Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Suns fire blanks, finally find range 5-3

Solid start leads to win over Missoula

Sun Valley Suns forwards Sinjin Thomas (left) and Matt Ward (right) head up the ice during Friday’s 1-0 Suns loss to the Missoula Cutthroats on resort ice. Photo by Willy Cook

The Sun Valley Suns ice hockey team took the ice last weekend against the visiting Missoula (Mt.) Cutthroats with one hand tied behind its back offensively, since top scorer Bryan O'Connell was out-of-town for a wedding.

OC's absence caused Suns coach Steve Morcone to lament the loss of the three-goal hat tricks O'Connell has provided Sun Valley five times in the first nine games this season.

But the Suns still had a solid lineup with sturdy goalie Ryan Thomson in the net. What they didn't count on Friday night was a very hot Missoula goaltender between the pipes—University of Montana senior David Zentmire.

Zentmire, 22, the product of the Havre (Mt.) Ice Hawks high school program, was simply outstanding with 48 saves leading the Cutthroats to a rare 1-0 shutout victory over the Suns.

It was the first time since 1996 that the Suns had been shut out on home ice, and very likely the first 1-0 outcome in the 37-season history of the Sun Valley franchise, co-coach John Burke said.

Coach Morcone said, "Their goalie played out of his mind. He was so effective because he didn't leave any rebounds."

Zentmire had done it before on the same sheet, his 31 saves backstopping the Cutthroats to a 4-3 overtime win over the Suns one year ago. Zentmire nearly pulled off a sweep last January with a 45-save effort in a narrow 3-2 Cutthroats loss.

Similar to last year, the Suns went back to the drawing board after such a tough loss and came up with a game plan to get the puck past Zentmire on Saturday night. "Our guys shot low and we tried to get a little more traffic in front of the net," said Morcone.

The Suns came out smoking. They out-shot the Cutthroats 15-7 in the first period and scored twice, on goals by Ryan Enrico (13 goals, 27 points) and newcomer Buddy Enzo.

Sun Valley added three more goals in the second period for a 5-0 lead en route to their 5-3 win. Still, they didn't capitalize on all their chances in out-shooting Missoula 36-27 for the night, and 84-57 for the entire weekend. Morcone said, "We've got to put the hammer down."

Chad Levitan, Scott Winkler (power play) and Taylor Rothgeb (shorthanded) stretched the lead to 5-0. Defenseman Eric Demment ended up with three assists. Goalie Thomson, with 29 saves Friday, added 24 more Saturday for his sixth win.

It was another tight series between the two rivals. The six-year, 12-game series now stands 7-5 in favor of the Suns. Seven of the 12 games have been settled by a single goal.

The Suns (8-3-0) return to the ice Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17-18 for a two-game series against the Langley Senior Chiefs from British Columbia, Canada. The two games will raise money for Sun Valley Adaptive Sports.

Last Jan. 21-22, the Senior Chiefs and Suns played two exciting games on Sun Valley resort ice, the Canadians winning both 5-2 and 4-3.

Suns Hockey Summary


Friday, FEBRUARY 10

Missoula Cutthroats 0 0 1 1

Sun Valley Suns 0 0 0 0

FIRST PERIOD—No scoring.


THIRD PERIOD—(1) Missoula, Tucker Sargeant (Jimmy Douglas), 7:18, game-winning goal.

SHOTS ON GOAL—Missoula Cutthroats 11-11-8 for 30; Sun Valley 10-18-20 for 48.

GOALIES—Missoula Cutthroats, David Zentmire (48 saves); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (29 saves, 5-3-0 record).

OFFICIALS—Dave Patrie and Eric Wingard.

NOTES—The Suns have been shutout twice in recent years since 1998, both times on the road. In their second game of the 2009-10 season, the Suns lost 4-0 to the Jackson Hole Moose at Snow King Ice Arena with Moose newcomer Dan Amborski of Rochester, N.Y. and Norwich University putting up 44 saves for his second shutout of the week, the first 4-0 over the McCall Mountaineers. The Suns also lost 7-0 to Korth's Rebels of Utah in the Utah Winter Games championship game Jan. 11, 1998.....But the last time the Suns were blanked on home ice was way back on March 16, 1996. Minnesota USA was making its 18th consecutive visit to Sun Valley that winter and coach Len Lilyholm brought a star-studded lineup including former NHLer Reed Larson, John Johannson and Rod Romanchuk. Minnesota USA goalie Tim Zaruba made 39 saves and outdueled Suns goalie Tony Benson (30 saves) for the 3-0 victory. The Suns went on to finish up a 17-7-2 season and had remarkably balanced scoring, Brian Watts with 43 points, Billy Tryder 43, Chris Benson 37, Kevin Lynch 35 and Beets Johnson 34. That was the first Suns season for John Stevens. Others on that team included Mike Punnett, Harry Weekes, Kris Webster and John Miller......Suns leading scorer Bryan O'Connell (17 goals in 9 games) was out-of-town for the weekend at a wedding. The absence of the prolific right wing caused Suns coaches Steve Morcone and John "Cub" Burke to do some line shuffling.....Suns forward lines were Ryan Enrico-Jon Duval-Adam Enzo, Taylor Rothgeb-Chad Levitan-Scott Winkler, Matt Ward-Sinjin Thomas-Buddy Enzo. The Suns defensemen were Trevor Thomas, Eric Demment, Ivars Muzis and Bryan Winkler.......Suns co-captains were Jon Duval and Ryan Enrico....Goalie Ryan Thomson made two outstanding saves in the second period to keep the game scoreless. Thomson made a terrific sliding save on Missoula's Dustin Thompson to stop a Cutthroat 2-on-0 with Arnie Arnold. About seven minutes earlier, Thomson robbed Thompson with his glove on a 2-on-1.....Missoula captain Dustin Thompson has been a big contributor for the Cutthroats in all 12 of their visits to Sun Valley starting in 2007. Thompson, 31, from Great Falls, played junior hockey in southern Alberta and also skated for John "Miracle on ice" Harrington for the Saint John University "Johnnies" in Minnesota. He has been the Montana State hockey referee-in-chief for 5 years.....The Cutthroats visited Snow King Ice Arena in Jackson Hole, Wyo. for two games Nov. 11-12, losing both, 6-5 in overtime and 11-6.....Prior to tonight, the lowest scoring game in the 12-game Missoula-Sun Valley series was last winter's 3-2 Suns win last February 12 that gave the Suns a split of the series after their Friday night 4-3 overtime loss...Sun Valley now leads the series 7-5. Seven of the 12 games have been settled by a single goal. Total scoring in the series: Sun Valley 68 goals and Missoula 57. The average goals scored for each game is 10 goals over the series, which made tonight's game so unusual.....Suns coach Burke has been with the team since 1975 and said he couldn't remember a 1-0 game, ever. That includes 849 games over 37 seasons, 584 of which the Suns (584-236-29) have won.

SUNS 5, cutthroats 3


Missoula Cutthroats 0 1 2 3

Sun Valley Suns 2 3 0 5

FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Ryan Enrico 13 (Jon Duval, Eric Demment), 5:21. (2) SV, Buddy Enzo 1 (Chad Levitan), 15:59.

SECOND PERIOD—(3) SV, Chad Levitan 6 (Taylor Rothgeb), 7:03. (4) SV, Scott Winkler 2 (Ivars Muzis, Demment), 10:23, power play goal. (5) SV, Rothgeb 3 (Demment), 13:47, shorthanded goal. (6) Missoula, Dustin Thompson (Luky Bobby, Matty Dyck), 19:30, power play goal.

THIRD PERIOD—(7) Missoula, Jimmy Douglas (unassisted), 10:44. (8) Missoula, Luky Bobby (unassisted), 14:31.

SHOTS ON GOAL—Missoula Cutthroats 7-9-11 for 27; Sun Valley 15-9-12 for 36.

GOALIES—Missoula Cutthroats, David Zentmire (31 saves); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (24 saves, 6-3-0 record).

OFFICIALS—Dave Patrie and Eric Wingard.

NOTES—Suns forward lines featured Ryan Enrico-Jon Duval-Scott Winkler, Matt Ward-Sinjin Thomas-Ryan Kolquist, Taylor Rothgeb-Chad Levitan-Buddy Enzo. The defensemen were Ivars Muzis, Eric Demment, Bryan Winkler and Trevor Thomas.....Trailing 5-3, the Cutthroats pulled goalie David Zentmire in favor of a sixth attacker with 1:08 left in the third period but couldn't manage a shot on goal.......Last February the Cutthroats wore their dark jerseys and, to prevent clashing, the Suns switched to the white jerseys of the Grumpy's/Sun Valley Auto Club Senior "A" Hockey League team for the Saturday night contest. This year, the teams played with similar dark jerseys on Friday night. Tonight the Cutthroats wore the white Ketchum Rangers jerseys of the 50-and-over local men's team.....The Suns led 5-1 early in the third period when Scotty Winkler rang one off the post on a slick end-to-end breakout pass from defenseman Eric Demment. Missoula came back with two scores to close its gap. Jimmy Douglas poked the puck away from Suns defenseman Ivars Muzis in the middle of a Muzis' slapshot attempt, then skated end-to-end for an unassisted score. Then Lukey Bobby put a high wrist shot past Ryan Thomson for a 5-3 game......To a man, the Suns players and organization sympathized with the sorrow of their good friend Bobby Farrelly, whose 20-year-old son Jesse was found dead Wednesday of an apparent drug overdose in Orange County, Ca., according to news reports. Farrelly had just visited Sun Valley with his South Shore (mass.) Stumpgrinders hockey team Jan. 27-28.....A couple of Suns defensemen improved their career scoring totals. Eric Demment topped the Suns weekend scoring with his 3 assists tonight, and now has 54 goals and 92 assists for 146 points. Ivars Muzis had 56 goals and 130 assists for 186 points.....Rarely do the Suns score no goals for an entire weekend in the third period, but that was the case in the Missoula series. For the season, the Suns have outscored opponents 42-24 in the first two periods, but have only a 27-18 advantage in the third periods......For the weekend the Suns were 1-for-7 on the power play, and Missoula 1-for-9. For the season the Suns are 8-for-36 on the power play, opponents 9-for-46. Season penalty minutes are Suns 218, opponents 174.

2011-12 Sun Valley Suns statistics

(8-3-0 overall: 7-2-0 home, 1-1-0 away)


Bryan O'Connell 9 17 11 28 6.0

Ryan Enrico 11 13 14 27 11.0

Jon Duval 11 3 13 16 16.0

Eric Demment 9 7 8 15 22.0

Chad Levitan 11 6 8 14 6.0

Ivars Muzis 10 1 10 11 10.0

Blake Jenson 5 0 8 8 2.0

Taylor Rothgeb 11 3 4 7 26.0

Blake King 9 3 2 5 30.0

Rob Morgus 4 1 3 4 2.0

John Miller 3 3 0 3 2.0

Charles Friedman 8 2 1 3 0.0

Scott Winkler 6 2 1 3 0.0

Jeremy Mylymok 2 1 2 3 2.0

Sinjin Thomas 8 1 2 3 10.0

Zak Greenawalt 5 0 3 3 0.0

Danny Ward 2 0 2 2 2.0

Bryan Winkler 9 1 1 2 15.0

Jordan Pritchett 1 1 1 2 0.0

Ryan Kolquist 3 1 1 2 2.0

Trevor Thomas 11 1 0 1 52.0

Zeph Fagergren 2 1 0 1 0.0

Buddy Enzo 2 1 0 1 0.0

John Stevens 4 0 1 1 0.0

Br. Hendrickson 2 0 1 1 0.0

Ryan Thomson 9 0 0 0 0.0

Matt Ward 6 0 0 0 2.0

Adam Enzo 2 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


Ryan Thomson 9 35 6-3-0 3.89

Cody Levitan 2 7 2-0-0 3.50

Shots—Thomson 286, Levitan 51. Saves—Thomson 251, Levitan 44. Shootout saves—0. Shootout goals allowed—0. Shutouts—Thomson 1. Empty net goals—0.


Opposition 11 13 18 0 42, 3.8

Sun Valley 20 22 27 0 69, 6.3


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 (8-36, 22%)—Ryan Enrico 3, Eric Demment 2, Chad Levitan 1, Jeremy Mylymok 1, Scott Winkler 1.

Power play goals (opposition): 9-46, (20%).

Suns shorthanded goals (8)—Bryan O'Connell 3, Eric Demment 2, Chad Levitan 1, Ryan Enrico 1, Taylor Rothgeb 1.

Shorthanded goals (opposition): 2.

Season penalty minutes: SV 218, opponents 174.

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