Pioneers close home slate this weekend
Last year, the Park City Pioneers and Vail Yeti were two of the best teams in the Mountain West Hockey League. This year, Park City moved to the newly formed Black Diamond Hockey League while Vail remained in the MWHL. Next year, however, the two teams could be rivals again in the BDHL.
The two teams will square off this weekend at the Park City Ice Arena for a two-game series, the Pioneers’ last two home games of the season.
Park City Captain David Imonti said he expects some good competition on Friday and Saturday nights.
"They’re a good team," he said. "They won the Mountain West league last year. They’re by far the best team in that league. They haven’t had much competition this year in terms of being tested, but I think it’ll be a good showcase to show where we fit in with the best that’s available at that level."
Imonti would like some revenge for what the Yeti did to Park City in Vail last year, when Vail won both games comfortably.
"We played them very, very shorthanded last year and they killed us," he said. "If we had a full roster, it would have been a completely different game, but you know how that goes."
With the BDHL playoffs scheduled for March 14-15 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Imonti would like to start getting some consistent strong play the next six weeks.
"I want to get a core together so I know what we’re going to have and roll with that for the rest of the season," he said. "We need to build some chemistry and tighten things up before we head to Jackson Hole."
Though the Pioneers dropped their last game, a 4-2 home loss to league-leading Sun Valley, Imonti said there’s some momentum already building.
"The last game we had against Sun Valley here, if we have that same team, I think we can win [in the playoffs]," he said. "If we can bring some consistency the last six weeks of the season here, we can compete with anyone."
Park City has played only six home games so far this season and will finish the year with just eight contests at the Park City Ice Arena. Though Imonti always enjoys playing at home, he said the pared-down schedule has been a good thing this year.
"I’ve been pretty pleased with everything so far," he said. "Yeah, it would be great to play more home games, but it’s worked out as well as I could have imagined. Every night, there’s been a good crowd and I hope we can pack the place this weekend. It’s a rival resort town and they’re probably going to be in our league next year — it’ll be some good hockey."
Friday night’s game is scheduled to start at 8:15 p.m. The puck will drop at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night.
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