Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Philly skaters challenge Suns

Hockey resumes this weekend

Express Staff Writer

Coming off a two-game sweep of the Boston ReMax Rangers Jan. 20-21 and a two-week break, the Sun Valley Suns men's ice hockey team resumes its 24-game schedule this weekend on resort ice.

The Suns (7-3) entertain the Philadelphia (Pa.) Independence for games Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11 at 7 p.m. at Sun Valley Skating Center. Saturday's game benefits "Girls on the Run."

Suns coach Chris Benson expects Philadelphia to bring virtually the same team as last year, when the Suns swept the two-game series 8-1 and 7-6 (OT). "They were good, competitive games," said Benson.

The two-week break benefited the Suns physically, Benson said.

"We got the bangs healed up," he said. Goalie Colin Zulianello, for instance, needed the time to rest his sports hernia. "Colin should be just about 100%," the coach added.

Defenseman Eric Demment (4 goals, 9 assists) is currently tied for the Suns' scoring lead with forwards Jamie Ellison and Vilnis Nikolaisons at 13 points apiece. But Demment will be gone for a couple of weeks because he is attending the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Otherwise the Suns should be just about full strength for the Philly series and the visit of the Minneapolis Gorillas Feb. 17-18. For Suns season stats, check the Express Web site.

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