Miners begin new era with dominant victory over Uintah
Park City is coming off back-to-back state titles
A tunnel of excited Park City High School students waited outside the locker room entrance in the lobby of the Park City Ice Arena, greeting every player that walked out of the door with smiling faces and thunderous cheers after the game. The Park City student section had spent the entire game on its feet, energizing the home team.
The Miners hockey team gave the raucous home crowd plenty to cheer for all night long on Saturday in its first game of the season with a dominant 6-0 win over Uintah. New coach and former NHL player Jack Skille’s debut behind the bench couldn’t have gone any smoother. After back-to-back state championships, the Miners picked up where they left off.
“The hockey community in the entire state is growing, it’s growing fast, we’re getting more players, especially in the Park City area,” Skille said. “It’s nice to have that support from the student body. It makes the building loud, it excites our bench, it definitely makes it easy to produce energy out there.”
Park City set the tone for the rest of the game within the first few shifts, controlling the puck and creating chances in their attacking zone. The Miners drew a penalty in the opening minutes but couldn’t produce a goal. Park City relentlessly cycled the puck around the net before finally burying its first goal of the season.
After the Miners earned another power play, Jake Carter skated toward the slot and extended his stick to redirect a shot toward the goal. The original shot was saved, but the rebound bounced right back at him. Carter put home the rebound to give Park City a 1-0 lead with about six minutes left in the first period.
“I thought they were moving the puck well,” Skille said. “I threw them a different system I believe from last year. A lot of the systems we’re doing out on the ice are different from what they’re used to, so I thought they responded well to all that new information the last couple weeks in practice. It showed tonight in the game. We’re just going to keep building from here and just try to get better every day.”
Park City doubled its lead minutes later to take a 2-0 advantage into the first intermission. However, the game came to a screeching halt when a shoving match started in front of the net that also included Uintah’s goaltender. The goaltender was ejected from the game, creating a lengthy delay.
“Just an unfortunate turn of events, I’m not sure what happened before it, but again, I’ve seen a goalie ejected, but I’ve never seen a goalie ejected with a team that has no backup,” Skille said. “That really put the other team in a jam, and rules are rules, but at the same time, I want to make sure that we give our crowd a chance to view some hockey. So, we came close to having to walk away from the game, that wasn’t a fun experience.”
After a long discussion about what to do between the coaches and the referees, Uintah was allowed to use its junior varsity goaltender instead, and the game resumed. The Miners had a five-minute power play as a result of the penalty, and Keegan Torrey extended the lead to 3-0 with another power play goal. Park City struck again late in the period for a 4-0 advantage.
Micah Procino and Xander Riessen teamed up for a goal off the opening faceoff of the third period, and another power play goal completed the 6-0 rout. Park City kept the puck in the Uintah zone for most of the game, and goaltender Colton McIntyre only had to make a few saves to earn the shutout.
“We got up (in the game) and we still didn’t change, and that’s the sign of a more mature group,” Skille said. “I’m excited about that more than anything.”
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Mattie Prior has taken over for the Miners after her twin sister, Cassie, broke her wrist.