Friday, March 8, 2013

Auto Club skaters reclaim the Gund Cup 4-2

Grumpy’s edges Lefty’s in hockey finale

You might not blame Sun Valley Auto Club/Grumpy’s goaltender David Stone if he took one of his shiny Auto Club convertibles out for a ride on a mild Hailey day and showed off the famed Gund Cup.

Stone backstopped the Auto Club/Grumpy’s hockey team (9-5-0) to a 4-2 victory over defending champion Lefty’s Bar & Grill (3-11-0) Tuesday in the championship game of the 32nd annual Senior “A” Hockey League season-ending playoffs as the fourth seed out of four teams with a 2-10-0 record.

Lefty’s out-shot Grumpy’s 35-28 during the game, but Stone sticked aside or blocked all 26 Lefty’s shots in the second and third periods after the two teams ended the first 17-minute period in a 2-2 tie.

Stone saved a breakaway by John Kearney Jr. midway through the third period and also stopped a two-on-one Lefty’s break a minute later to make sure of the triumph.

The Auto Club defense sparked by Harry Weekes and Mark Stone kept many of the Lefty’s chances from developing. At the other end, Lefty’s goalie Pat Ballou was nearly as good as Stone, making 24 saves on the 28 Auto Club shots.

Auto Club edged ahead 2-1 in the first period on goals by Dave Hennessy and Rian Timmons, with an assist by Vilnis Nikolaisons. Crist Cook opened the Lefty’s scoring, assisted by Trevor Thomas, then Don Saver made it 2-2 just before the end of the first period, assisted by Randy Flood.

Lefty’s had the shooting edge for the rest of the game, but Grumpy’s made the most of its shots.

Mark Stone teed up a slapshot for the eventual winning goal six minutes into the second, on passes from Charles Friedman and Weekes. Then Friedman punched home the insurance goals in close quarters, assisted by Nikolaisons.

Auto Club last won the Gund Cup in 2009, beating Morgan’s Fine Finishes that year 3-2. This was the first year the Gund Cup tournament was played without the presence of longtime Sun Valley hockey benefactor George Gund III, who died in January.



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