Quaker Valley defends PIHL Class A title
Quaker Valley came into the PIHL Penguins Cup Class A championship game Wednesday having trailed for all of four minutes and 26 seconds.
The whole season.
Upset-minded Mars thought it had taken an early lead on the Quakers — only to have the goal disallowed. The No. 1 seed Quakers never looked back.
Jimmy Perkins had two goals and an assist, Adam Pilewicz also had three points, and Quaker Valley stayed undefeated this season in winning its fourth Penguins Cup, defending its title with a 5-1 win against No. 2 Mars at Consol Energy Center.
“Very proud of the boys,” Quakers coach Kevin Quinn said. “To win each game in the regular season and playoffs to get to this point takes consistency, so I thought we had a real good consistent focus all throughout the year knowing you were the hunted team as opposed to the hunter.”
The third member of the Perkins-Pilewicz line, Connor Quinn, added a goal and an assist, and Ryan Dickson and Otto Schaefer also scored for Quaker Valley (25-0), which will play West Chester East for the state championship Saturday.
Appearing in its sixth consecutive Penguins Cup title game, Mars (19-4-1) came out strong, and appeared to have taken the lead 11:53 in when a Craig Mazzotta shot from the point got past Quaker Valley goalie Parker Sherry, setting off a celebration on the blue-and-gold side of the Penguins' home rink.
But the goal was waved off due to a high stick of the puck.
“From where I was standing, our guy didn't even touch it,” Mars coach Steve Meyers said. “And I know if I could see it, he should have been able to see it.
“But it is what it is. We should have done a better job of handling stuff like that. We were right there to that point, but once you get that in your head that you had a lead and you got it taken away, bad calls, it's hard to come back from.”
For his part, Sherry maintains the stick (likely of Mars' Nick Berteotti) touched the puck at the level of his glove, which he said was above his collarbone and above the crossbar.
Regardless, Mars wasn't the same after the play — and Quaker Valley appeared reinvigorated.
“It kind of was a wake-up call because they were working hard and they were outplaying us at the start,” Perkins said. “It kind of got the bench fired up.”
Less than two minutes later, Quaker Valley was off and running. Quinn broke in down the left side and fed a pass to Perkins, who was skating down the slot. Perkins directed it into the net behind Mars goalie Christian Knapp.
From there, the Quakers' special teams took over. Schaefer and Perkins had power-play goals five minutes apart late in the second period. Quaker Valley's denied eight Mars power-play chances.
“That was the difference in the game,” Kevin Quinn said. “It's a deflating thing when you don't score on that many power plays — plus your best players are tired.”
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.