FIRST LINE POWERS QUAKER VALLEY PAST SEWICKLEY ACADEMY, 6-3
Quaker Valley is in the PIHL 84 Lumber Penguins Cup Class A championship game for the first time in its history.
What makes it even more special is that Quakers beat backyard-rival Sewickley Academy to get there.
Brothers Colin and Furman South combined for three goals and nine points to lead Quaker Valley to a 6-3 win over the Panthers on Monday night in a semifinal game at Ice Castle Arena.
“It’s special for our team,” Furman South said. “We have three players who were on the two teams before us to lose in the semifinals, so this is special for us.”
The triumph advanced the Quakers (23-1-0) to their first-ever Penguins Cup championship appearance at Mellon Arena on March 25 at 1 p.m. against Serra Catholic.
“We played Serra twice during the year. They got us up at their place and we beat them at ours,” Quaker Valley coach Kevin Quinn said. “There’s no question it’s going to be a quality game. I am just happy to be there this time. The last two years we didn’t get there. It’s clearly a big step for us as a program.”
In the process, Quaker Valley continued its dominance over the Panthers (15-9-0).
“We’ve never lost to Sewickley Academy and I think these seniors are pretty happy going out having never lost to them,” Quinn said. “I think we’re now 12-0 against them in our history. It’s a good thing for the kids and for our program. Sewickley Academy showed a lot of heart. I thought they did a good job coming back on us.
“I am proud of what we’ve done so far and proud of the program.”
The Penguins Cup championship game will allow a third Lemieux to skate on Mellon Arena ice for a game. Mikael Lemieux, son of former Penguin Alain Lemieux and nephew of Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, will play his first game on the Penguins’ home ice on March 25.
“I think it’ll be really cool. The team played really well [Monday],” Mikael said. “When we play [Sewickley Academy], it’s definitely one of the most-important games to us. We just never want to lose to them.
“We all just really wanted to go onto Mellon Arena, too. That’s all we were thinking.”
Lemieux, a sophomore, was Quaker Valley’s leading scorer during the regular season with 46 points (19+27). However, it was the Quakers’ first line of Tim Hall (2+2) and Colin (2+3) and Furman South (1+3) that took over the game. The three scored five goals and the line finished with 13 points
“We just all gelled together right away,” Furman South said.
George Jackson’s goal 6:11 into the game gave the Quakers a 1-0 lead. Colin South scored 3:39 later.
However, Sewickley Academy battled back and tied the game with two goals. Jason Limbach scored a power-play goal with 7:45 to play in the first period. Connor Blood found the back of the net to make it 2-2 with 4:15 left in the second.
Quaker Valley retaliated when Colin South buried a puck past goalie Steve Tehovnik with 1:44 on the clock.
“We go up 2-0 and we’re off to a great start. I think we got a little too ahead of ourselves,” Quinn said. “I am glad we overcame it. Colin’s goal at the end of the second was big.”
Hall scored two goals in 2:01 near the start of the third period to give the Quakers a 5-2 edge.
Brad Watts beat Quaker Valley goalie Zach Zinger for a goal to trim the Panthers’ deficit to 5-3 with 9:03 to play.
Furman South shut the door when he answered with a goal 36 seconds later.
“These guys didn’t want to lose,” Lemieux said. “As soon as they put one in the net, we came right back.”
Shawn Ritchey added an assist for the Quakers. Zinger made 33 saves in the win.
Ben Brozanski and Blood had assists for Sewickley Academy.