Missing several key players because of holiday obligations, the Sun Valley Suns men's hockey team still had enough depth and stamina to beat the visiting McCall Mountaineers by a score of 6-3 Friday night.
A pair of go-ahead goals by seventh-year defenseman Paul Baranzelli staked Sun Valley (3-0) to 2-1 and 3-2 leads early in the closely contested game watched by a full Christmas Week house of over 600 fans at Sun Valley Skating Center.
Veteran wing Vilnis Nikolaisons gave the Suns their first two-goal lead at 4-2 late in the second period, then Suns rookie Cody Proctor scored on the power play and Adam Swain stashed home a shorthanded goal in the third period.
Fifth-year Sun Valley goalie Ryan Thomson turned aside 33 of 36 Mountaineer shots. The Suns outshot McCall 48-36. Mountaineer goalie Blair Allison made 42 saves for the night.
University of Idaho collegian Ryan McDonald of Hailey, centering a forward line with wings Nikolaisons and Ryan Enrico, tallied the first Suns goal. Assists Friday went to Eric Demment (2), Nikolaisons, McDonald, Blake Jenson, Sinjin Thomas and Enrico.
Saturday night's finale of the two-game McCall series was played after early press deadlines due to the New Year's weekend holiday. Check the Express edition of Friday, Jan. 4 for a recap of Saturday's McCall finale and the series.
Sun Valley takes the Sun Valley Skating Center ice again Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5 at 7 p.m. against the Spokane (Wash.) Railors. Saturday's game is a benefit for the Ketchum Park Penguins.