Pioneers sweep Ice Wolves
After starting the regular season with a 10-3 win against the Ice Wolves in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 1, the Park City Pioneers came out strong in their home opener on Nov. 2.
Mike Adamek torched the Ice Wolves early, scoring two first-period goals off assists from Dane Ludolph and Jordan Francom. Larry Boniface scored as the period ended to give Park City a 3-0 lead.
But then, in the second period, the Ice Wolves got on the board less than three minutes after the opening face off. Park City wouldn’t score in the period until only 1:29 showed on the clock, courtesy of a Mike Diersen goal set up by a Zach Hale assist.
In the third period, the Ice Wolves again matched the Pioneers’ goal total, finishing the last 20 minutes with two goals apiece. Nick Liotta and Josh Angevine scored the Park City goals, with Hale assisting Liotta and Liotta assisting Angevine.
Pioneers captain David Imonti said he felt the Pioneers could have won by more, had extracurricular fighting not taken up the bulk of their attention.
"It was chippy," he said. "We definitely could have done a lot better. I think we got a little consumed with the extra stuff. It wasn’t necessary, but it just kind of happened."
Because of the fighting, Park City will be without Eric Milliron and Hale when it travels to Jackson Hole next weekend to take on the Jackson Hole Moose.
"We’re going to try to appeal [the suspensions]," Imonti said. "But we’ll see."
He added that it’s a good sign the Pioneers were able to stay competitive after losing two key players.
"That’s quite the accomplishment," he said. "It’s a testament to how deep we are and how lucky we are to have a strong core."
Overall, Imonti said the effort was great from the Pioneers, who were playing competitively for the first time since two September exhibition games against the Weber State Wildcats.
"It was a long break, but our boys are really excited to be back at it," he said. "It was a good crowd tonight for a good cause (ticket sales benefited Furburbia) and hopefully we’ll replicate this on a regular basis."
He admitted there’s still work left to do though, especially if the Pioneers want to win against one of their most difficult opponents.
"We’re trying to get a lot of our systems polished up because we’ve got Jackson Hole next," he said. "Especially up at their place, those are some of our toughest games of the year."
The Moose, Imonti said, are one of Park City’s biggest rivals and always provide matchup problems.
"I don’t think they’ll be much different than last year," he said. "Which isn’t good for us they’re one of the few teams that gave us problems [during last season’s run to a Mountain West Hockey League title]."
After last year’s 1-7 start to the season, Imonti is just happy to be 2-0 at this point. That, he said, should give the Pioneers confidence going to Wyoming.
"I know we can compete with them," he said. "But it’s going to take a great effort both nights to be able to win."
The Pioneers and Moose will square off on Friday night and Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Jackson Hole.
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Park City is the lone undefeated team in Region 10 play after a 60-30 win over Mountain View. The Miners have three more region games in their quest to repeat as region champions.