Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Moose have the last quack, Suns settle for split

Sun Valley stuck in neutral after 4-3 win, 6-3 loss

Express Staff Writer

Suns goalie Ryan Thomson Photo by Willy Cook

Rabid fans can throw as many duck heads on the ice as they like, which is what raucous Sun Valley Suns rooters did Friday during the first of two Suns games against the Jackson Hole Moose at Sun Valley Skating Center.

But that doesn't get past the fact that the Suns men's hockey team is stuck in neutral—and that the visiting Moose enjoyed the last quack last weekend.

Playing with essentially two forward lines to Sun Valley's four, Jackson Hole (11-3-0) turned the Suns grind-'em-down strategy on its ear Saturday with four unanswered goals in the third en route to a stunning 6-3 win and a series split with the suddenly mediocre Suns (5-5-0) at jam-packed Sun Valley Skating Center.

The Suns appeared confident going for the weekend sweep after their exciting 4-3 win Friday in front of a rowdy sold-out house that tossed duck heads from the Beer Garden over the plexiglass, on the ice.

No duck heads flew across the plexiglass Saturday, but guest coach Phil Hebert said the Suns wanted to use a similar strategy—win the first and second periods and wear down the short-benched Moose.

Fair enough.

The score was 2-2 after two periods highlighted by the effort of the goalies—Jackson Hole's Dan Amborski and Sun Valley's Ryan Thomson. As the game wore down, the Moose was the team with a head of steam. They scored four goals in less than six minutes for a 6-3 win—third win in four games over the Suns this winter.

The outcome left the Suns a bit perplexed going into their two-week Super Bowl/Boulder Ski Tour break.

Let's look back. At the beginning of the 2008-09 hockey season, would you have thought that the Suns leading scorer would be rookie forward and Sun Valley Junior Hockey product Taylor Rothgeb (6 goals) and that all-time Suns leading scorer Vilnis Nikolaisons would have none?

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