Park City pivots past unbeaten Alta
February 5, 2008
Much like the New York Giants the night before, on Monday night the Park City High School hockey looked an unbeaten team straight in the eye and beat them. In fact, the Miners beat the Alta Hawks quite soundly, 6-2. The win launches Park City into the semifinals of the playoffs with a perfect record in the postseason.
Park City went into the game hoping to use their conditioning to exhaust and outlast the Hawks. But soon after making three quick goals in three minutes in the first period, the Miners realized that they might rethink the rest of the game. At first it seemed like a game as the two teams each scored a goal halfway through the first, but the Miners quickly jumped ahead scoring on a shot and a rebound for the 3-1 lead.
Park City went on yet another run in the second period, again scoring in a matter of minutes to take a whopping 6-1 lead.
"The puck bounced our way tonight," Park City head coach David Decker said.
Of the six goals scored, each one was scored by a different Park City player, except for Brandon Beebe who scored two goals. A number of other players contributed with assists.
"That was something we worried about," Park City player Pearce Decker said. "Sometimes we get selfish. Tonight, it was about teamwork and everyone was playing to win."
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In the unfamiliar position of losing, the Hawks reverted to a very aggressive game in the third quarter, racking up nine goals in just one period, adding to a shocking 14 total penalties in the game. The game ended on an Alta penalty assessed against Spencer Dom for game misconduct. It was his third and will suspend him from playing in the next game. Pearce said that by the third quarter, Park City was just trying to avoid getting injured.
"I was thinking about survival at this point," Pearce said. Miners had injuries at the end of the game, including one that required a trip to the emergency room.
"It was a tough game at that point," Pearce said. "It turned into an injury fest."
Coach Decker said that once they went up six goals the Miners adjusted the game plan to just keep Alta at bay. Alta did score one goal at the beginning of third and couldn’t find the net again after that.
According to Decker, the Hawks play in a less competitive division and may not have been ready for the quick offense of the Miners.
Pearce said that he suspects that the Hawks goalies are usually very good, since the team was undefeated, but as Park City puck kept flying in, they got rattled.
"It hurt his focus," Pearce said.
Decker also applauded his defense, which was down a man with Ryan Kozole out with a wrist injury. He especially praised Walker Dunavent for playing his "best game of the year," and also staying out the penalty box. He also noted the work of the other defensemen on the night.
"Walker, his partner Pearce Decker the two of them and also Dan Murphy were flawless," Decker said. "No one made any mistakes."
After this game, Decker is excited to see what happens next in the playoffs. He says if this same team can show up for the rest of the postseason they could finish very well.
"They just have to know how well they can play when they try," Decker said. "I’m excited. They were inspired. If they play like this, no one will touch us."
Pearce said that the key to the game was being ready for the Hawks.
"It’s all about preparation for us," Pearce said. "It’s a matter of understanding its going to be tough and working harder."
Miners building a firm foundation of wins in the playoffs
The Miners are continuing a strong streak in the playoffs. On Thursday they traveled south to take on Sky View at the Peaks Ice Arena in Provo. Both teams started out cautiously, keeping the score locked at 0-0 until the third period.
"We were the better team," Decker said. "It just took some time to wear them down and create something."
Decker suspected that Park city’s altitude training and weekly practice schedule gave them the conditioning edge.
In the third period, the Miners took action with forward Wes Selby catching a pass from Zac Fear then keeping with the play in front of the opposing net long enough to slide the puck around the goalie and score the first goal. The second and final goal of the evening was delivered by forward Cristoffer Dohrn on an assist from Walker Dunavent in the final two minutes of play.
Park City much of the first two periods in the penalty box with five penalties assessed to them, compared to Sky View’s one. With a scoreless game the lopsided penalties calls frustrated Decker but was happy to see his team play past the calls.
The Miners defense held Sky View to 24 shots. Park City netminder Will Parry was able to stop 24 of 24 shots on net.
The Miners now advance to the semifinals as they take on East at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex on Friday, Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m.