Pioneers stage dramatic comeback |

Pioneers stage dramatic comeback

By Jen Watkins, Of the Record staff

The Park City Pioneers celebrate their win against the Jackson Hole Moose as a crestfallen Moose kneels nearby at the Park City Ice Arena Jan. 29.

Park City’s semi-pro hockey team, the Pioneers, knew they had their work cut out for them when they went up against the Jackson Hole Moose Jan. 29 at the Park City Ice Arena. General Manager David Imonti said the Moose have been around nearly 20 years and are previous national champions.

The Pioneers scored the first goal but were down 3-2 at the end of the first. He said he became nervous when the Pioneers didn’t score at all in the second period and were down 4-2 going into the third period. The Pioneers scored midway through the third, but the Moose followed that up with a goal of their own, making the scored 5-3.

"That’s when you get kind of nervous," Imonti said. "(We were) running out of time and down by two. That’s a pretty big obstacle to come back from."

But the Pioneers were able to score twice in the final two minutes to tie the game, sending the game into a shootout where the Pioneers came out on top. The final score was 6-5.

"We didn’t really relax until it was tied up," he said.

Forward Adam Kostichka led the way with two goals and three assists.

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"He has 26 points in six games," Imonit said. "He’s got some ridiculous numbers. He’s definitely our top sniper."

Imonti said the Pioneers are not yet feeling the loss of defenseman Jan Prusa, who was promoted to the IHL’s Flint Generals last week. However, he said he feels the upcoming game against the rival, Utah Dawgs will be more difficult without Prusa, who was known as the Pioneers’ "tough guy."

"We didn’t need him last game just because it didn’t get out of hand," Imonti said. "But I can see this weekend coming up, it’s going to be more physical. (Prusa) just being there was an intimidating factor. He was a tough guy, fought a lot."

The Pioneers face the Dawgs Friday, Feb. 5, at the Ice Arena at 7:45 p.m. The Pioneers defeated the Dawgs in their first home game of the season, but lost the following two games.

"We’re clearly a much better team than them," he said. "But for some reason they just have our number. They’re not as talented but they work real hard. And (they have) a couple guys that do a lot of dirty stuff."

He said he can see the Dawgs taking advantage of Prusa being gone.

"Its going to be a very entertaining game this weekend, but it could get ugly," he said.