Sun Valley Youth Hockey alumni Justin Taylor seems to be following in the footsteps of his father Tim Taylor as an ice hockey coach. But that doesn’t mean 28-year-old Justin Taylor is finished putting pucks in the net as a hockey forward.
Taylor scored seven goals in two games helping the Sun Valley Suns senior men to a 12-0 and 8-0 sweep of the visiting Salt Lake City Golden Eagles Friday and Saturday in the home season openers at Sun Valley Skating Center.
Referring to Taylor’s contributions when he plays for the Suns on holiday visits home, Suns coach John Burke said, “Justin has been very good holiday player for us.” Taylor two goals and six points in two games last Christmas holiday.
After a four-year, 108-game collegiate career at Lake Forest College in Illinois from 2006-10 and a brief pro stint with the Arizona Sundogs, Taylor is coaching the Connecticut Yankees juniors in the New York City area, indeed, serving as a mentor to young Drew Punnett, another Sun Valley skater on his team.
His father Tim Taylor, who died April 27 at 71, coached 825 games over 28 seasons for Yale University, was the 1994 U.S. Olympic men’s head coach and is generally considered one of the giants of college and national junior ice hockey.
Justin Taylor was helped considerably against the Golden Eagles playing on a forward line with 20-year pro Marty Flichel, the former Idaho Steelheads center who handed out six assists last weekend for the Suns to match Taylor as the team’s top point-getter.
In the two games the Suns out-shot the Golden Eagles 96-42 with coach Burke using four forward lines to wear down the Salt Lake City team and its sturdy 22-year-old goaltender Brandon Barker (76 saves).
“We’ve been working hard on moving the puck after being embarrassed against Jackson Hole,” said Burke, pointing out the two Suns losses in Wyoming Dec. 13-14.
Remarkably, the back-to-back shutouts recorded by 11th-year Suns goalie Ryan Thomson (42 saves in two games) marked the first time in 879 games over 39 Suns seasons that the team has posted consecutive shutouts.
Thomson, 35, posted his seventh and eighth career Suns shutouts in his 122 games, and chalked up his 75th and 76th career victories for the home team. Burke said, “Ryan is squaring up, has been very quick and is playing as well as I’ve ever seen him play.”
With the exception of 37-year-old Canadian native Flichel and three other Suns veterans—captain Ryan Enrico, 16-year defenseman Ivars Muzis and 50-year-old marvel Johnny Miller (2 goals, 2 assists Friday), the Suns skated a young 20-ish team.
Enrico scored two goals and two assists in his return from a foot injury, while assistant captains Bryan O’Connell and Taylor Rothgeb also contributed goals in the 20-goal Suns weekend attack.
But quick young players like Santa Clara University’s Jackson Morgus and former Idaho Junior Steelheads Greg Chapman and Justin Videen also chipped in—and the Suns defense was solid with Doug Yeates, Trevor Thomas, David Dredge, Alex Redmond, Muzis and Zak Greenawalt.
Morgus scored a three-goal hat trick in the second period alone Friday night. He started his string of three goals in just over six minutes with an unusual shorthanded tally that earned Morgus the weekend’s “George Jacket” honor.
With the Golden Eagles setting up a power play in their defensive zone, Morgus was in the right place at the right time to tip home a miscalculated crossing pass from a Utah defender. Morgus dove, stuck out his stick and redirected the pass into the net for a 5-0 lead, shorthanded.
Taylor finished his four-goal effort Friday with two goals in the third period. Golden Eagles netminder Barker played pretty well on Saturday night, Burke said, but still yielded eight goals after holding the Suns to a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Future Suns, Moose are next
The Suns will skate with the Future Suns Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 7 p.m. to raise money for Sun Valley Youth Hockey. The New Year’s Day game is designed for fun, bringing players and fans together in a holiday setting, Burke said.
After the New Year, the Suns will entertain Jackson Hole Moose on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 3-4 at 7 p.m. to raise money for Hailey Ice.
The Moose from Wyoming emerged with a 6-0 season record from their 7-3 and 5-1 home sweep of the Suns Dec. 13-14.
Coach Burke said he doesn’t expect to have the services of Justin Taylor for the final 20 games of the season, but most of the players who debuted the home campaign against the Golden Eagles should return.
Burke said the Suns will welcome a new skater, 29-year-old Mike Curry, a 6-4, 215-pound right wing who played for University of Minnesota-Duluth from 2004-08. Curry, from Eagle River, Alaska, won the Best Plus-Minus Award for the UMD Bulldogs as a junior in 2007. Before college, he skated for Sioux City in the USHL.
Suns Hockey Summary
suns 12, GOLDEN EAGLES 0
FRIday, DECEMBER 27
|SLC Golden Eagles
|Sun Valley Suns
FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Justin Taylor 1 (Johnny Miller), 7:55. (2) SV, Bryan O’Connell 1 (Greg Chapman, Derek Grimes), 16:11. (3) SV, Johnny Miller 1 (Ivars Muzis), 18:49, shorthanded goal.
SECOND PERIOD—(4) SV, Spencer Brendel 1 (Doug Yeates, Chad Levitan), 1:19. (5) SV, Jackson Morgus 1 (Muzis), 7:40, shorthanded goal. (6) SV, Taylor 2 (Johnny Miller, Marty Flichel), 8:42. (7) SV, Morgus 2 (Justin Videen), 10:25. (8) SV, Ryan Enrico 2 (O’Connell), 11:25. (9) SV, Morgus 3 (Taylor Rothgeb), 13:00, shorthanded and hat trick goal.
THIRD PERIOD—(10) SV, Taylor 3 (Flichel, Chapman), 6:15, hat trick goal. (11) SV, Johnny Miller 2 (Flichel), 6:28. (12) SV, Taylor 4 (Yeates, Alex Redmond), 17:31.
SHOTS ON GOAL—Salt Lake City 3-5-9 for 17; Sun Valley 14-21-13 for 48.
GOALIES—Salt Lake City, Brandon Barker (36 saves); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (17 saves, 1-2-0 record).
OFFICIALS—Dave Patrie (referee), Eric Wingard and Tyler Hanson (linesmen).
NOTES—Suns captain is Ryan Enrico. Assistants are Bryan O’Connell and Taylor Rothgeb…..22nd-year Suns wing Johnny Miller, 50, scored 2 goals and 2 assists tonight and needs only 3 points to become a 200-point man in his Suns career…. Suns forward lines were Ryan Enrico-Derek Grimes-Bryan O’Connell, Justin Taylor-Marty Flichel-Johnny Miller, Taylor Rothgeb-Justin Videen-Jackson Morgus, Spencer Brendel-Chad Levitan-Jordan Pritchett. Defensemen were Ivars Muzis, Doug Yeates, Trevor Thomas, David Dredge, Greg Chapman and Alex Redmond…. Suns back-up goalie was Bobby Farrelly…..Boise Youth Amateur Hockey Association products Chapman, 23, of Meridian and Justin Videen, 22, have been coached by former pro player and Sun Valley Suns player Jeremy Mylymok for the Idaho Junior Steelheads in the Western States Hockey League. Videen also played for St. Mary’s Univ. in Minnesota…..Suns goalie Ryan Thomson didn’t have a shutout last season. His last shutout was 8-0 over the Utah Senior Grizzlies Jan. 20, 2012 on home ice. Prior to that, Thomson blanked the Cache Valley (Utah) Trappers 9-0 on Jan. 14, 2011. Counting both of his shutouts this weekend, 35-year-old Thomson now has eight career shutouts in 122 Suns games, boasting an overall 76-40-0 record in his 11 seasons…..Utah goalie Brandon Barker, 22, a 6-3, 210-pounder, had a cup of coffee as an emergency back-up goalie for the Idaho Steelheads this fall..
suns 8, GOLDEN EAGLES 0
SATURday, DECEMBER 28
|SLC Golden Eagles
|Sun Valley Suns
FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Taylor Rothgeb 1 (Jackson Morgus, David Dredge), 4:27.
SECOND PERIOD—(2) SV, Derek Grimes 1 (Ryan Enrico), 5:12. (3) SV, Marty Flichel 1 (Alex Redmond), 11:11. (4) SV, Enrico 3 (Grimes, Greg Chapman), 13:40, shorthanded goal. (5) SV, Justin Taylor 5 (Flichel), 14:32.
THIRD PERIOD—(6) SV, O’Connell 2 (Enrico, Doug Yeates), 4:30. (7) SV, Taylor 6 (Dredge, Flichel), 6:36. (8) SV, Taylor 7 (Flichel, Dredge), 15:38, hat trick goal.
SHOTS ON GOAL—Salt Lake City 8-7-10 for 25; Sun Valley 18-13-17 for 48.
GOALIES—Salt Lake City, Brandon Barker (40 saves); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (25 saves, 2-2-0 record).
OFFICIALS—Chris Benson (referee), Dave Patrie and Bobby Noyes (linesmen).
NOTES—Suns forward lines were Ryan Enrico-Derek Grimes-Bryan O’Connell, Max Kwok-Marty Flichel-Justin Taylor, Taylor Rothgeb-Justin Videen-Jackson Morgus, Spencer Brendel-Chad Levitan-Johnny Miller. Defensemen were Doug Yeates, Trevor Thomas, David Dredge, Zak Greenawalt, Greg Chapman and Alex Redmond….Fourth-year right wing Bryan O’Connell, Suns leading scorer for three straight years, scored a goal in each game to improve his career total to 70 goals and 36 assists for 106 points……11th-year left wing Ryan Enrico had 2 goals and 2 assists for the weekend and is No. 8 on the all-time Suns list with 126 goals and 158 assists for 284 points. He needs only 16 more points this season to become only the eighth Suns skater to exceed 300 career points…….Suns back-up goalie was Cody Levitan…..Justin Taylor topped the 50-point Sun Valley scoring barrage for the weekend with 7 goals. Marty Flichel (1 goal, 6 assists) added 7 points, while Johnny Miller, Jackson Morgus and Ryan Enrico had 4 points apiece…..Over last year’s Christmas holiday, Taylor played two games for the Suns and notched 2 goals and 4 assists for 6 points in the Suns’ 10-3 and 6-2 sweep of the Rebels from Salt Lake Dec. 21-22, 2012……Flichel is likely to add a new dimension to the Suns this season. The 37-year-old native of Hodgeville, Saskatchewan had a 20-year pro hockey career starting with the WHL Tacoma Rockets in 1992 and ending with Boise’s Idaho Steelheads in 2012. He played nine seasons with the Steelheads and 497 games, finishing with 180 goals and 295 assists for 475 points during his time in Boise. Flichel’s best season was 1995-96 with the WHL Kelowna Rockets when he scored 28 goals and 79 assists for 107 points in just 69 games……