An emotional win on the ice
To say that Park City’s Walker Dunavent is emotional on the ice is an understatement. All season his passion and emotion has been both positive and negative for the Park City High School hockey team, but never to a greater extent than it was against the talented Skyline Eagles on Monday night in Salt Lake, where Dunavent recorded a hat trick (three goals) and four penalties in a 5-2 victory.
Both teams started the game out slowly, until Skyline finally scored with about four minutes left in the first period. The Eagles scored again at the start of the second and looked to have control of the game. However, less than a minute later, Dunavent evened things up.
"They went up 2-0 and I’m thinking, ‘This is going to be like a Gong Show,’ but our guys showed they were prepared to play," Park City head hockey coach David Decker said.
But the Gong Show turned into the Dunavent show, as the Miners silenced the Skyline offense and continued to score. Dunavent took over on offense, scoring two more goals in a row for the Miners.
"We’re always slow in the first period," Dunavent said. "We get in a hole and dig ourselves out."
Unfortunately, when he wasn’t out on the ice scoring, he was in the penalty box. Dunavent joked that the time spent in the box gave him plenty of time to break down the Eagles’ defense.
"It helped me get concentrated on getting back in," he said.
Dunavent said that most of his trips to the "think tank" were due to scuffles with Skyline’s Michael Langaniere.
"With the best player on their team, I go after them and try to get them in penalty trouble," Dunavent said. "Sometimes it doesn’t go my way."
The Eagles faded in the third period due to a mix of an aggressive Miners squad and a short Skyline bench. The far more physical Park City continued their relentless pursuit as the Eagles grew tired.
"That’s one of our better things," Dunavent said. "We were able to wear down the team." With six minutes left in the game, Dunavent and the Miners got the biggest scare of the game. Dunavent was called for covering the puck in the crease, with it comes either a minor penalty for delay of game or a penalty shot. A fifth penalty for Dunavent would have put the star player out the game and the next two games for misconduct. Alternatively, Skyline could choose to take a penalty shot at the net with no Park City defenders on the ice. Down 3-2, the Eagles choose the penalty shot. Miners’ goalie William Parry was subsequently able to block the shot, a lucky break for Dunavent and the Miners.
"I was hoping for the penalty shot," Dunavent said. "I was scared I’d be suspended the next two games and I have family coming in."
"I’m glad Will saved it," he continued. "He bails us out all the time."
The Miners continued to hold off Skyline through the third period, before Robert Repko and Christoffer Dohrn scored to finish off both the game and the Eagles.
This is the second quality team that the Miners have beat handily and are already looking forward to facing one more standout team Brighton in three weeks.
"I think we’ve been on the down side," Dunavent said. "People underestimate us."
The Miners will back to prove themselves again when they host Copper Hills next Wednesday, Dec. 19 at the Park City Ice Arena at 8 p.m.
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Park City intends to soon seat an internal task force that will study issues within the municipal government itself related to the LGBTQ community.