Miners hockey cruises to playoff victory
Thirteen was a lucky number for the Park City High School hockey team on Wednesday night at the Park City Ice Arena.
In the first round of the playoffs, the No. 2 Miners squared off against No. 15 Olympus, winning the game 13-0 to advance to the next round.
After losing its last regular season game at UCI North, Park City was back at nearly full-strength — all the players who missed the regular-season finale to play with their club teams were back in action and most of the players who sat out the finale with injuries were back as well.
Still, the Miners know they let a chance at the No. 1 seed slip away, so they were excited to get things back on track Wednesday night.
"It feels good because, after that loss, I think it was a good wake-up call for us," goalie Ishan Chho said. "It was telling us playoffs weren’t going to be a walk in the park like the rest of the season was. It’s good we got our momentum back right after that loss."
Chho was especially happy to have a full squad back, because many of the injured/missing players were defensemen. He said Wednesday’s game was much easier in terms of communication and cohesiveness on the back end.
"Most of them, we communicate easily and decide if they’re going to take a shot or whatever," he said. "It’s also nice to have a lot of defensemen because, if we only have one or two lines, they’ll get tired."
Defenseman and assistant captain Sam Groves said he noticed the communication was still a little lacking on Wednesday night. But, he added, he’s confident the Miners will figure everything out by Monday’s game.
"We all play for different travel teams, so getting together and flowing and making good plays is kind of hard because we all have different systems on our different teams," he said. "It’s hard integrating all those into one system. When we get later into the playoffs, though, we’ll start to play more as a team and use each other more."
Offensively, it doesn’t hurt that the Miners have Derek Sederman leading the first line. Sederman was the top goal scorer in the state of Utah this year and was scoring almost at will against the Olympus defense.
Though Sederman likely won’t be able to score at will as the playoffs progress, Groves said the Park City system should still produce plenty of goal-scoring opportunities for everyone.
"We just have to practice and start moving the puck a little better and shooting when we have better chances," he said.
For Chho, who doesn’t see much action in the net against weaker teams, he said his mental focus is crucial. No matter the score, he plays as if it’s a 0-0 game.
"I just keep saying to myself, ‘It’s the playoffs,’" he said. "I need to save all the shots. I try to keep myself focused and not let anything in on my side."
Park City will take on No. 7 Skyline at the Salt Lake Sports Complex on Monday night at 6:45 p.m. Should the Miners win that game, they’ll play again on Tuesday night at 9:45 p.m., also at the Salt Lake Sports Complex.
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