Sun Valley Suns coach Steve Morcone thought his team should have been playing better in Saturday's second game of a weekend hockey series against the visiting Utah Senior Grizzlies from Utah.
Morcone let the Suns know.
Just before the Suns took the ice for the third period, down a goal at 4-3, Morcone gathered his skaters around the bench for a one-sided discussion—Morcone doing the talking.
He didn't remind them that the Suns had beaten the Senior Grizzlies 8-0 Friday with veteran goaltender Ryan Thomson notching his sixth career shutout. He didn't have to say that the shorthanded Grizzlies had only four players on the bench and should have been tiring.
What he did say was this:
"I told them it was a one-goal game and there was no way we were going to lose," Morcone said. "It was my third game coaching, and we won my first two games 12-1 and 8-0 and we weren't going to lose this one."
Morcone added, "I challenged guys like OC (Bryan O'Connell) and (Scotty) Winkler. These are veterans, and I challenged them to come up, stand up and do something."
The team responded with a surge. The Suns (6-1-0) pumped home five unanswered goals in a 10-minute span for a 9-5 victory—Sun Valley's third consecutive win over the Senior Grizzlies (6-5-0) and fifth win in five home games to date.
Sun Valley trailed 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 but rallied to make a winner of goalie Cody Levitan.
O'Connell took a Chad Levitan pass and opened the scoring with an aggressive charge down the slot and sharp-angled goal 68 seconds into the period. He scored twice more, the last goal shorthanded after a Utah turnover, for his third straight three-goal hat trick.
Since joining the Suns last January, last season's leading Suns scorer O'Connell has seven hat tricks in his 19 Suns games. The right wing from Massachusetts has early-career numbers like some of the great Suns snipers, namely Minnesotans Dave Reichel, Tom D'Andrea and Steve Gentilini.
O'Connell collected 10 points for the weekend and now leads the team with 14 goals and 20 points in just seven games. Over two seasons he has 31 goals and 20 assists for 51 points in only 19 Suns games.
Winkler also delivered, whipping home a top-shelf goal on a pass from behind the net by Taylor Rothgeb about three minutes after OC's equalizer. Winkler's first goal, and 52nd of his seven-year career, put the Suns ahead to stay at 5-4.
Opportunistic O'Connell poked a puck away from Utah at the blue line and beat the goalie to the stick side for a 6-4 game. Ryan Enrico, the left wing on O'Connell's line, scored on a rebound of defenseman Eric Demment's charge from the point for a 7-4 score.
Suns captain Jon Duval followed up on a flurry of chances by O'Connell and Enrico and drilled a goal into a crowd for an 8-4 lead. Duval had played center for Enrico and O'Connell Friday—the line notching 17 of the 22 points in the 8-0 win. On Saturday, Duval dropped back to defense.
Morcone was satisfied. "I was trying to get them motivated for their upcoming games. The Gutter Snipes have a good team and we'll have our hands full this weekend."
Having relegated their slow Saturday start to old news, Sun Valley finished their weekend of domination with an 17-5 edge in goals scored, 39-11 advantage in points and 105-48 in shots. Enrico (9 points) tallied two goals each night, Duval had five assists Friday and Demment (5 points) chipped in.
Gutter Snipes next test
Hollywood filmmaker Bobby Farrelly, 53, is bringing his East Coast Gutter Snipes back to Sun Valley Skating Center this weekend—renewing one of the Suns' best rivalries.
Rhode Islander Farrelly has a home north of Ketchum and has capably played goal for the Snipes in the past. He always has a surprise or two on his roster for the Suns series. This year should be no different.
The two teams have met 12 times and the series is tied 6-6. What's more, there have been 161 goals scored in the 12 games for an average of 13.4 goals per game. Scoring by team is almost dead even. The Snipes have scored 82 goals, Suns 79.
Last March O'Connell tallied the game-winning shootout goal in a Friday 9-8 Suns win. The Snipes earned the split 9-6. During the spirited series the Suns have never scored fewer than four goals in a game.
Game times are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28. Benefit is the Atkinson Park Penguins program. A group of Penguins will skate during an intermission Saturday night.
Suns 8, sr. Grizzlies 0
friday, JANUARY 20
Utah Sr. Grizzlies 0 0 0 0
Sun Valley Suns 2 4 2 8
FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Bryan O'Connell 9 (Jon Duval, Ryan Enrico), 14:36. (2) SV, Charles Friedman 2 (Eric Demment), 15:40.
SECOND PERIOD—(3) SV, O'Connell 10 (Duval), 4:05. (4) SV, Enrico 4 (O'Connell, Duval), 9:18. (5) SV, O'Connell 11 (Ivars Muzis, Enrico), 12:15, hat trick goal. (6) SV, Enrico 5 (O'Connell, Duval), 15:15.
THIRD PERIOD—(7) SV, Demment 4 (O'Connell, Enrico), 5:15, power play goal. (8) SV, Muzis 1 (Enrico, Duval), 17:05.
SHOTS ON GOAL—Utah Sr. Grizzlies 7-5-5 for 17; Sun Valley 14-22-12 for 48.
GOALIES—Utah Sr. Grizzlies, Joel Williams (40 saves); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (17 saves, 4-1-0 record).
OFFICIALS—Pat Ballou and Tyler Hanson.
NOTES—Tonight was the sixth career shutout for ninth-year Suns goalie Ryan Thomson, who boasts a 64-28-0 record in his 93 Suns outings.....Thomson's last shutout was Jan. 14, 2011, a 9-0 home victory over the Cache Valley (Utah) Trappers......The Suns forward line of left wing Ryan Enrico, center Jon Duval and right wing Bryan O'Connell notched 17 of the 22 Sun Valley points tonight.....Suns coach Steve Morcone, 52, from Milford, Mass., played two seasons and 34 games for the Suns from 1983-85. He scored 5 goals with 2 assists during 21 games of the 21-5-0 Suns season of 1983-84, then added 4 goals and 4 assists in 13 games during the 6-11-1 campaign of 1984-85. After that, he moved to Washington, D.C. and co-founded the American Gourmet Foods company. Morcone said his intention was to make his money and return to live in Sun Valley, and that's what happened after he sold the business in 2008. While in the nation's capital, he played for the Potomac Hockey Club in the DiNardo Super League, where he was known as "The Potomac Pistol." Originally from the Boston area, Morcone thoroughly enjoyed the visit of the Stanley Cup to Ketchum last August, just as he enjoyed being part of a "Setting Suns" alumni team reunion last April for a hockey tournament in Florida.
Suns 9, sr. Grizzlies 5
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21
Utah Sr. Grizzlies 2 2 1 5
Sun Valley Suns 2 1 6 9
FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Blake King 3 (Eric Demment, John Stevens), 9:18. (2) Utah, Ian McKelvie (Sean Baron), 11:20. (3) Utah, Matt Long (Ben Wilner), 15:38, power play goal. (4) SV, Demment 5 (unassisted), 16:19, shorthanded goal.
SECOND PERIOD—(5) Utah, Tom Gatta (Baron), 1:00. (6) SV, Ryan Enrico 6 (Rob Morgus), 5:56. (7) Utah, McKelvie (Baron, Gatta), 18:23.
THIRD PERIOD—(8) SV, Bryan O'Connell 12 (Chad Levitan), 1:05. (9) SV, Scott Winkler 1 (Taylor Rothgeb), 4:20. (10) SV, O'Connell 13 (unassisted), 5:15. (11) SV, Enrico 7 (Demment), 6:47. (12) SV, Jon Duval 2 (O'Connell, Enrico), 9:54. (13) Utah, Baron (Cameron Hope), 15:27, power play goal. (14) SV, O'Connell 14 (unassisted), 16:30, shorthanded and hat trick goal.
SHOTS ON GOAL—Utah Sr. Grizzlies 12-11-8 for 31; Sun Valley 15-20-22 for 57.
GOALIES—Utah Sr. Grizzlies, Joel Williams (48 saves); Sun Valley, Cody Levitan (26 saves, 2-0-0 record).
OFFICIALS—Dave Patrie and Eric Wingard.
NOTES—Suns forward lines were Ryan Enrico-Chad Levitan-Bryan O'Connell, Taylor Rothgeb-Blake Jenson-Scott Winkler, and John Stevens-Blake King-Ryan Kolquist. Blueliners were Jon Duval, Eric Demment, Trevor Thomas and Rob Morgus.....Sixth-year forward and Suns captain Jon Duval (33 goals, 72 assists for 105 points) moved over the 100-point career mark with Sun Valley and tied Rick Bourbonnais for 44th place on the all-time list. Duval dropped back to defense tonight, with Ivars Muzis sitting out and watching the game from the balcony. Chad Levitan moved up to the Enrico-O'Connell line as the center.....Enrico (109 goals, 132 assists for 241 points) moved closer to Brian Watts (245 points), who holds 12th place in all-time scoring.....The Suns had six different goal scorers tonight. For the weekend series, Sun Valley outscored Utah 17-5, outpointed the Senior Grizzlies 39-11 and out-shot the visitors 105-48....Shorthanded Utah had only four players on the bench, and quite possibly wore down during the 6-goal Suns third period....Another factor was fighting during the third period.....Sun Valley's Trevor Thomas and Utah's Scotty John went all pugilistic and each drew 5-minute major fighting penalties six minutes into the third. The bad blood started running in earnest when Suns defenseman Eric Demment checked a Utah skater from behind in the Suns offensive zone. Utah's best player, Tom Gatta, immediately went after Demment for yet another fight, then Thomas, back on the ice after his major, took off after Gatta well after the Gatta-Demment fireworks. Game misconducts went to Demment, Gatta and Thomas. One more fight occurred with 95 seconds remaining when Sun Valley's Blake King and Utah's Cody Collins had their own scrap, King apparently responding to Collins going after Bryan O'Connell away from the puck.....Gatta was allowed to remain on the Utah bench, and he jawed with Taylor Rothgeb of Sun Valley during a stoppage of play......Jeff "Crash" Ballou's 1-2-3 stars for the game were No. 1 Bryan O'Connell, No. 2 Ryan Enrico and #3 Eric Demment......For the weekend, the Suns had 60 penalty minutes and Utah 46. Utah was 2-for-11 on the weekend power play and Sun Valley 1-for-5....For the season the Suns have 162 penalty minutes and opponents 120....On the power play the Suns are 3-for-17 and opponents 7-for-32......The Suns have six shorthanded goals, three by O'Connell and two by Demment......They are outscoring opponents 48-25 in seven games.
2011-12 Sun Valley Suns statistics
(6-1-0 overall: 5-0-0 home, 1-1-0 away)
PLAYER GAMES GOALS AST. PTS. PMIN
Bryan O'Connell 7 14 6 20 6.0
Ryan Enrico 7 7 11 18 11.0
Jon Duval 7 2 9 11 10.0
Eric Demment 5 5 4 9 20.0
Ivars Muzis 6 1 8 9 4.0
Blake Jenson 5 0 8 8 2.0
Chad Levitan 7 2 5 7 4.0
Blake King 7 3 2 5 30.0
Taylor Rothgeb 7 2 3 5 20.0
John Miller 3 3 0 3 2.0
Jeremy Mylymok 2 1 2 3 2.0
Sinjin Thomas 5 1 2 3 8.0
Zak Greenawalt 3 0 2 2 0.0
Danny Ward 2 0 2 2 2.0
Bryan Winkler 6 1 1 2 10.0
Charles Friedman 6 2 1 3 0.0
Jordan Pritchett 1 1 1 2 0.0
Trevor Thomas 7 1 0 1 31.0
Scott Winkler 3 1 1 2 0.0
Zeph Fagergren 2 1 0 1 0.0
John Stevens 2 0 1 1 0.0
Br. Hendrickson 2 0 1 1 0.0
Rob Morgus 2 0 1 1 0.0
Ryan Thomson 5 0 0 0 0.0
Matt Ward 2 0 0 0 0.0
Weston Nash 2 0 0 0 0.0
Cody Levitan 2 0 0 0 0.0
Ryan Kolquist 1 0 0 0 0.0
Carl Jablonski 1 0 0 0 0.0
Ryan Skelling 1 0 0 0 0.0
Cody Proctor 0 0 0 0 0.0
GOALTENDER GAMES GOALS W-L AVG.
Ryan Thomson 5 18 4-1-0 3.60
Cody Levitan 2 7 2-0-0 3.50
Shots—Thomson 140, Levitan 51. Saves—Thomson 122, Levitan 44. Shootout saves—0. Shootout goals allowed—0. Shutouts—Thomson 1. Empty net goals—0.
BY PERIODS 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOT
Opposition 6 10 9 0 25, 3.6
Sun Valley 14 14 20 0 48, 6.9
Two-goal games (7)—Ryan Enrico 3, Chad Levitan 1, Eric Demment 1, John Miller 1, Blake King 1.
Three-goal hat tricks (or more) (4)—Bryan O'Connell 4.
Game-winning goals (1)—Charles Friedman 1.
Power play goals (3-17, 18%)—Ryan Enrico 1, Jeremy Mylymok 1, Eric Demment 1.
Power play goals (opposition): 7-32, (22%).
Suns shorthanded goals (6)—Bryan O'Connell 3, Eric Demment 2, Chad Levitan 1.
Shorthanded goals (opposition): 1.
Season penalty minutes: SV 162, opponents 120.