The season opener between long-time rivals Bingham and Alta was a tale of two halves. It was a physically competitive battle from the get-go. Alta managed to keep it together for the long-haul as Bingham’s defense collapsed blowing open a tight game, the Hawks winning 15-5.
Bingham took the opening face-off, but early-season jitters made for a frantic first few minutes for both teams. They traded turnovers and a few tentative shots before the game’s first penalty was assessed to Bingham giving the Hawks a three minute, non-releasable man-up advantage. The Miner defense held with the help of an Alta slash that made the teams even for a time. Bingham’s Dallen Bentley drew first blood during the all-even, and the Miners held tight to ride out the rest of their penalty. Alta came roaring back with a shot that piped out and a couple others that were well-saved by Miner Goalie Jeremy Croall. The Hawks finally got on the board late in the quarter on a fast break opportunity with Colton Tester scoring assisted by Jonathon Castor. The quarter ended one to one.
This game was plagued with face-off miscues, and the second quarter started with a Bingham violation. Alta wasted no time converting on the free ride, Castor scoring assisted by Kaiden Isbell. The next face produced the exact same result, in reverse, Isbell scoring assisted by Castor. The Hawks committed a foul, and Bingham had an extra-man opportunity, but tight defense from Alta long poles Brett Holst and Chris Belcher, and several great saves from Hawk’s goalie, Jason Babka, kept the Miners scoreless. Alta regained possession and Noah Johnson burned the Miner defense scoring unassisted. The Miners were advantaged by another Hawk foul, and had a hard shot that piped out. Bentley managed to find the back of the net to end the Bingham scoring drought. Alta committed another unsportsmanlike penalty, three minutes non-releasable. The Miner’s Josh Degn closed out the half putting in the Miners’ third goal, and pulling them within one. The score at half was Alta 4, Bingham 3.
Bingham started the second half with a man-up advantage carried over, but the Hawks’ Holst picked a pass out of the air, and Alta managed to burn the remainder of the penalty. That’s when the wheels started to come off for Bingham. Alta’s Nicolas Farnsworth quickly scored assisted by Castor. Bingham won the face-off, but Alta long-pole Riley Meadows picked off another pass and got the ball back to his offense. Croall staved off a couple of shots, but the Hawks’ patience paid off with Farnsorth scoring assisted again by Castor. The Miners’ frustration began to mount, and Alta was gifted an extra-man offense. They quickly capitalized with Belcher finding the net unassisted. Bingham’s defense slowly unraveled earning them another penalty followed by a frustration-driven unsportsmanlike call that put them two-men down. Alta capitalized easily with Tester scoring assisted by Jett Johnson. At the end of three quarters the Hawks had all the momentum having shutout Bingham, and a five-goal lead at 8 to 3.
Alta had the man-up advantage at the start of the fourth, and continued to pour it on. Castor scored assisted by Isbell followed by an unassisted goal from Farnsworth. Isbell decided to switch from assisting to scoring, putting in his second goal, and then taking the next face-off, burning the Bingham defense and scoring again. The Miners didn’t go down without a fight. Bingham’s Brock McKinley fought his way through the tough Alta defense, dodging and weaving until he got an open shot scoring unassisted. But the Hawks didn’t slack off for long. Tester shut Bingham’s surge down ripping the twine from the left side top of the arch. Alta received another extra-man opportunity making the most of it with Isbell notching his fourth goal of the game. They closed out the game with one final goal from Josh Bain assisted once again by Castor.
Alta Coach Mike Isbell stated, “The first quarter was a struggle.” He reported Alta’s off-season work, which included a three-day trip to St. George in mid-February helped them with ball control. The Hawks did a good job holding Bingham’s offense to only 5 total goals, and they converted on most of their man-up opportunities. Coach Isbell said, “The Bingham kids worked hard. They always have a good team,” but he felt confident his young team was going to do well this season.
Alta’s next opponent is Spanish Fork on March 8th. Bingham takes on Timpview on March 5th.