PIHL semifinals roundup: Quaker Valley rallies to beat Freeport in final second
Quaker Valley's defense of its Penguins Cup title continues after a remarkable last-minute escape.
The Quakers scored twice in the final 33 seconds of the game, including the game-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 Robert Morris University's Island Sports Center.
Jimmy Perkins had a hat trick for the top-seeded Quakers (23-1-0), who advance to the Penguins Cup final next Monday at Consol Energy Center.
Perkins scored the game-tying goal after the Quakers won an offensive-zone draw with 32.5 remaining, and Peterkin flipped a rebound into the net through traffic for the game-winning goal.
“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 a Frazetta's goal with 4:02 left gave Freeport a 3-2 lead.
Quaker Valley used its timeout with 1:40 remaining and pulled goalie Parker Sherry for an extra attacker, which set the stage for the frantic finish.
“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 clear 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. He really helped us a lot in the zone,” 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 was able to lift the puck into the top of the net with the final touch of the game.
The officials ran the final 0.2 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. We gave up two goals in 32 seconds. How often does that happen? It's unbelievable.”
Both goalies turned in strong performances. Huston finished with 20 saves for Freeport, and Sherry stopped 19 shots for Quaker Valley.
Thomas Jefferson 4, Mars 2 — Thomas Jefferson got a pair of goals from Tommy Kimmick, and Nick Ripepi turned away 24 shots as the Jaguars upset second-seeded Mars at RMU's Island Sports Center to advance to the Penguins Cup championship for the first time since 2007.
Mars' streak of six consecutive Penguins Cup finals appearances came to an end. It was the third time TJ beat Mars this year as the Jaguars ran their unbeaten streak to eight games. Thomas Jefferson (17-5-1) will take on two-time defending champion Quaker Valley at 5 p.m. Monday at Consol Energy Center for the Penguins Cup.
TJ also got goals from Zach Uhlyar and Nick Tamburi. Craig Mazzotta and Beau Heakins scored for Mars.