Panthers get first win of season over Riverton

By Breanne Thiel, Powell Wyoming Athletics On Friday, March 23 the Riverton Wolverines came to Powell where the Panthers would win with a goal scored by Kyler Muffett within the last 10 seconds of the game. “The team as a whole played as a team – they played together, they were passing, they were working together, they were talking,” said head coach Jeff Dent of the game. “They got their heads up to see each other a lot more than they have in the past. It was a major step forward – the quality of play.” The Panthers came out to score within the first six minutes of the game to take a 1-0 lead with a goal by junior Rob Sessions. “We started off aggressively,” said Dent. At the half, Powell still had the 1-0 lead. In the 55th minute, Luis Gutierrez scored another goal to increase the Panther lead to 2-0. But despite being down two goals, the Wolverines continued to battle scoring two goals over the next 18 minutes to tie the game at 2. With the last 10 seconds counting down on the clock and the score still tied at 2, Kyler Muffett scored a goal for the Panthers to win the game 3-2. “He was in the right spot and he didn’t panic – he pushed the ball right into the net instead of booting it real hard and it going somewhere bad,” Dent said of the game-winning goal. “[Muffett] played very smart, very controlled and that’s the one that won the game for us.” The win over Riverton is Powell’s first for the season and they have an overall record of 1-2. “We had worked on keeping our shape more and positions last week and the players stepped up in that a lot,” said Dent adding that “it was really encouraging to see.” In preparation for the game, Dent said that he “expected Riverton to have a fast front line – they weren’t quite as fast as they were last year but they were still fast. So I had made some adjustments and that worked out very well.” Another change for the Panthers was senior Jace Smith returning to the pitch as he was unable to play in the first two games of the season due to a rolled ankle at the 3A West Regional Basketball Tournament. “I really like his presence on the field cause he’s got some experience with multiple sports so he’s not afraid to speak up,” said Dent. “I think it made a big difference on the field just having him there.” The coach also added that as a team, “the players stepped up. I put up a couple more freshman again and I thought they played really well – very few rookie mistakes. They seemed to know their assignments and stepped up.” Senior Gabe Katz played in the keeper position having nine saves. Sophomore Garrett Stutzman also had two saves and Smith had one. “It was an exciting game to get to see them as a team,” said Dent. “They’ve come together a lot.”