Ever see one of those popcorn cookers with its cover bubbling away from the heat and threatening to overflow? That's what Saturday night's terrific hockey game between the Sun Valley Suns and South Shore Stumpgrinders felt like.
Hard, clean hockey brought the temperature to a boiling point. Both teams brought their "A" games and left it all on the ice. Although Stumpgrinders player/coach Bobby Farrelly had a joker in his deck of cards in the person of Jeff "They'll let anybody in this place" Norton, the game never got out of hand.
Capping a cold Idaho weekend in front of a hot standing-room-only crowd at Sun Valley Skating Center, the Stumpgrinders with their eastern college pedigree hammered away at the resilient Suns and finally stashed away a 7-6 win that split the two-game series.
Despite being out-shot 52-21, the Suns rallied from 3-1 and 6-3 deficits and had a chance for a tie late in regulation. This, despite top scorer Bryan O'Connell being a marked man and being held scoreless for the night—after producing a remarkable, unprecedented run of eight hat tricks in his 20 games since joining the Suns.
Fortunately, the Suns were playing with house money after winning Friday night's game 10-6 behind the outstanding goaltending of veteran Ryan Thomson (31 saves Friday, 45 saves Saturday). Both right wing O'Connell and left wing Ryan Enrico scored hat tricks.
Indeed, O'Connell (3 goals, 5 assists) and Enrico (5 goals, 3 assists) continued to be consistent point producers, along with center Jon Duval. The line had 20 of the 35 Suns points. Center Chad Levitan (3 goals, 2 assists) also had a fine weekend. So did defenseman Eric Demment, scoring each game.
With the Suns (7-2-0) ahead by a 3-2 count after one period Friday, Levitan got the ball rolling on a three-goal second period outburst—part of five unanswered Suns goals that gave Thomson a 7-2 cushion to play with in stretching the Suns' win streak to four games.
Levitan tucked home a rebound from a Ryan Kolquist wrist shot, with Taylor Rothgeb jamming things up in front of Stumps goalie Farrelly—4-2.
Just on the ice after line change, Kolquist tallied his first Suns goal making it 5-2. After assistant captain Charles Friedman tied up a Grinders forward near goalie Thomson and prevented a South Shore scoring threat, O'Connell counterattacked with a fine breakout pass from defenseman Rob Morgus and swept across Farrelly's slot for a 6-2 lead.
Rarely in the 14-game rivalry does one of the two squads take such a big lead. They are usually in lockstep all the way with the outcome determined in the final minute.
For instance, the two teams have met 14 times and the series is tied 7-7. What's more, there have been 190 goals scored in the 14 games for an average of 13.6 goals per game. Scoring by team is dead even. The Stumps have scored 95 goals, and the Suns have 95.
So the ability of goalie Thomson to shut down the Stumpgrinders in Friday's second period—he stopped all 11 shots—turned out to be the winning difference. It helped that Levitan contributed a power-play goal from Demment 57 seconds into the third period for a 7-2 Sun Valley edge.
That's when the Stumpgrinders picked up the intensity of their forecheck—something that continued into Saturday's South Shore win.
Three unanswered goals cut the Suns lead to 7-5. But Demment and Levitan headed down the ice on a two-man break. Levitan shot, South Shore back-up goalie Dave Stone made the save, but Demment cleaned up for an 8-5 lead.
South Shore with its loaded lineup of Massachusetts-born former college hockey stars sliced it to 8-6 with a shorthanded goal and pulled goalie Stone with 71 seconds left.
Enrico scored on his own rebound, shorthanded, after Levitan won a faceoff in the Stumps zone. Then O'Connell got his own hat trick on an empty netter with 18 ticks left.
The Stumpgrinders led wire-to-wire Saturday, although back-to-back goals by Duval and Morgus, his first, tied it 3-3 early in the second period.
That's when former Brown University defenseman Gerry Burke—the spectator who famously caught a foul ball in his beer cup last June at Fenway Park in Boston—threw a power-play wrist shot past Thomson to ignite a flurry of three unanswered goals.
Meanwhile, the Stumpgrinders led by 48-year-old former Boston University blueliner Scott Shaunessy put big hits on O'Connell to make sure he wouldn't score again. He didn't. Yet the Suns made their final move with an unassisted Levitan goal and a Demment power play goal, from defenseman Ivars Muzis.
That's when motormouth Norton, 46, a 15-year National Hockey League player who should have known better, finally wore out his welcome in the Barn by elbowing Rothgeb in the back of the head, and pushing referee Dave Patrie when Norton didn't like the call. He was ejected with 48 seconds left, the fans roaring their approval of his exit, but the Stumpgrinders held onto the 7-6 lead.
suns 10, stumpgrinders 6
friday, JANUARY 27
South Shore 2 0 4 6
Sun Valley Suns 3 3 4 10
FIRST PERIOD—(1) South Shore, Billy Kelleher (Mike Maturo), 4:33. (2) South Shore, Greg McCarthy (Matt McCarthy), 4:55. (3) SV, Ryan Enrico 8 (Jon Duval), 8:10, power play goal. (4) SV, Enrico 9 (Bryan O'Connell, Zak Greenawalt), 10:11. (5) SV, O'Connell 15 (Enrico, Duval), 12:28.
SECOND PERIOD—(6) SV, Chad Levitan 3 (Ryan Kolquist), 3:54. (7) SV, Kolquist 1 (O'Connell, Enrico), 7:52. (8) SV, O'Connell 16 (Rob Morgus), 9:52.
THIRD PERIOD—(9) SV, Chad Levitan 4 (Eric Demment), 0:57, power play goal. (10) South Shore, Kelleher (Rob Flynn, Gerry Burke), 1:49. (11) South Shore, Matt McCarthy (Mike McCarthy, Greg McCarthy), 3:53. (12) South Shore, Dave Cavanagh (Jared Melillo, Scott Shaunessy), 13:42. (13) SV, Demment 6 (Chad Levitan), 15:18. (14) South Shore, Mike McCarthy (unassisted), 17:40, shorthanded goal. (15) SV, Enrico 10 (Chad Levitan), 18:53, shorthanded and hat trick goal. (16) SV, O'Connell 17 (unassisted), 19:42, empty net and hat trick goal.
SHOTS ON GOAL—South Shore Stumpgrinders 14-11-12 for 37; Sun Valley 11-10-11 for 32.
GOALIES—South Shore Stumpgrinders, Bobby Farrelly (first 2 periods, 15 saves, 6 goals) and David Stone (third period, 7 saves, 3 goals allowed); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (31 saves, 5-1-0 record).
OFFICIALS—Bobby Noyes and Eric Wingard.
NOTES—Suns forward lines were Ryan Kolquist-Chad Levitan-Taylor Rothgeb, Matt Ward-Charles Friedman-John Stevens, Ryan Enrico-Jon Duval-Bryan O'Connell. The defensemen were Rob Morgus, Trevor Thomas, Eric Demment, Blake King and Zak Greenawalt.....Leading the Gutter Snipes was Jeff Norton, 46, a 6-2, 200-pound Massachusetts native who played 797 NHL games from 1987-2002 for eight different teams, most prominently the New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers. Norton played three years at the University of Michigan from 1984-87 and was a member of the U.S. Olympic hockey team at Calgary in 1988........Returning for the Snipes this year was Billy Kelleher from North Reading, Mass., a senior captain for Dartmouth College in 1996 and the Big Green's second-leading scorer in 1993. He is still Dartmouth's seventh-leading all-time assists man with 76 in 115 games........Gutter Snipes goalie Bobby Farrelly, 53, who lives north of Ketchum, comes from Cumberland, R.I. and went to RPI on a hockey scholarship. He and his older brother Peter made their first feature film, "Dumb and Dumber," in 1994 and have since made movies like "There's Something About Mary," "Kingpin," "Shallow Hal," "Hall Pass," and "Fever Pitch."..... Other notable Stumpgrinders (formerly the East Coast Gutter Snipes) included Scott Shaunessy, Rob Flynn, Jack Smith and Mike Maturo ..... Boston University's Shaunessy, 48, is a 6-4, 210-pounder from Reading, Mass. who played 152 games for the Terriers from 1983-87 with 19 goals and 72 assists. He had a cup of coffee with the NHL Quebec Nordiques and skated in the minor leagues until 1999, all together playing 9 years in the pros. .......Jack Smith of Barnstable, Mass., a frequent Sun Valley visitor with Farrelly's teams, was a Class of 1985 hockey player at Fairfield University and father of three who was inducted into the Connecticult college's Hall of Fame in 2000......Flynn, 29, a 6-2, 220-pounder from Canton, Mass., played 4 years at Harvard University from 2001-05, a total of 106 games with 11 goals. He was a member of the U.S. Junior National team in 2000 and skated in the professional minor leagues for 4 teams from 2005-07. They were ECHL squads San Diego and Long Beach plus Danbury, Ct., and Knoxville.......Maturo, 32, from Manchester, N.H., left as Dartmouth College's career points leader after a 4-year career from 1998-02. Coming out the preps at Belmont Hill, Maturo ended up as an All-ECAC and All-Ivy first team selection in his 2001-02 Dartmouth senior season when he was co-captain for the Big Green. Back then, he declared his favorite movie was "Dumb and Dumber," so he was a good fit for last weekend's Stumpgrinders squad.....Stumpgrinders forward line combos included Rob Flynn-Billy Kelleher-Mike Maturo, Craig Lund-Ted Brzek-Jared Melillo, Matt McCarthy-Greg McCarthy-Mike McCarthy and, on Saturday, Jack Smith-Dave Maimaron-Frank Salvoni. On defense were Gerry Burke, Jeff Norton, Dan Enders and Dave Cavanagh......Dartmouth College's Craig Lund of the Stumpgrinders was a Belmont High School linemate with Jon Duval....
stumpgrinders 7, suns 6
SATURday, JANUARY 28
South Shore 3 2 2 7
Sun Valley Suns 1 2 3 6
FIRST PERIOD—(1) South Shore, Jeff Norton (Greg McCarthy), 6:18. (2) South Shore, Mike Maturo (Greg McCarthy, Norton), 9:34. (3) SV, Ryan Enrico 11 (Bryan O'Connell, Rob Morgus), 12:45, power play goal. (4) South Shore, Dave Maimaron (Jack Smith, Norton), 14:19.
SECOND PERIOD—(5) SV, Jon Duval 3 (O'Connell), 0:09. (6) SV, Morgus 1 (Enrico, Duval), 6:16. (7) South Shore, Gerry Burke (Kelleher, Norton), 10:33, power play goal. (8) South Shore, Matt McCarthy (Greg McCarthy), 11:04.
THIRD PERIOD—(9) South Shore, Maturo (Kelleher, Rob Flynn), 2:32. (10) SV, Enrico 12 (O'Connell), 5:35. (11) South Shore, Maturo (Kelleher, Flynn), 6:30, hat trick goal. (12) SV, Chad Levitan 5 (unassisted), 8:25. (13) SV, Eric Demment 7 (Ivars Muzis), 17:44, power play goal.
SHOTS ON GOAL—South Shore Stumpgrinders 18-18-16 for 52; Sun Valley 9-4-8 for 21.
GOALIES—South Shore Stumpgrinders, Dimitri Papaevagelou (15 saves); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (45 saves, 5-2-0 record).
OFFICIALS—Pat Ballou and Dave Patrie.
NOTES—Former McCall Mountaineer Adam Bababera made his Suns debut tonight.....Ryan Enrico enjoyed a 5-goal, 8-point weekend, tying him with linemate Bryan O'Connell (3 goals, 5 assists). The Enrico-Jon Duval-O'Connell forward line had 20 of the 35 Suns points over the 2 games.....Enrico (114 goals, 135 assists for 249 points) took over 12th place in all-time Suns career scoring, just 2 points away from Dave Hutchinson (11th place, 251) and 14 points away from Jimmy "Beets" Johnson (10th place, 263). ..... Other notable Stumpgrinders included the McCarthys from Medfield, Mass. Matt McCarthy, 29, a 6-0, 210-pounder, skated for Tufts University and was the first-everf Jumbo ice hockey player to make the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) first team. That was in 2006 when, as a senior, he scored 18 goals (8 on the power play) in 23 games. He played 3 years in Europe.....Mike McCarthy, 27, tallied 24 goals in 77 games at New York State's Hobart College from 2003-07, then played 2 years in Holland....Greg McCarthy, 26, played 58 games at Tufts University with 30 goals from 2005-08, then played a year in Holland......Stumpgrinders defenseman Gerry Burke did something last June that should put him on the Beer Drinkers All-Time list. Burke became an Internet celebrity when he caught a foul ball in his beer cup while watching a major league baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres at Fenway Park. After catching the ball, Burke immediately stood up, raised his beer cup to the crowd and drank from it, thus receiving the crowd's adulation for a job well done. Burke, 29, from Milton, Mass., came out of Phillips Exeter's hockey program and played 127 games from 2001-05 at Brown University in Providence, R.I. The 6-4, 225-pounder then played in the ECHL for the Toledo Storm, where he enjoyed his best pro season with 8 goals and 26 assists plus 100 penalty minutes in 72 games of 2006-07. He moved onto the Las Vegas Wranglers, where in the 2008 playoffs Burke played 21 games with 7 points.....Tonight's Stumpgrinders goalie Dimitri Papaevagelou, a 5-11, 189-pounder from Windham, N.H., played 42 games for Hobart College from 2004-08. His best season was 2004-05, when he was 11-5-3 with a 2.57 goals against in 21 games......For the weekend the Suns had 24 penalty minutes and the Stumpgrinders 26. Jeff Norton drew a game misconduct with 48 seconds left.......For the weekend the Suns improved on the power play with a 4-for-12 rate, compared to South Shore's 1-for-5.....Quietly efficient on the South Shore blueline was a part of Rhode Island hockey royalty, David Cavanagh, 25, of Warwick. The 6-1, 205-pounder out of Salisbury School and Toll Gate High School, twice an All-State high school defenseman, skated for Providence College. He is one of nine children of Joe Cavanagh, the great Harvard University forward of the 1960s and a U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer who for years has been a prominent attorney in New England. Of course there was that very sad day, on Jan. 6, 2011, when David's older brother Tom Cavanagh, committed suicide by jumping from the upper level of a Providence mall parking structure to his death. He was 28, battling mental illness and schizophrenia. Tom had followed in his father's footsteps, playing hockey at Harvard, and then having a short stint as a left wing with the NHL's San Jose Sharks. The family was devastated, consoled only by their belief that Tom was finally at peace. Last August, Tom's brothers David, Paul, Jim and Joe staged the Thomas G. Cavanagh Memorial Hockey Jamboree at the University of Rhode Island to raise money for the Butler Hospital Charity Care Fund.
2011-12 Sun Valley Suns statistics
(7-2-0 overall: 6-1-0 home, 1-1-0 away)
PLAYER GAMES GOALS AST. PTS. PMIN
Bryan O'Connell 9 17 11 28 6.0
Ryan Enrico 9 12 14 26 11.0
Jon Duval 9 3 12 15 12.0
Eric Demment 7 7 5 12 20.0
Chad Levitan 9 5 7 12 4.0
Ivars Muzis 8 1 9 10 4.0
Blake Jenson 5 0 8 8 2.0
Blake King 9 3 2 5 30.0
Taylor Rothgeb 9 2 3 5 24.0
Rob Morgus 4 1 3 4 2.0
John Miller 3 3 0 3 2.0
Charles Friedman 8 2 1 3 0.0
Jeremy Mylymok 2 1 2 3 2.0
Sinjin Thomas 6 1 2 3 8.0
Zak Greenawalt 5 0 3 3 0.0
Danny Ward 2 0 2 2 2.0
Bryan Winkler 7 1 1 2 10.0
Jordan Pritchett 1 1 1 2 0.0
Scott Winkler 4 1 1 2 0.0
Ryan Kolquist 2 1 1 2 2.0
Trevor Thomas 7 1 0 1 45.0
Zeph Fagergren 2 1 0 1 0.0
John Stevens 4 0 1 1 0.0
Br. Hendrickson 2 0 1 1 0.0
Ryan Thomson 7 0 0 0 0.0
Matt Ward 4 0 0 0 0.0
Weston Nash 2 0 0 0 0.0
Cody Levitan 2 0 0 0 0.0
Adam Labarbera 1 0 0 0 0.0
Carl Jablonski 1 0 0 0 0.0
Ryan Skelling 1 0 0 0 0.0
Cody Proctor 1 0 0 0 0.0
GOALTENDER GAMES GOALS W-L AVG.
Ryan Thomson 7 31 5-2-0 4.43
Cody Levitan 2 7 2-0-0 3.50
Shots—Thomson 229, Levitan 51. Saves—Thomson 198, Levitan 44. Shootout saves—0. Shootout goals allowed—0. Shutouts—Thomson 1. Empty net goals—0.
BY PERIODS 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOT
Opposition 11 12 15 0 38, 4.2
Sun Valley 18 19 27 0 64, 7.1
Two-goal games (9)—Ryan Enrico 4, Chad Levitan 2, Eric Demment 1, John Miller 1, Blake King 1.
Three-goal hat tricks (or more) (6)—Bryan O'Connell 5, Ryan Enrico 1.
Game-winning goals (1)—Charles Friedman 1.
Power play goals (7-29, 24%)—Ryan Enrico 3, Eric Demment 2, Chad Levitan 1, Jeremy Mylymok 1.
Power play goals (opposition): 8-37, (22%).
Suns shorthanded goals (7)—Bryan O'Connell 3, Eric Demment 2, Chad Levitan 1, Ryan Enrico 1.
Shorthanded goals (opposition): 2.
Season penalty minutes: SV 186, opponents 146.