Third-period goals spur Miners
February 21, 2014
Good things come to those who wait.
You could have reminded the two rows of Park City High School hockey team moms of that adage at the Salt Lake Sports Complex Wednesday night. But you would have done so at your own risk.
After all, over the course of this memorable season their sons had scored 121 goals en route to a 13-1 record. Now, in Wednesday’s third round of the Utah high school hockey playoffs, along came the Uintah Utes, who through almost two and a half periods had held Park City scoreless.
Patience was starting to turn to panic.
Then, just a half minute into a timely 5-on-3 power play, Park City’s Sam Amidon elevated a rebound off a saved initial shot to knot the score at one. Two more goals followed in the next four minutes and Park City came away with a 3-1 win. The win put the Miners into the final of the winner’s bracket Friday night against Viewmont (after this issue went to press), heading toward a possible berth in the championship game Monday night.
Over the course of a season filled with blowouts, Park City hasn’t faced that kind of adversity late in a game. Pulling out the comeback victory with a dominating third period impressed Park City coach Aaron Dufford.
"I think we overcame a big hurdle in that game," he said. "I’m very happy with the way we were unwilling to quit. We earned that win as a group, as a team, and as a unit. It’s a very positive note to continue on with."
The scoreboard wasn’t indicative of the flow of the game, as the ice seemed tilted into the Uintah defensive zone. Problem was, Ute goalie Jacob Slaugh was standing on his head. Park City outshot Uintah 12-4 in the first period, but Slaugh made some great saves. The second period was a bit sloppy for the Miners, but in the third their 15 shots doubled Uintah’s seven.
"Their goalie played very well," Dufford said. "Between each period we talked about elevating rebounds. We kept chipping away at that wall and eventually they started going in."
It was a Uintah tripping penalty at 10:31 in the third, followed by a slash at 9:19, that opened the door. The first 20 seconds of the 5-on-3 were chaotic, as Miner shots hit Ute skates and pucks were stalled between feet. But then Park City senior center Harry Hanskat grabbed a loose puck and calmed down the play, carrying the puck down the Ute blue line, curling in along the boards and dropping a pass back to junior defenseman Zac Polukoff at the point. Polukoff blasted one of his signature rockets; Slaugh stopped it but gave up a rebound. Sophomore wing Amidon pounced on the loose puck, lifting it above the sprawling Slaugh to knot the score 1-1 at 8:52 of the third.
Park City then swarmed. Slaugh held strong, but the Ute defense deserted him on two plays. On the first, junior center Nixon Barber won a faceoff back to sophomore defenseman Jessie Guyer in the Park City zone. Guyer lifted a popup out over the blue line into center ice. Little did he know that his defensive play was actually a pass to streaking junior wing Will Radovan who broke in on Slaugh and beat him cleanly to put Park City up 2-1 at 5:49.
Then it was up to junior wing Derek Sederman to cap off the night. Park City’s season scoring leader, Sederman had been held somewhat in check by Uintah’s physical style, but another headman pass, this time from junior linemate Carson Walker, set him off on a breakaway. Sederman deked left, pulled the puck back right, and pushed it past Slaugh for the final tally of the night: 3-1 Park City.
If the Miners were able to win last night’s (Friday) game against Viewmont, the team would earn a spot in the state championship Monday night at 8:45 p.m. at the Salt Lake Sports Complex. To find out the result of that game, head to the team’s Facebook page, Park City Miners High School Hockey, or check the Utah High School Hockey website. And then make plans to hit the next game in Salt Lake and build a big, loud crowd to help the Miners win the school’s first Utah Affiliated High School Hockey State Championship.