Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Suns bounce back and beat the Blizzard 10-5

A week off, then Missoula arrives Feb. 11-12


Over 36 seasons and 834 games, the Sun Valley Suns men's hockey team hasn't played many teams four times in the course of a single season. The Jackson Hole Moose and McCall Mountaineers fell into that category, but they're not on the schedule now.

In the past, the Suns have always been glad to win three of four games played against an opponent like the Moose or Mountaineers. And that .750 winning percentage is just the situation Sun Valley has achieved this winter against two opponents, the Park City Pioneers and Utah Blizzard.

Last weekend, the Suns (8-4-0) played their worst game of the season Friday in an 8-4 loss to Utah County Blizzard (8-5-0) at Sun Valley Skating Center. But Sun Valley turned the tables Saturday for one of its best offensive efforts in a 10-5 win.

Forward Bryan O'Connell of Massachusetts, who wasn't even on the Suns roster when they swept the visiting Blizzard 6-5 and 2-1 over New Year's weekend, scored his second three-goal hat trick in just eight games during Saturday's 10-5 win—Sun Valley's third in four games over Utah.

Suns coach John Burke juggled his forward lines after Friday's dismal loss and stationed right wing O'Connell on a line with center Jon Duval and left wing Ryan Enrico. Duval, normally a forward, had played defense Friday as the Suns struggled on the blueline.

The trio clicked immediately Saturday and ignited Sun Valley's six-goal explosion in the first period. O'Connell (7 points for the night, a team-high 9 weekend) finished his hat trick 18 minutes into the game. The Duval line accounted for 15 of the 24 Suns points on Saturday.

And the Suns defense, despite giving up five power-play goals to Utah County—and 10 power-play goals over four games to the Blizzard—gave goalie Ryan Thomson (36 saves Saturday, 32 Friday) enough protection to ride out the win.

Enrico (6 points weekend) finished with two goals and three assists, and Duval scored twice. Defenseman Ivars Muzis chipped in with three assists. On Friday, O'Connell and forward Cody Proctor each had two goals for the home team, while 10 different Blizzard players feasted on the Suns defense and tallied points.

With 10 games left, the Suns will focus on reducing all the shorthanded situations they've found themselves facing since the season began in December. Opposing teams have been on the power play 71 times in eight games—quite an increase from 53 times in 18 games all of last season.

The Suns have a week off to run their volunteer aid station for the Boulder Ski Tour and resume action Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12 against the Missoula (Mt.) Cutthroats.

Suns Summary

BLIZZARD 8, SUNS 4

friday, JANUARY 28

Utah Blizzard 2 6 0 8
Sun Valley Suns 2 2 0 4

____________________________________________________________

FIRST PERIOD—(1) Utah, Zach Smith (Kyle Becci, Rustin Hocker), 0:24. (2) Utah, Weston Nash (unassisted), 3:15. (3) SV, Cody Proctor 2 (unassisted), 8:46. (4) SV, Proctor 3 (unassisted), 17:34.

SECOND PERIOD—(5) Utah, Tommy Rupp (Hocker), 0:13. (6) SV, Bryan O’Connell 9 (Ryan Enrico), 2:10. (7) SV, O’Connell 10 (Proctor), 4:19. (8) Utah, Becci (Rupp, Nivek Cook), 6:56. (9) Utah, Nash (Jeff Jiron, Austin Holmes), 7:31, power play goal. (10) Utah, Daniel Autenreith (Nash, Zeph Fagergren), 7:42. (11) Utah, Rupp (unassisted), 10:48, power play goal. (12) Utah, Jiron (Rupp), 19:21, power play goal.

THIRD PERIOD—No scoring.

SHOTS ON GOAL—Utah UC Blizzard 16-15-9 for 40; Sun Valley 14-15-10 for 39.

GOALIES—Utah UC Blizzard, Travis Pierce (35 saves); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (32 saves, 6-4-0 record).

OFFICIALS—Eric Wingard and Tyler Hanson.

NOTES—The Blizzard had 10 different skaters scoring a goal or assist tonight…..Suns forward lines were Matt Ward-Jamie Ellison-Vilnis Nikolaisons, Cody Proctor-Charles Friedman-Taylor Rothgeb, Ryan Enrico-Chad Levitan-Bryan O’Connell……Suns bench coach John Burke had good things to say about the Friedman forward line, which he said kept their heads up and logged some solid minutes on the ice……Suns goalie Ryan Thomson, wearing the “George Jacket” this week, said he feared the Suns might underestimate the Blizzard tonight after sweeping the Utah squad 6-5 and 2-1 over New Year’s weekend. Thomson said the Blizzard brought a stronger squad on this trip to Idaho……Blizzard forward lines included Zach Smith-captain Tommy Rupp-Kyle Becci and Weston Nash-assistant captain Daniel Autenreith-Zeph Fagergren. Defensemen included Jeff Jiron, assistant captain Austin Holmes, Rustin Hocker and Nivek Cook. Blizzard goalie Travis Pierce was solid between the pipes and the Suns couldn’t manage any good chances and no goals in the third period, which this year’s Sun Valley team usually dominates (28-6 goals-against this season).

2010-11 Sun Valley Suns statistics

(8-4-0 overall: 7-3-0 home, 1-1-0 away)

PLAYER GAMES GOALS AST. PTS. PMIN
Bryan O’Connell 8 13 11 24 0
Ryan Enrico 12 8 14 22 26
Jon Duval 11 4 9 13 26
Chad Levitan 12 9 3 12 15
Matt Ward 12 3 5 8 8
Jordan Pritchett 4 5 2 7 4
Ivars Muzis 10 0 7 7 6
Taylor Rothgeb 11 5 1 6 6
Cody Proctor 11 3 3 6 11
Vilnis Nikolaisons 6 3 3 6 6
Charles Friedman 10 1 5 6 6
Blake Jenson 6 1 5 6 2
Eric Demment 3 2 3 5 2
Trevor Thomas 10 2 2 4 36
Jamie Ellison 5 2 2 4 4
Zak Greenawalt 9 0 4 4 18
Bryan Winkler 4 2 1 3 6
Sean Rynes 6 1 2 3 10
John Stevens 7 0 3 3 7
Josh Jacobson 9 0 2 2 26
Danny Ward 4 1 0 1 13
Caleb Baukol 3 1 0 1 7
Sinjin Thomas 2 1 0 1 4
Ryan Thomson 11 0 1 1 2
Kris Webster 7 0 1 1 19
John Miller 2 0 1 1 0
Kellen Corrigan 2 0 1 1 0
Noah Loyd 5 0 0 0 0
Mike Connor 3 0 0 0 0
Peter Stevenson 2 0 0 0 2
Bobby Sloper 1 0 0 0 0
Mat Gershater 1 0 0 0 0

GOALTENDER GAMES GOALS W-L AVG.
Ryan Thomson 11 40 7/4/2000 3.64
Mat Gershater 1 4 1-0-0 4

Shots—Thomson 376, Gershater 20. Saves—Thomson 336, Gershater 16. Shootout saves—0. Shootout goals allowed—0. Shutouts—Ryan Thomson 1. Empty net goals—0.




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