Trailing by two goals with seven minutes left, the #3-seeded Isles rallied for a 5-5 regulation tie and beat the top-seeded Sharks 6-5 in a shootout for the championship of the third annual Hutch Cup hockey tourney Sunday in Sun Valley.
Nic Thomas tallied the game-winning shootout goal for the Isles (9-6-2) after tournament Most Valuable Player Rod Watson (4 goals) nearly single-handedly brought the Isles back from the brink against a very good Sharks squad (11-4-1).
The Isles never led until Thomas' game winner, but Watson gave the champions a chance by converting his own rebound for his fourth goal with just 30 seconds remaining in the third period. After the scoreless five-minute overtime, Thomas struck gold and the Sharks failed to answer.
Mark Hutchison's three grandsons, Jack, Christopher and Nicholas Landenverfer visiting from Cincinnati, presented the Hutch Cup to the Isles on center ice at the end.
The first-place Sharks led 2-0 after one period on goals by Dave Fluetsch (2 goals) and Steve McCoy. Watson had two lamplighters in the second period for a 2-2 tie. Jim Slanetz pushed the Sharks ahead 3-2 in the third, only to have Watson score the equalizer 30 seconds later.
Brad Musbach and Fluetsch gave the Sharks a seemingly insurmountable 5-3 lead with seven minutes left. But the Isles weren't about to stop playing. Dale Johnson pulled the champs within one. Down 5-4, the Isles pulled their goalie in favor of an extra attacker in the final minute. Watson's rebound forced extra time.
In Sunday's consolation game at Sun Valley Skating Center, the #2-seeded Vipers (8-5-4) avenged their first-round loss to the #5-seeded Senators (5-7-5) with a convincing 6-3 victory.
Scoring for the Vipers were John Ellison Jr. (2 goals), Tony Mallane (2), Charlie Holt and Dan Gralenski. Nats scorers were Jeff Ballou, Lucy Chubb and Kainoa Lopez.
The B and B+ League gave two Sammis jersey presentations Sunday.
Tim Appleton was honored with the Sammis jersey for his 25-plus years of dedication, inspiration and devotion to hockey. Fans of Apple filled the rink to salute Tim for his spirit and enthusiasm for hockey and sports, and for life in general.
Janet Appleton, Tim's sister, dropped the puck to start the Hutch Cup Finals. The female winner of the Sammis jersey was Sheila Naghsh.
Friends are asked to sign a Sun Valley Suns sweater for Appleton. The jersey was at PK's Ski and Sport in Ketchum Monday and Tuesday and can be signed at Apple's Bar & Grill today, Wednesday.