Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Midgets soar over Idaho Falls Eagles

Sun Valley tastes ?sweet revenge? over rival


By MICHAEL AMES
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Sun Valley assistant captain Michael Connor (left) led the Midgets defensive charge. Photo by Willy Cook

The Sun Valley Youth Hockey Midgets won the four-team boys' high school tournament hosted in Sun Valley this past weekend with an 8-6 win over the rival Idaho Falls Eagles Sunday.

Suns goalie Regan O'Reilly made 36 saves in the afternoon tournament finale and Travis Amick and Colin Almquist broke a 6-6 tie with third-period goals lifting the host Midgets, coached by Andrew Hebert.

Teams from Provo, Ogden and Idaho Falls traveled to Sun Valley to compete in this weekend's regional play. Sun Valley finished the weekend 2-0-2 with wins over Ogden (9-0) and Idaho Falls (8-6) and ties with Provo (5-5) and Idaho Falls (1-1).

The weekend was filled with good games and fine early-season high school hockey at Sun Valley Skating Center.

In Sun Valley's first meeting with Idaho Falls since an overtime loss at the Ogden Golden Spike Thanksgiving Shootout last weekend, the two teams tied, despite Sun Valley's relentless offense. At the conclusion of the 1-1 draw, the Midgets had put 30 shots on goal to only 17 from the Eagles.

Almquist scored in the first period, assists going to captain Tyson Reynoso and Sinjin Thomas.

In a penalty-filled game, Sun Valley ripped Ogden 9-0 later Saturday. Michael Connor and Amick each scored two goals. Adding single Suns goals were Reynoso, Almquist, Thomas, Levi Crandall and Max Kwok.

Against Provo Sunday morning, the Utah visitors shot out to leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3, but Connor tied the game 4-4 by scoring his second goal with 1:42 left in the high-scoring (8 goals) first period.

The game settled into a defensive battle—Provo's goalie facing a barrage of 35 Suns shots in the second and third periods—before Carl Jablonski equalized at 5-5 midway through the third period, the assist coming from Kwok. It was Jablonski's second goal.

Sun Valley out-shot Provo 42-24. Jeff Conover scored the other Suns goal.

The young Suns and Idaho Falls met again in the tournament finale Sunday and Sun Valley's solid win over the Eagles was "sweet revenge," said team manager Barbara Amick. "The kids played well and they played hard this weekend."

The weekend's final game was tied going into the third period when, with back-and-forth play and pressure from both sides, Amick scored the go-ahead goal with assists from Kwok and Connor. Almquist, from Jablonski and Thomas, added the insurance tally.

Fittingly, the tournament's top three scorers eventually pounded the nail into the Idaho Falls' coffin.

Sun Valley again succeeded in distributing scoring all around the roster. Assistant captain Connor and Kwok were the high scorers on the weekend with 9 points each. Jablonski (6), Almquist (5) and Amick (5) rounded out the list of top scorers, illustrating Sun Valley's well-distributed offense.

Defense was also a key factor in the Midget success. In a 5-5 tie with Provo, Sun Valley allowed only 19 shots on goal, compared to their own 37. In fact, the Midgets outshot their opponents 146-101 in four games and were never outshot.

Goalie O'Reilly had another strong weekend for Sun Valley and finished with a 21-save shutout over Provo and saves on 89% of shots.

Sun Valley weekend scoring:

Connor (4 goals/5 assists); Kwok (3/6); Jablonski (2/4); Almquist (4/1); Amick (4/1); Conover (3/1); Reynoso (1/3); Thomas (1/2); Blake King (0/2); and Crandall (1/0).

Other players on the championship team were Aleksandr Baron, Brandon Brocklebank, Willie Meyers, Anthony Quarles, Sam Samudio and Colby Stoecklein. Assistant coach was Cruger Thomas.

The Sun Valley Midgets take the upcoming weekend off but will be traveling to Idaho Falls for another regional tournament Dec 18-19 against teams from Utah and Idaho.




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