Quaker Valley scores 2 in final minute to edge Freeport in PIHL Class A semifinal
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Quaker Valley's defense of its Penguins Cup title lives on after a last-minute escape.
The Quakers scored twice in the final 33 seconds of the game, including the winner by Cameron Peterkin with 0.2 seconds left, to steal a 4-3 win over Freeport in the PIHL Class A semifinals Monday at the RMU Island Sports Center.
Jimmy Perkins had a hat trick for the top-seeded Quakers (23-1-0), who advance to the Penguins Cup final Monday at Consol Energy Center. Perkins scored the tying goal after the Quakers won an offensive-zone draw with 32.5 seconds remaining, and Peterkin flipped a rebound into the net through traffic for the winner.
“A number of times this year, we haven't had our best effort but came through,” Quaker Valley coach Kevin Quinn said. “I'd like to think the speech between the second and third periods, that our seniors need to step up, helped. Cam scored a big goal, Jimmy stepped up and Alex (Quinn) and Ryan Lottes on defense were really strong (in the third).”
Freeport (15-6-2) got goals from Hunter Kepple, Cole Hepler and Michael Frazetta, and the Yellowjackets looked to be on their way to the final after Frazetta scored with 4:02 left for a 3-2 lead. Quaker Valley called a timeout with 1:40 remaining and pulled goalie Parker Sherry for an extra attacker.
“It's a tough one to take because we really outplayed them,” Freeport coach Dave Hepler said. “We could've hung our heads after they tied it (2-2), but we came right back down and pounded it back in the net again. Even their coaches said we deserved to win that game, but the puck just bounced a different way.”
Freeport cleared its zone multiple times after the timeout but twice was called for icing in the final minute. The second of those icing calls led to a draw won by the Quakers' Connor Quinn, who sent the puck to Perkins on the right wing for the game-tying goal.
“I felt that we needed a break, and after (the timeout), we moved Lottes up front from defense,” Kevin Quinn said. “It worked out well, but it doesn't always work out. They had a couple of icings that could've easily gone in the net.”
Overtime seemed imminent, but the Quakers worked the puck back into the Freeport zone in the final 15 seconds. Perkins' initial shot was saved through traffic by Freeport's Matt Huston, but the rebound fell to Peterkin, who lifted the puck into the top of the net with the final touch of the game. The officials ran the final 0.2 seconds off the clock without a draw at center ice.
“We didn't want to ice the puck, but we did it twice. We just wanted to get it to the red line,” Dave Hepler said. “Our whole team, the seniors, everybody played their guts out, but it's a life lesson that every second counts, and every little mistake kills.”
Huston finished with 20 saves for Freeport, and Sherry stopped 19 shots for Quaker Valley.
Sherry was particularly sharp in the first two periods, when Freeport outshot Quaker Valley, 18-11. The Quakers outshot Freeport, 13-4, in the third.
“Parker played really well in the first period, and I thought we let him down a number of times,” Kevin Quinn said. “Freeport's a counter-attack team. They play defensive, and they play smart.” They wait for you to make mistakes, and they did a really good job of capitalizing.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
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