Pioneers to host Sun Valley |

Pioneers to host Sun Valley

The Freestyle World Cup is this weekend at Deer Valley, but after those events wrap up on Friday and Saturday nights, the Park City Pioneers will take to the ice at the Park City Ice Arena for a two-game series against the Sun Valley Suns.

Starting at 8:15 p.m. on Friday and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, the games will still be in full swing long after the Deer Valley festivities have come to an end.

The Suns are in first place in the newly formed Black Diamond Hockey League, but the Pioneers, mere points out of third place, will be looking to pull off an upset or two.

That won’t be an easy task, Park City Captain David Imonti said, but it’s one the team is looking forward to.

"They’re pretty stacked right now," he said of the Suns. "They swept Jackson Hole last weekend and won 7-1 and 6-2 or something. That’s pretty impressive."

Though hitting the road is never easy at the semi-pro level, Imonti anticipates the Suns will have little trouble finding players to make the trip to Park City for the two-game series.

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"I know they have some injuries now, but they’ll have no problem replacing hurt players with fresh bodies," he said. "It’s not the same team that traditionally comes to play down here."

A few of the Suns players have recent NHL experience, Imonti said. The Pioneers are looking forward to seeing how they stack up against guys of that caliber.

"It’s different," he said. "Those guys are skilled, too, but they’re a lot stronger physically. Just a couple guys like that help out immensely. Look at guys on our team like Mike Adamek, who’s a big impact player for us. He’s played at that level and he makes a big difference on our squad."

The Pioneers have already played at Sun Valley this season, where they lost both games. The first game ended with a score of 10-5 and the second 7-3. But, Imonti said, expect much more competitive games this weekend.

"Our team was a bit depleted with guys being hurt, so we had some fill-in players and the games were still pretty close," he said. "We lost by a handful of goals, but we didn’t get killed either game."

With a full squad and a couple home games, Imonti hopes the Pioneers can play much better this weekend.

"We’re hoping we can pull out an upset at least one of the nights," he said. "We’re in last place right now, but we’re only one or two points out of third place. It’ll be good, fast-paced hockey. The games have been clean, but physical, so far this season."

Plus, he added, with many tickets available for $3 and children’s tickets free, coming to a Pioneers game is a great deal.

"It’s the best bargain in town," he said. "I don’t know anything else you can do in Park City for that price, especially during ski season."

Friday night’s game at the PC Ice Arena will being at 8:15 p.m. On Saturday, the puck will drop at 7:30 p.m.