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Miners stick it out for a shutout

Kristina Eastham, Of the Record staff

"Believe."

That was the mantra of the Park City High School Miners hockey team as they headed into battle against the undefeated East High School Leopards Wednesday night.

Despite missing four forwards, the Miners recovered from a two-game losing streak to upset the number-one-ranked Leopards, 2-0, in a high-intensity battle at the Park City Ice Arena. Park City Coach Dave Decker attributes it to believing: in themselves, in their teammates, and even in developing good habits to be better prepared for this challenging game.

When the game began, East came out strong, clearly dominating the first period. Despite East’s 10 shots in the first period alone, sophomore goalie Will Parry stood his ground, blocking them all.

"That team [East] is really good offensively and you have to have a good goalie," forward Pearce Decker said.

According to Coach Decker, the Leopards are a high-scoring team, averaging upwards of eight goals per game. But the game remained scoreless at the end of the first period.

Park City took control early in the second period with an aggressive offense. Walker Dunavant got the crowd going when he charged the goal to score the Miners’ first goal two minutes into the period.

The Miners’ aggressive offense stifled the Leopards. Park City was able to keep the puck out of its zone, and the Leopards were unable to take a single shot during the second period.

Just before the close of an exciting second period, David Paskoski scored off a blue line pass from Decker with only 47 seconds remaining on the clock, putting the Miners ahead by two.

In the third period, the Leopards were able to get the puck into the Miners’ zone once again. But Parry successfully defended against all 10 shots. The aggressiveness of both teams increased as the Leopards attempted to claw their way back into the game as the clock ran out. Despite a number of penalties on Park City players in the third period, the team kept icing the puck and keeping it out of their zone.

With a scoreless third period, the Miners finished the game 2-0 to pull off a win over their tough competition.

"It’s about everybody pulling on the same rope at the same time," Coach Decker said.

And that was exactly what happened, as both defensive and offensive players stepped up their level of play.

"We shut them out. They had to go to plan B, and they didn’t have a plan B," Coach Decker said.

Going into the game, the Miners were missing four key forwards. The absence of Zack Fear, Grey Robbins, Brandon Beebe and Kyle Fraleigh disrupted three of the team’s forward lines. In addition, practices were limited due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

"A lot of them hit the road, so I don’t get them on the ice," Coach Decker said. "We just had two days to get ready to get back in the groove."

The Miners face off against Skyline, another high scoring team next, on Dec. 10 at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex at 7 p.m. The team has a similar strategy going into that game: keep the puck out of their zone.

"If the puck’s not in our zone, they can’t score," Decker said.


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