Mars never led in two regular-season games against Quaker Valley earlier this season.
So when Quaker Valley goaltender Parker Sherry was unable to catch a long shot and it went past him into the net for the first goal Wednesday in the PIHL Class A Penguins Cup championship, the Planets were flying high.
There was only one problem for Mars -- the goal didn't count.
The referees waived off the goal because they said Nicholas Berteotti touched the puck with a high stick. Then, less than two minutes later, Jimmy Perkins scored the first of his two goals to give the No. 1 Quakers (25-0) a lead they never relinquished in a 5-1 win at Consol Energy Center.
"From where I was standing, our guy didn't even touch it," Mars coach Steve Meyers said. "And I know if I could see it, he should have seen it. But it is what it is. We have to do a better job of handling stuff like that. ... Once you get that in your head that you have a lead and you have it taken away by bad calls, it's hard to come back from."
No. 2 Mars (19-4-1) had its share of chances after Perkins' first-period goal, getting seven power plays in the first two periods. But each time, the Quaker Valley penalty-kill unit was up to the challenge.
"That was the difference in the game," Quaker Valley coach Kevin Quinn said.
The Quakers power play had no trouble capitalizing on Mars' mistakes.
With Quaker Valley still holding a 1-0 lead and on a power play with under seven minutes left in the second period, Quakers defenseman Ryan Lottes threw a shot toward the net. The puck hit a group of players in front and found its way to the stick of Otto Schaefer, who put it past Planets goaltender Christian Knapp to make it 2-0.
The Quakers widened the lead to 3-0 five minutes later on another power-play goal. Perkins got the puck in Mars' corner, made a move around defenseman Ian Houk-Graves, crossed the face of a sprawling Knapp and went top shelf for his second goal.
"It's nice [to score two goals], but I felt like I could have had a couple more," Perkins said.
Houk-Graves got Mars on the board with a short-handed goal 1:13 into the third period, and then the Planets went on the power play shortly afterward. But again, Quaker Valley's penalty-kill was up to the task.
"Our power play has been our biggest asset all season and it fell flat [Wednesday]," Meyers said. "We had our chances."
Sherry didn't allow another goal, finishing with 17 saves, and Connor Quinn and Ryan Dickson each added a third-period goal to seal Quaker Valley's second consecutive Penguins Cup title and fourth overall.
The Quakers have gone 46 consecutive games without a loss and will try to make it 47 when they face A Flyers Cup champion West Chester East at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Pennsylvania Cup championship at IceWorks in Aston, Pa.
Quaker Valley won the title a year ago and is 2-1 all-time in PIHL championships, with the loss coming against West Chester East in 2008.mobilehome - hsother