he is, he’s an even better person. He’s always looking to get better.” There’s as much pressure on a goaltender as there is on any athlete in any team sport. Not every goaltender handles that well, many develop unique personality traits. Jones, however, thrives on everything that goes with the position. “I love the pressure,” he said. “I love being able to influence the game by myself by making a big save, then having my team go down and score a goal.” Jones is looking forward to the next phase of his hockey career. He played midget major hockey this season for the Junior Flyers along with playing for the Firebirds. Now he’s hoping to be selected in the upcoming USHL draft. “I’ve had a few teams call me,” he said. “I’m just hoping for the opportunity.”
All-Area Team (Bucks County)
Forward: Dylan Cerebe, Holy Ghost Prep, Senior, Helped lead the Firebirds to the Flyers Cup Class AAA semifinals. Scored 12 goals and added 21 assists to lead his team in scoring with 33 points.
Forward: Nick Keck, Council Rock South, Senior, Had planned to skip his last season of high school hockey but rejoined the Golden Hawks after the season started and made an immediate impact. Helped team win the SHSHL National Division title and reach the Flyers Cup semifinals. Contributed 11 goals and eight assists for 19 points.
Forward: Brian Parker, Holy Ghost Prep, Senior, A major contributor to the Firebirds’ success this season, he scored 21 goals and added eight assists for 29 points.
Defense: Zach Bennett, Truman, Junior, An offensive-minded defenseman, he had 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points to lead the Tigers into the Class AA Flyers Cup tournament.
Defense: Cole Marano, Holy Ghost Prep, Senior, Key contributor for a Firebird team that won 20 games this season. Also contributed offensively with eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points.
Goaltender: Peyton Jones, Holy Ghost Prep, Senior, Golden Team Player of the Year won 11 games for the Firebirds while compiling a 1.65 goals against average. Hoping to play junior hockey next season.
Forward: Robert Freiling, Holy Ghost Prep, Sophomore
Forward: Eric Graham, Neshaminy, Senior
Forward: Tristan Weiczorek, Council Rock South, Senior
Defense: Linder Kenyon, Pennsbury, Senior
Defense: Ryan Meinke, Archbishop Wood, Senior
Goaltender: Kyle McQuillan, Council Rock North, Sophomore
By Rick Woelfel
The Bucks County Courier Times