Pioneers drop two in Jackson Hole |

Pioneers drop two in Jackson Hole

After leaving the Mountain West Hockey League and forming the Black Diamond Hockey League this season, the Park City Pioneers have gotten off to a slow start.

Granted, the 0-4 record currently only features games against the Jackson Hole Moose, a highly competitive squad and one of Park City’s biggest rivals. But still, Park City captain David Imonti hopes his squad can get back to its winning ways before too long.

Coming off a weekend in which the Pioneers dropped two more games, this time in Jackson Hole, Imonti said the record doesn’t indicate how well the team has played so far this season.

"We’ve lost four games, but the games have been good," he said. "We’ve competed to the final whistle every night. I’m proud of what we’re bringing. The wins aren’t there yet, but the competition is better."

Game one on Friday, Nov. 14, ended in a 5-2 Park City loss. Brett Fryslie and Evan Mackintosh scored the two goals for the Pioneers.

"Friday we had some chances," Imonti said. "It’s always hard the first game on the road following a long drive and maybe not having as much preparation time as you’d have at home. We competed hard, just like last time, but we ran into a hot goalie again. He can win games by himself."

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Game two on Saturday, Nov. 15, ended in a 9-6 loss for the Pioneers. After falling behind 5-2 by the end of the second period, the third period turned into a free-for-all, with each team notching four goals in the final 20 minutes of action.

Erik Milliron led the way for the Pioneers, scoring two goals and adding two assists. Nick Liotta also had two goals. Park City’s other goals were scored by Tommy Rupp and Mackintosh.

"Saturday was a sloppier game from both teams," Imonti said. "We had a bad second period. It was almost like they were running away with it, but then we got a goal and it turned into four goals. Sometimes that’s how the game works. You just need to get a couple bounces to go your way and then you take control a little bit."

But, though Imonti thought the Pioneers had plenty of chances to try to steal a win over the weekend, he said the Moose deserve the credit, not only for their play on the ice, but for the intensity of their fans.

"When you go to Jackson Hole to play, there are 1,500 people there," he said. "Nearly everyone in town comes to watch.

"And they’re just a very good, deep team. All four lines are solid."

Imonti said that, among Park City, Jackson Hole, Bozeman and Sun Valley, the Moose are probably the team to beat in the BDHL.

"They’ve been playing together for six, seven, eight years now," he said. "They have some chemistry that’s undeniable. They’re going to be the strongest team in our league."

Coming up next for Park City are two road games against the Sun Valley Suns on Dec. 12 and 13. Imonti said the Pioneers are expecting another battle, but added that he wants to pick up the first win of the season.

"Sun Valley has a good team also," he said. "Their season starts a lot later than everyone else’s, though, because their rink doesn’t open until this month. But they don’t have the goaltending that Jackson has."

Park City returns home to face the Bozeman Stingers on Friday, Dec. 19, and Saturday, Dec. 20. Friday’s game starts at 8:15 p.m. at the Park City Ice Arena and Saturday’s game starts at 7:30 p.m.