Apparently having a coach on the bench was all the Park City Pioneers needed to start playing up to their potential.
After a disappointing 1-7 start to the season, the Pioneers have rattled off three straight wins, including a two-game sweep of the rival Rebels of Salt Lake this past weekend at the Park City Ice Arena.
Dave Decker who coached the Pioneers the past two seasons before taking a break at the start of this year is now back on the bench for Park City.
It's so far, so good for the new/old coach, as the Pioneers improved to 3-0 under his leadership.
"These guys have enough to do; they shouldn't be thinking about who's next or who's not next that's my job," Decker said. "Every orchestra has to have a conductor, otherwise everybody is just a little bit off."
"We've got a little bit of direction now," said forward (and former player/coach) David Imonti. "He's the structure we've needed to make it happen."
Decker certainly had the Pioneers in tune and on key against the Rebels on Friday and Saturday nights, as they outscored Salt Lake 18-9 in the weekend series.
Friday night, the Pioneers took the ice desperate to pick up their first win of the year against the Rebels, who had taken the first three games against Park City this season.
Friday's game turned into a shootout, particularly in the third period. After taking a 6-2 lead heading into the last 20 minutes of action,
Park City scored four more goals in the third, with four different players finding the back of the net. A.J. Sanders, P.J. Nelson, Tom Gatta and Nick Liotta ensured the Pioneers would pick up their first win of the year against the Rebels.
However, Park City would end up needing those goals, since the Rebels also put together a solid third period, scoring four goals of their own en route to the 10-6 loss.
"We almost gave it away there," Imonti said. "We made sure we got the win though."
On Saturday, Park City's Kyle Gover had a great game between the pipes. He made 36 saves and allowed only three goals in the 8-3 win.
The Pioneers received a strong effort from the line of Dan Anctil, Rob Christie and Michael Spawton, who provided three goals on the night two by Anctil, one by Christie.
Korey Scoran added a spark from the defensive side, working his way forward to score one goal and assist on another while still maintaining his defensive responsibilities.
The Pioneers are now 4-7 on the season and have won four of their last five games. They'll be back on the ice Jan. 25 and 26 against the Aspen Leafs at the Park City Ice Arena.