Breckenridge Vipers hockey sweeps Park City at home |

Breckenridge Vipers hockey sweeps Park City at home

Vipers to host Pikes Peak in rubber match Friday night

Breckenridge Vipers skater Tommy Mines possesses the puck in transition during the Vipers' win over the Park City Pioneers on Saturday.
Elaine Collins / Special to the Daily

BRECKENRIDGE — After a pair of losses in Park City, the Breckenridge Vipers semipro hockey team exacted revenge on the Park City Pioneers over the weekend, winning 11-3 on Friday night and 12-3 on Saturday night.

On Saturday at Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge, the Vipers received goals from eight players, including two-goal games by forward Shamus O’Neil and forward Josh Gionfriddo, and a hat trick from Summit County native Sean Costello. O’Neil began the scoring with 15:24 remaining in the first period, assisted by Gionfriddo and defender Tommy Mines. Gionfriddo scored about five minutes later before a pair of goals drew the Pioneers within a 3-2 deficit in the final five minutes of the first period.

O’Neil’s second goal of the first period, at the 1:32 mark, extended the Vipers’ lead to 4-2 and began a streak of six consecutive goals scored by the Vipers before the Pioneers stemmed the tide with a third-period goal. After the game, Vipers goaltender and general manager JR Engelbert said Saturday’s game was the latest example of O’Neil and Costello playing well for the Vipers on the same line together.

“With them being shorthanded, we knew if we could move the puck, control the puck, it was going to wear them down,” Engelbert said. “Shamus, I believe, he has 30 points on the season. In the offensive zone, he protects the puck well, gets into the dirty corners. He outworks opponents in the hard areas and is able to come out with the puck a lot. He gives himself and his teammates good opportunities to get the puck in the net. He and Sean, they are working well together. Sean’s got great vision with the puck. He’s able to protect it well and is great on the rush.”

The Vipers will look for more standout play from O’Neil and Costello on Friday at Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge, as the Vipers host the Pikes Peak Vigilantes at 7:45 p.m. It’ll be the rubber match for the two Colorado teams for the season after each side won a game against the other earlier in the year.

Engelbert, who stopped 26 shots against the Pioneers on Saturday, said the Vipers always anticipate a fast-paced game when Pikes Peak comes to town.

“They are going to play a little more open game,” Engelbert said. “It’ll be a little bit more of a free-flowing game. Hopefully our structure will be able to contain that, slow them down, play the game we want to play.”

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