Friday, February 23, 2007

Suns take second at Salt Lake tournament

Midget team loses championship title in shootout

Express Staff Writer

Photos by Barbara Amick The Sun Valley Suns Midget U18 hockey team took second place at an 11-team tournament in Salt Lake City last weekend and came close to winning the whole thing. Team members are shown here posing with their trophy. Back row, from left, head coach Andrew Hebert, Kyle Cole, Michael Connor, Blake King, Rune Haavik, Jeff Conover, Max Kwok, Patrick McMahon, coach Mark Smith and coach Brad Dredge. Middle row, Brandon Brocklebank, David Dredge, Danny Ward, Matt Alloway, Travis Amick, Morgan Pike and Carl Jablonski. Front, goalies Regan O?Reilly and Colby Stoecklein.

The Sun Valley Suns Midget U18 hockey team captured runner-up honors at a western states' tournament in Salt Lake City last weekend and came within a hare's breath of winning the whole thing.

After battling their way to the championship match at the Great Western Showcase, the Suns lost a 3-2 heartbreaker to the Casper Oilers, a tough team from Wyoming that took top honors.

The final contest was settled by a five-man shootout after the Suns tied the game at 2-2 with 1.5 minutes remaining on the clock and a five minute sudden death overtime failed to settle the issue.

Despite the championship loss, the Suns had a good weekend, going 4-2 and winning one-sided shutouts against highly regarded teams from Wyoming and Texas.

"The kids played well and really came together as a team," said head coach Andrew Hebert. "They passed the puck very well and the seniors on the team worked well with the younger players to help us with the wins."

The Suns were one of 11 teams in the tournament that included squads from California, Texas, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah.

Hebert was especially pleased with his team's performance in the opening match, when they won a 1-0 victory in a hotly contested battle with a Texas team called the Dallas Stars.

The Suns fell 2-1 in their second match against the Casper Oilers, the team they faced for a second time in the championship match.

The Suns dominated in their third and fourth matches, defeating the Timpanogos Predators 4-1 and the West Valley Wolves 7-0 in a game where goalie Regan O'Reilly only had to make 10 saves.

A 3-1 record put the Suns into the semi-finals where they crushed highly regarded Team Wyoming 8-0. Suns goalie Colby Stoecklein saved all 14 shots fired his way.

"It was quite a feat to end up in the finals," said Suns scorekeeper Barbara Amick. "Three of the games were too exciting to the final whistle—parents were pacing."

For the weekend, the Suns outscored their opponents 23-6.

Travis Amick and Max Kwok led the Suns in points with seven each. Both players scored three goals and had four assists. Michael Conner led the Suns in scoring with four goals.

Lots of other Sun Valley players scored goals in the tournament. Rune Haavik got three while Jeff Conover, Carl Jablonski, and Blake King scored two apiece.

Single goals were scored by Kyle Cole, David Dredge, Morgan Pike and Danny Ward.

The Suns traveled to Boise Thursday to face the Boise Midget team in the opening round of this weekend's Idaho State Championship tournament.

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