Saturday's Pennsylvania Cup loss to Bayard Rustin of West Chester closed the books on the careers of 10 Quaker Valley seniors who played major roles on one of the better three-year runs in recent PIHL memory.
"The most emotional thing was saying goodbye to the seniors," Quaker Valley coach Kevin Quinn said. "They're just such good kids, they work hard and have won a lot of games together in middle school and high school."
Over the past three seasons, Quaker Valley went 70-4-1, won three consecutive Class A Penguins Cup titles and the 2012 Class A state championship.
From Nov. 3, 2011 to March 23, 2013, a span of 506 days, the Quakers didn't lose a game, a streak of 46 games.
"It required all of [the seniors]," Quinn said. "It wasn't just Jimmy [Perkins], R-Lo [Ryan Lottes] and Alex [Quinn]. There were other guys. Look at Cam [Peterkin] scoring one of the bigger goals in our history. So I look back at those guys and I'm pretty proud of what they did. No regrets."
The goal Quinn was referring to was in the PIHL Penguins Cup semifinals against Freeport, when Peterkin scored with 0.2 seconds left to give the Quakers a 4-3 victory. Perkins had tied the game just 32 seconds earlier, his third goal of the contest.
Perkins will leave the Quakers as one of the best scorers in the program's history. A 5-foot-8 senior, he scored a league-best 49 goals this season and finished his career with 116 goals and 93 assists.
But Perkins had to watch the final 8:24 of his career from the bench after getting a game misconduct for contact to the head of Rustin's Michael Grande Saturday in the 5-2 loss to the Knights.
"You lose Jimmy for the final eight minutes of a 4-2 game, that hurt us," Quinn said. "The guy who was down came back and played the last five minutes of the game. It was very unfortunate.
"Anything that could go wrong at times did, same as last year. We've got to find a way to overcome those bad things. You can't just blame it on this or blame it on that."
Last season, Quaker Valley fell behind West Chester East, 5-1, before rallying to make it a close game in a 6-5 loss that snapped the Quakers' long unbeaten streak.
Quaker Valley again fell behind early Saturday, as J.R. Barone had two goals and an assist in the first period to help Rustin out to a 4-1 lead.
Peterkin scored in the second period to make it 4-2, but the Quakers couldn't get any closer.
"Lottes hits the crossbar with [the score at] 4-2 and Connor [Quinn] hit the post late," Kevin Quinn said. "But we certainly can't complain about bounces with the Freeport game. We're certainly fortunate to be where we were in the first place."
The Quakers followed the win against Freeport with an 8-2 thrashing of Thomas Jefferson to become the 11th team in PIHL history to win three consecutive Penguins Cup titles.
Sophomore Connor Quinn, the second leading scorer in Class A this season, and junior goaltender Parker Sherry will be among those the Quakers will look to lead their charge for four in a row.
But it'll be tough without their top scorer in Perkins, their top defenseman pairing of Alex Quinn and Lottes and seven other seniors who were part of a historic group at Quaker Valley.
"I know it's hard now to reflect because you're upset about the game, but when you win three Penguins Cups in a row, I don't think there's an ounce or a shred of disappointment that should be walking out of this building [Saturday]," Kevin Quinn said.