Quaker Valley hockey continues to improve at 4-0
The Quaker Valley hockey team got off to a slow start by its usual standards last week against Deer Lakes.
Then came the second period, and the Quakers more than made up for it.
Junior Jimmy Perkins and freshman Connor Quinn each scored twice in a five-goal second period as Quaker Valley (4-0) rolled to a 9-1 victory over Deer Lakes at Ice Connection of Pittsburgh.
“We needed to overcome some early frustrations to get the offense rolling,” coach Kevin Quinn said. “We also had multiple contributions offensively, which is another positive, and Jonathan (Pijar) played well in net.”
Perkins finished with a hat trick in the game, with Connor Quinn and senior Ryan Dickson adding two goals apiece. Seniors Clayton Bouchard and Stephen Wei also scored for Quaker Valley, which led, 6-0, before allowing a Deer Lakes goal late in the second period.
Through their first four games, the Quakers are outscoring opponents by a 31-4 margin. And the offensive contributions are coming from all over: Seven different players have multi-goal games, with Perkins tallying two hat tricks in the first four contests.
“It's nice when you see that kind of balance because it makes it much more difficult on the opponent to cover and defend multiple lines,” Coach Quinn said.
Quinn said the team is benefiting from the PIHL's decision to increase periods from 15 to 17 minutes in length this season, as it gives the Quakers' offensive depth even more chances to score.
Senior goalie Pijar turned aside 21 of 22 shots to record his second victory of the season. He and sophomore Parker Sherry are splitting time after the graduation of Doug Revak last season.
“Goaltending, defense and how well your offensive players play defense is all part of the team defense,” Quinn said. “The goal is to not leave defense on the shoulders of the goalie, on the defense or relying on your forwards to play very, very defensively. It's important that all three elements contribute to being a good defensive team. And both goalies have gotten off to a good start stopping the pucks they need to stop for us.”
Quaker Valley returns from its Thanksgiving break with a game against South Park (3-2) at 8:40 p.m. Thursday at the Ice Castle in Castle Shannon.
Though the Quakers have gotten off to a good start, Quinn said he hasn't seen any overconfidence or complacency in practice, which he considers a good sign. And he cautioned that the team is still a work in progress despite its early-season success, particularly in terms of consistency.
“We go in spurts that are really, really good,” he said. “Then there's other times where we have a momentary lapse (of) four or five minutes where a line maybe takes a penalty or does one-on-one moves when you could have moved the puck — just little things that against better teams can end up in your net, and next thing you know you're chasing from behind.
“It's important that you start fast, stay consistent through the middle frame and finish strong at the end.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.