The Sun Valley Youth Hockey high school squad is looking forward to hosting the 10-team Idaho Amateur Hockey Association (IAHA) state tournament Friday through Sunday, March 7-9 at Sun Valley Skating Center.
Defending high school champion Bishop Kelly is one of five Boise-area high school teams in the field. Three high school teams from the Idaho Falls area will also be represented. The other teams from small cities are host Sun Valley and Salmon.
In all, 23 games are scheduled starting with full days of action Friday and Saturday starting at 7 a.m. and continuing through 11 p.m. The teams will be divided into two pools, and each team will play four round-robin games in their pool on Friday and Saturday.
Sun Valley plays Skyline of Idaho Falls at 10:15 a.m. Friday and goes against Eagle/Rocky Mountain Friday at 8 p.m. The young Suns coached by Tim Jeneson will play Centennial/Mountain View at 11:45 a.m. Saturday and finish their round-robin slate against Bishop Kelly Saturday at 6:15 p.m.
The four teams compiling the most points (2 points for a win, 1 point tie) in their pools advance to the semi-final games Sunday at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. And the winners of those two semi-finals will play for the state championship Sunday at 2 p.m.
Sun Valley’s high school team tangled with Bishop Kelly last Dec. 8 at Sun Valley Skating Center in the championship game of the home Midget (ages 15-18) tournament here. In that game, the Suns were six minutes away from upsetting the Knights 1-0, but Bishop Kelly equalized and won on Sam Goodman’s successful goal in an overtime shootout.
Over the Feb. 21-23 weekend, Jeneson’s team went 0-2 at the IAHA Midget A tournament in Idaho Falls. Those results weren’t indicative of the progress shown by Sun Valley this season, though.
Jeneson explained, “We lost to Boise Junior Steelheads ‘AA’ 7-0, and to Idaho Falls Midgets 3-1. Boise draws their team from seven local high schools, and Idaho Falls from four high schools. It was a ‘let’s show up and see where we stand’ tournament.
“When these two teams (Junior Steelheads and Idaho Falls) disperse to their specific individual high schools, it will make a much more level playing field. We are particularly looking forward to the rematch against defending state champ Bishop Kelly Saturday at 6:15 p.m. That is Senior Night.”
Boise Junior Steelheads routed Idaho Falls 8-2 for the Midget A championship during the Idaho Falls tournament two weeks ago.
Bantams second at IAHA state meet
SVYH Bantams (ages 13-14) wrapped up a 17-15-1 winter campaign by placing second to Boise in the Bantam A division at the IAHA state hockey tournament Feb. 23 at Joe Marmo/Wayne Lehto Ice Arena in Idaho Falls.
Led by captain Colby Whitehead, the Bantams Suns won 12-1 over Idaho Falls and lost to Boise Steelheads 4-3 before falling to Boise 5-1 in the final. Whitehead played the championship game with a fractured shoulder.
In the big win over Idaho Falls, Sun Valley built a 6-0 first-period lead, indeed, the first seven Suns goals came on power plays. The Bantams out-shot Idaho Falls 49-14, avenging a 7-5 loss to Idaho Falls earlier this year.
Seven different Bantams scored against Idaho Falls led by two goals apiece by Ike Buxton (4 assists), Jett Erickson, Colby Whitehead (1 assist), Jack Stevens and Kyle Furlong (1 assist). Adding single goals were Matthew Galgano and Tiernan Naghsh. Other assists came from Paxton Bunting (2), Sam Ballard (2), Alec Broman and Henry Raff.
Bantams goalies against Idaho Falls were James Everitt (3 saves) and Klayton Douthit (10 saves).
Junior Steelheads broke a 3-3 tie on a goal with just one second left in regulation in the first meeting between the teams. Stevens, Buxton and Bunting scored for the Suns in that game. In the 5-1 title game setback, Broman netted a third-period goal on assists by Buxton and Whitehead.
Bantams head coach John Stevens said, “Tremendous improvement from the players this year.”
Other Bantams included Flynn Stewart, Nick Smith and Ziggy Slanetz. Assistant coaches were Chad Levitan and Bryan O’Connell. Team manager was Matt Buxton.