Quaker Valley had a tall task Monday night trying to shut down Kittanning's top line, which includes the top two scorers in PIHL Class A in Christian Miller and Hunter Grafton.
But Kittanning, or any team that plays Quaker Valley (24-0), has an even tougher task -- trying to shut down multiple lines that all contain elite scorers.
"I think we have the best depth in the league," Quaker Valley senior forward Ryan Dickson said.
While Grafton and Miller combined for one point, three different Quakers scored a goal, with Dickson scoring twice, in a 4-1 victory to advance to the PIHL Class A Penguins Cup final and extending their unbeaten streak to 45 games. They'll face division rival Mars Area 5 p.m. Wednesday at Consol Energy Center.
Dickson is the team's leader in goals (five) and tied for the team lead in points (five) so far in the playoffs. He also led the team in points last season when Quaker Valley won the Penguins Cup and state championship.
But just to show how much scoring depth the team has this season, Dickson only finished fifth on the team in points with 51 during the regular season.
That total was still good for 10th in PIHL Class A.
"Not many teams have three lines they can send out against anyone, especially our top two lines," said junior forward Jimmy Perkins, who scored the opening goal Monday. "It's nice because if one of us isn't playing well, the rest can pick up the slack."
Perkins (59 points), sophomore Adam Pilewicz (59) and freshman Connor Quinn (57), who play on the team's No. 2 line, were 1-2-3 on the team in scoring for the season.
"I think when we're all skating together and we're all working hard and not being selfish, that's when we're at our best," Perkins said.
Dickson, meanwhile, spends most of his time playing alongside fellow senior Clayton Bouchard on the top line. Bouchard, who also had a goal Monday, tied Quinn for third on the team with 57 points and helps Dickson as one of the leaders on the team.
"They're great leaders," Quaker Valley coach Kevin Quinn said. "They've been through a lot together as a class. When they won last year, they both played important roles.
"Ryan is a pure scorer while Clayton sets him up, works hard on the penalty kill ... you name it."
In addition to having five players with at least 51 points, Quaker Valley has six other players who have scored at least 14 points, including three defensemen.
The Quakers average 7.7 goals per game, but Kittanning did the best job against Quaker Valley this season, holding them to an average of four goals in three contests.
The Wildcats are also the only team to hold Quaker Valley to fewer than four goals in a game this season, when they lost, 3-2 in overtime, on Feb. 22.
Mars has also done a decent job against Quaker Valley, giving up nine goals in two games.
But if the Planets want to beat Quaker Valley in the Class A Penguins Cup final, Mars goaltender Christian Knapp knows he'll need to do even better.
"I'm going to have to stand on my head," Knapp said.
Of course, Mars would still have to score on a team that allows fewer than 0.92 goals per game.
There's a reason why the Quakers haven't lost in 45 games.
First Published March 14, 2013 4:00 AM