Miners hockey team routs Salt Lake 11-0
Coming into Wednesday night’s game at the Park City Ice Arena, the Park City High School hockey team was prepared for a battle.
Facing off against the Salt Lake Stars Independent team, both teams entered the game with an undefeated 2-0-0 record. But, with home-ice advantage in full effect for Park City, the Miners quickly asserted their dominance, jumping out to a 3-0 first-period lead in what eventually turned into an 11-0 shutout victory.
Derek Sederman got the scoring started for the Miners, finding the back of the net with 6:35 remaining in the first period. Clay Groves scored less than two minutes later and Taylor Mellon slipped one past the Salt Lake goalie late in the period.
Park City’s offense stepped up to another level in the second period, scoring six goals to take a 9-0 lead into the second intermission. Will Radovan scored the first and last goals of the period, with Beau Milkis, Groves and Aidan Shaw (who scored twice), accounting for the rest of the offense.
In period three, Radovan finished off his hat trick and Sam Amidon scored a short-handed goal with less than two minutes left to seal Park City’s 11-0 win.
Park City coach Aaron Dufford said the Miners continue to show they won’t play down to their competition.
"We expected a little more competition out of Salt Lake," he said. "They were right below us in the standings and we were prepared for a tougher game. But we don’t quit, and that’s a good thing. That was evident again last night. We come out to win hockey games and score goals."
While the potent Park City offense showed up again Wednesday night, increasing its season goal total to 34, perhaps the more important unit is the Park City defense. In three games this season, the defense has only allowed one goal.
"I’m very confident in our defensemen," Dufford said. "Our defense impedes opponents’ progress into the offensive zone. And, while it’s almost impossible to eliminate all shots from an opposing team, what you want to try to do is eliminate their good scoring opportunities and eliminate their second-chance opportunities."
Having one of the best defenses in the state makes it much easier on young goalies Ishan Chho and Joe Simmons, both of whom played well on Wednesday night.
Though they didn’t come close to facing the 32 shots the Salt Lake goalie faced, Chho stopped all three shots he faced and Simmons was a perfect 8-for-8 on save opportunities.
The problem with that, however, is that as the season wears on and extends into the playoffs, the Miners are going to face tougher competition. The big question is whether Chho and Simmons will be able to hold up against higher-quality shots in big games. But, Dufford said, Chho and Simmons get plenty of work against the state’s most potent offense on a daily basis.
"Given the team we have and the ability we have, we have to use practices as a way to see better competition," he said. "One thing we try to do is compete harder in practice against ourselves than we face in games. Our goalies are seeing quality shots in practice, just like they did in earlier games that were more competitive."
Given how much the Miners control the puck, too, it’ll be hard even for tougher competition to best them.
"We’re a pretty tenacious group," Dufford said. "A great offense is sometimes a great defense, too."
So, Dufford continued, if the Miners can continue to be as aggressive offensively as they were Wednesday, he’s not too worried about the rest of the regular season.
"We’re kind of like a bunch of flies or bees that you have to keep swatting away," he said. "I can see how it’s frustrating [for other teams] when you struggle to get out of your defensive zone and find good scoring opportunities."
With a 3-0 record and 34 goals scored compared to only one allowed, it might seem as if the Miners are firing on all cylinders. But, Dufford said, it’s important for the team not to become complacent. It’s a long season and there are always areas a team can improve.
"Special teams have been a weakness for us," he said. "It hasn’t been evident against some of the competition we’ve played, but we need to work on our power play breakouts and our zone entry. We’re good when we get into the zone, but even against lesser competition, we sometimes struggle in that transition area."
The Miners return to the ice on Wednesday, Nov. 12, when they square off against Corner Canyon at the County Ice Center in Murray. That game is scheduled to start at 7:45 p.m.
The Youth Sports Alliance will host a team scramble golf tournament on June 3 at Victory Ranch in hopes of raising funds for its scholarships and youth programs.