The Sun Valley Sunsets packed their prom dresses and high heels, as well as an ace up their sleeve for the Gambler's Cup women's hockey tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 17-20. Canadian Hockey Enterprises sponsored the tilt, which featured 37 men's teams in eight divisions, and four women's sextets.
Coming off a championship victory at their home tournament in March, the Sunsets picked up where they left off, winning the Gambler's Cup championship by a 5-2 score over the Ice-O-Topes of Vancouver, B.C.
Despite the formidable-sounding task of facing three teams from Canada, Sun Valley seemed to have a relatively easy time, with goalie Karen Morrison pitching three shutouts and three hat tricks by center Wendy Speth.
The Sunsets opened with a 7-0 victory over Kitscoty Ice of Alberta. Speth was named Player of the Game with three goals. Sheila Naghsh recorded two goals. Lucy Chubb and Christl Holzl struck once each. Merri Whitehead 2, Kris Miller 2, Edith Wiedemann 2, Jen Embree, Sarah Benson, Nicole Perkins, Speth, Naghsh and Holzl doled out assists.
In the second contest, Stealth of Calgary went down by the same 7-nil score. Five different players scored, including Speth 3, Perkins, Naghsh, Chubb and Whitehead. First-line wing Miller set the table for her linemates, assisting Speth twice and Chubb once. Defender Christine Davis-Jeffers served up three assists. Michele Hampton and Tizz Miller notched their first points of the weekend. Second-line center Perkins was named Player of the Game.
Speth had a natural hat trick in the first matchup against the Ice-O-Topes, an elemental 3-0 victory with assists by Chubb and Embree. The Ice-O-Topes sported special chicken costumes for the game. Morrison was deemed Player of the Game, recorded her third straight shutout.
In the final contest against the Canadian club, nine of Sun Valley's 13 skaters recorded points. Goal getters were Miller, Wiedemann, Perkins, Speth and Chubb, the Player of the Game.
Despite one assist on the weekend, the rapidly aging woodchopper, Tizz Miller, was honored with the team Sofa King title, given to the special player who most exemplifies the plucky spirit of the sassy Sunsets.
"I was grim. Then I wasn't. Then I was again," Miller stated in a press release. "But nobody puts Grimmy in a corner, especially in an oval-shaped rink."
In a tournament in which every one of the Sunsets recorded a point, Speth finished off the weekend and the team's opponents with 10 goals and 3 assists. Linemate Miller backed her up with a goal and 6 assists. Naghsh 3/3, Chubb 3/2, Wiedemann 1/4, Perkins 2/2, Whitehead 1/3, Davis-Jeffers 0/4, Embree 0/3, Holzl 1/1, Benson 0/2, Miller 0/1, Hampton 0/1.
Following the title win, their second of the season, the Sunsets extended their thanks and gratitude to their many sponsors for making the 2007-08 season such a success.
"Your generous contributions allowed us to pay for ice time and tournament fees. We could not have done it without you. Thank you!"