Park City High hockey starts to thaw
Last Wednesday’s hockey game between Park City High School and Viewmont High School doesn’t look like much on paper, especially for the Miners, who lost 3-0, but for PCHS coach Josh Angevine and his players, it was a success. With half the team gone on a travel trip, the admitted underdogs were pleased with the result.
It showed that the Miners are turning a corner this season, and with a full squad, could be a contender against the state’s best teams.
The resurgence coincides with a return of several skilled players from other sports.
Having players like Beau Pederson and his brother,goalkeeper Andrew Pederson, back from football, and senior Jack Hanskat back from golf has certainly helped the team. After starting 3-2, the hockey team won four straight games with its full roster and stands at 7-3 following Wednesday’s game.
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Games against the Murray Spartans and Viewmont show how far the Miners have come. For example, the Spartans, who beat the Miners 8-1 at the start of the season, lost to Viewmont 3-5, while the reinforced Miners lost 3-0 to Viewmont last week.
Despite an inability to score, the Miners produced 29 shots on goal against the Vikings, and for the most part kept pace with them.
“I think this game was really good for us,” Angevine said last Wednesday. “We knew we were going to have a short bench; we knew they were going to essentially have their full squad. The message before the game was essentially ‘We have nothing to lose, so be loose, let’s be relaxed, let’s have fun, but let’s bring it to them.’”
A large graduating class and an exodus of players to travel teams in other states left a talent and leadership vacuum on the Miners’ squad, according to players and Angevine.
Since the season’s start, Angevine has tried to foster an underdog mentality on the team. He said last Wednesday’s game was just what he wanted from his squad, apart from the score.
“The thing that I’m most impressed with is our guys stayed disciplined,” he said. “There weren’t any big, big breakdowns with selfish, lazy penalties. It was all hard-nosed in front of the net, which is acceptable.”
There were fewer hookings, trippings and slashings, according to Angevine, which he said usually stem from not getting to the play soon enough, or being left behind.
“We didn’t see any of that tonight,” Angevine said. “It was … protecting the goalie, battling for loose pucks.”
Beau Pederson, a senior, said the team hasn’t been up to the standard they want, “but we’ve definitely started to put it together lately.”
“Especially with a game like this,” he added. “Playing the No. 1 team in the state with half of our guys and playing this well is a big sign that we’re improving.”
The Miners will see if they have truly turned over a new leaf in the next few games as they face Wasatch Back (7-2-0) on Wednesday, Nov. 29, then Northern Utah (7-2-0) on Dec. 11.
For now, Pederson said he is looking forward to another big game, this time, with a full team.
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It’s going to be at least another month before Summit County’s high school athletes have any chance of getting onto the field again.