PCHS hockey: Miners off to a scorching start on the ice
November 2, 2012
As Aaron Dufford says, in the National Hockey League, some lines feature an 8-million-dollar star and a 500,000-dollar rookie. In order to be successful in hockey, you have to mix and match your talent with those who are willing to make the hard hits, the guys who are ready to take out the garbage.
Dufford said you have to find that delicate balance if you want to be successful. The second-year head coach of the Park City High School hockey team said his team’s 3-0 start is due to an approach that involves the entire village, not just a few flashy goal-scorers.
"I feel like I have the ability to do less coaching because we’re all on the same page after having a year under our belt," he said. "This year my panic button is kind of farther away. Last year, we were in some tighter situations up until this point. Now, I just have a greater confidence in my players this year where I can just let them loose and let them go to work."
Three games into the 2012-13 season, the Miners have gone to work. They have scored 31 goals and have allowed exactly one.
A 31-to-1 goal ratio is something that can make even the fiery Dufford smile.
"There’s a greater level of maturity and that’s throughout the whole program," he said. "Last year, there was a pretty big cutoff between the junior varsity players and varsity players. This year, it’s a pretty consistent up-slope. The whole program has gotten a lot stronger."
Recommended Stories For You
That starts with senior captain Bryant Lo Re who, Dufford said, has taken over as the voice of the team. When things aren’t going the way they should be — which has been a rarity through the Miners’ first three games — Lo Re is there to step in and make sure he and his teammates get it right.
"He’s really taken over that leadership role for us," Dufford said. "He’s always involved and guys can follow that."
Dufford also said Noah Pranschke and Robbie Derber have also carved out leadership roles for this young Park City team that has only two seniors.
Along with their emerging leadership, the Miners have scored lots of goals in lots of different ways. In the season-opening 6-1 win over Alta at home, Park City had six different goal-scorers. When they defeated the Utah County Independent South Wolves 9-0, it was more of the same — with many Miners getting in on the rout.
Among those who have starred offensively for the Miners are Harry Hanskat, Carson Walker, Will Radovan, Casey Sederman, August Masquelier and Will Miele, and there’s no guarantee that other Park City players won’t get in on the action at some point this season.
"I think we’re talented throughout and we have great balance within our lines," Dufford said. "I don’t really have a No. 1, 2 or 3 line; I have very good consistency throughout."
Not to mention consistency between the pipes, where starter Brent O’Connell, Jackson Mercer and Cameron Kincaid are all viable options for the Miners.
"There’s nothing better than having quality goaltending," Dufford said. "The boys are confident in our goaltenders and our coaching staff is too. It makes it a lot easier for those tough games."
Asked what his team must do to top its 11-3 regular-season finish in 2011-12, Dufford said knowing what style to bring each night is as key as scoring or stopping goals.
"I’d like to see the kids have a little bit of swagger about them and understand they’re a good team because they are, and also, come to play every night," he said. "Never take anybody for granted. Anyone can show up any given night and surprise you.
"A big common theme this year is we’re going to play our style of game and we’re going to take our game to them and we’re not going to let the gas up. We know that we need to let our game dictate how the game is played."