Pioneers sweep San Diego
January 7, 2014
On Jan. 26, 2013, Park City Pioneers goalie Kyle Gover earned the first-ever shutout in the brief history of the Mountain West Hockey League when he blanked Aspen.
Not one to be outdone by his own teammate, goalie Eric Moldenhauer picked up the second shutout in MWHL history on Saturday, Jan. 4, at the Park City Ice Arena.
Playing against the newly-formed San Diego Skates, Moldenhauer didn’t see too much action in goal, but when he did, he turned the puck away with ease, making every save in Park City’s 6-0 win.
With Gover holding the Skates to four goals in Friday night’s 10-4 Park City victory, Pioneer captain/founder/general manager David Imonti said he’d take his goaltending duo over any other netminder in the league.
"I’ve said again and again that they’re the best two in the league, hands down," he said. "Great guys, great goalies we’re very fortunate to have a 1-2 tandem like that."
It’s a good thing Moldenhauer was on his game on Saturday night, because the Park City offense was held in check for the most part by the San Diego goalie.
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"From what I hear, [San Diego’s goalie] is an 18-year-old kid, came out of nowhere," Imonti said. "He stood on his head the first two periods. I know our boys were trying hard it could have been a lot worse both nights."
Josh Angevine scored the only goal of the first period, finding the back of the net with four minutes left off assists from Mark Adamek and George Cantrall as a Park City power play was winding down.
Mike Adamek scored the only goal of the second period, when he slipped the puck by the San Diego goalie off a pass from Sean Baron with 2:42 left before intermission.
Finally, in the third period, the Pioneers started finding the back of the net with their usual frequency, putting up four goals in the last 20 minutes.
"I think they just ran out of gas," Imonti said of the Skates.
But, he added, the series against the new San Diego squad was mostly enjoyable.
"They work hard, unlike some of the other teams in the league that might be a little dirty and not as skilled maybe like a Salt Lake," he said, stirring the pot with a shot at the Pioneers’ Jan. 17 and 18 opponent. "They work very hard, they’re clean, they play hockey you’ve got to respect them for their intensity."
Dane Ludolph scored the first goal in the third period, with assists from Brian Babbitt and Tom Gatta. Babbitt added the second goal and Dan Korrub sent the final two Pioneer goals past the San Diego netminder.
Babbitt and Aaron Burrell had hat tricks in Friday night’s win and Ludolph had a goal and two assists.
The Pioneers, who are undefeated at home this season, hope to keep piling up wins in Park City.
"Right now, we want to ensure the highest-possible seeding come playoff time so we can play a fairly easy team and not someone we might stumble against," Imonti said. "We’re undefeated at home, so we’d like to continue that. We get a great crowd here the majority of our games have been pretty well attended. I’d like to keep that going as well."
They’ll need the home-ice advantage as the schedule gets tougher the next few weekends. After traveling to Aspen this weekend, the Pioneers will host Salt Lake Jan. 17 and 18, then travel to Jackson Hole on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Then it’s back to Park City for two games against the Sun Valley Suns on Feb. 7 and 8. On Feb. 14 and 15, the New York St. Nicks, a tough East Coast squad, visits Park City.
"If you look at our opponents, it’s a lot of Jackson, Sun Valley, and the New York team is going to be unreal," Imonti said. "I think it’s going to show what we’re made of. This is the part of the season where it gets kind of like an Ironman. Between now and the end of March, we almost have every weekend booked. And they’re all good, good teams. We kind of got the lighter part of our schedule out of the way earlier."
The games against Salt Lake are set to begin at 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 17 and 7:15 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the Park City Ice Arena.
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