Thomas Jefferson falls short in Penguins Cup title game
Sure, Thomas Jefferson was well aware of losing seven consecutive games to Quaker Valley heading into Monday's Penguins Cup Class A championship game.
But the Jaguars also knew they dominated the third period the last time the two teams met in late January, and when Tommy Kimmick blasted a slap shot past Quaker Valley goalie Parker Sherry 1:47 into the game, it quickly got the Quakers' attention.
That wasn't a good thing for TJ.
Quaker Valley reeled off three goals over the next 10 minutes, including a pair 33 seconds apart and six consecutive — five of which came from Connor Quinn. The Quakers became just the fourth Class A team to win three consecutive Penguins Cup titles with an 8-2 win over Thomas Jefferson at Consol Energy Center.
“We didn't forget that period, so in between periods in the locker room we made sure we mentioned that,” Quinn said.
The Quakers joined Bishop McCort (1994-97), Serra Catholic (2000-02) and Mars (2009-11) as the only other Class A teams with three consecutive championships.
Quaker Valley (24-1) will take on Flyers Cup champion West Chester Bayard Rustin on Saturday at Penn State's Pegula Ice Arena.
Quinn scored a career-high five goals and assisted on another while linemate Jimmy Perkins added a goal and five assists to continue Quaker Valley's dominance over Thomas Jefferson.
Quaker Valley (24-1) has beaten Thomas Jefferson (17-6-2), which came into the game on an eight-game unbeaten streak, eight consecutive times since the Jaguars joined Class A in 2011 and have outscored TJ, 59-10, in the process.
“We picked the worst time to have our worst game in a while,” Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Crousey said. “We can't match them talent-wise so we had to match them positionally. We didn't do that. It just wasn't our day.”
TJ got goals from Kimmick and Brendan Mason as its quest for a fourth Penguins Cup came up short.
“The hardest door I had to open was when I had to open that door and tell our kids that our season was over,” Crousey said. “They have a lot of talent over there.”
And when that talent is left unchecked around the net for portions of the game, it leads to some easy goals, including a pair of breakaways and two tap-ins.
“All of the bounces were going our way,” Quinn said. “My goals were all wide open that I just had to tap in. When things are going that well, it is a great way to play.”
TJ scored off of Kimmick's slapper, and it didn't set well with a Quaker Valley team that allowed three third-period goals the last time two teams met.
“After they scored, they spent quite a while celebrating, and our guys were already waiting at the faceoff,” Quaker Valley coach Kevin Quinn said. “That kind of showed you that they were ready to get right back at it.”
Quaker Valley answered right back when Connor Quinn took advantage of TJ defenseman Bradley Delenko colliding with Perkins at the blue line, leaving Quinn alone on a breakaway. Quinn crossed from the left side of the ice and backhanded the puck over the glove hand of Nick Ripepi to make it 1-1.
“You just can't give it back that quick, especially on a breakaway and no defenseman in sight,” Crousey said. “Once they got rolling, we couldn't stop them. We got out of what we wanted to do, and they made us pay.”
Did they ever.
Quinn scored again, this time on the power play when he ripped a wrist shot over Ripepi's glove hand from 10 feet to make it 2-1. Scott Weston made it 3-1 just 31 seconds later when Quinn flipped the puck past defensemen Mike Krieger for another breakaway goal.
“We haven't given up a breakaway in I don't know how long, and we gave up two,” Crousey said. “That's when I knew it wasn't looking good.
“I thought we had to play like we had been. When they turned it on and made it 4-1, 5-1, you saw the kids … fear sets in, and it leads to bad habits, and bad habits leads to pucks in the nets. We made it here and a lot of other teams wish they did.”