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Coming off wins over Mars, Freeport, Quaker Valley hockey prepares for Penguins Cup playoffs

| Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley's Jimmy Perkins makes a pass through the stick of Mars' Ian Houk-Graves during a game on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, at Airport Ice Arena.

The Quaker Valley hockey team has won 20 games and lost just one so far, but regular-season success is not the ultimate goal.

“I told the team they haven't won anything yet,” coach Kevin Quinn said. “It's important not to get complacent.

“We have to stay sharp if we want to accomplish our goals.”

First on that list of goals as the regular season winds down is securing the top seed in the Class A draw when the PIHL Penguins Cup playoffs begin.

The Quakers entered the week with just one game remaining this season.

They earned a hard-fought, 5-4 win over Freeport on Sunday, thanks to goals by Alex Quinn, Jimmy Perkins, Ryan Lottes, Connor Quinn and Scott Weston. Alex Quinn added four assists, with Perkins adding three helpers and Connor Quinn two. Lottes also had an assist. Parker Sherry made 17 saves to earn the win.

Sharpening of skills was the primary focus of the team's practice regimen earlier this month thanks to an 11-day layoff between games.

“With such a large program, we need each player getting better,” Quinn said. “We need to be the hardest-working team.”

Last week's practices were more focused on game-planning for the season's final three opponents.

At the start of the week, Quaker Valley owned a six-point lead over Mars in both the Section 2-A standings and the chase for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

The Quakers bested the Planets by a count of 8-2 on Feb. 10 on the strength of a hat trick by Perkins and a seven-point night by Connor Quinn.

“They've really stepped up in big games,” Kevin Quinn said of his top two scorers.

Perkins has netted a team-high 40 goals this season. Connor Quinn has 28 goals and a team-best 34 assists.

Sherry has been strong between the pipes with a 15-1 record and a .924 save percentage. He's allowing just 1.76 goals per game.

Mars is the only team to beat Quaker Valley this season. Since that 4-3 loss on Nov. 26, the Quakers have won 15 in a row and have been playing a more consistent brand of hockey, according to their coach.

“They're definitely playing well, but they're not satisfied,” Kevin Quinn said of his team. “We can't go into the playoffs overconfident.

“We're a different team this year.”

Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.

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