For the week of January 13, 1999   thru January 19, 1999  

Strong at end, Suns reclaim Utah title

Fryberger is MVP with 7 goals

Second-year Sun Valley Suns wing Dates Fryberger was named Utah Winter Games Most Valuable Player Sunday at the end of the 1999 men’s hockey tournament on the Olympic-sized Provo rink.

Fryberger, scoring 7 goals and 11 points in four games including his first Suns "hat trick," led the Suns (7-3 overall) to a 3-1 record and the tournament championship.

Sun Valley and Middlebury College product Fryberger, 23, scored only 7 goals in 32 games as a Suns rookie last winter. But he was on fire in Utah, switching over to left wing on a productive forward line with center Billy Tryder and right wing Luke Smith.

They amassed 28 of 66 Suns points on a scoresheet weekend that culminated with Sunday’s 5-3 championship game win over Korth’s Rebels.

Sun Valley’s fourth Utah Winter Games title in five years came at the expense of the Korth’s sextet that had stunned the Suns 7-0 in last year’s final. The Suns scored 3 unanswered goals in the third period to polish off its win.

Assistant captain Chas Riopel said, "Dates’ line generated a lot of offense."

The Suns beat Cottonwood Spa 6-2 and breezed 13-3 over the Weber All-Stars in two preliminary games last weekend. They also lost 3-2 to Korth’s Rebels as Korth’s goalie Roger Rougelot, who stopped all 32 Suns shots in last year’s 7-0 title game win, turned aside 30 of 32 shots.

In the championship game, the Suns came out flying and put together a strong finish.

Vilnis Nikolaisons and Billy Tryder scored goals in the first two minutes. Then the Suns sat back and were assessed with some bad penalties, which resulted in three Rebels power-play goals and a 3-2 Korth’s lead after one period.

The second period was scoreless. In the third period, Fryberger punched home the only Suns power-play goal of the weekend, from Ivars Muzis and John Stevens, and first-year defenseman Ben Allen tallied the eventual game-winning goal on a Nikolaisons feed. Smith closed the scoring.

Sun Valley outshot Korth’s 40-36 in the title game.

First-year goalie Tom Rother (4-1) played all four games in Utah and picked up three wins. For the weekend, the Suns outshot opponents 164-95—scoring 11 of their 26 goals in the third periods while holding foes to 3 meaningless goals in the final stanzas.

Top Utah Winter Games scorers: Fryberger 7-4 for 11; Tryder 2-7 for 9; Smith 4-4 for 8; Stevens 1-6 for 7; Nikolaisons 3-3 for 6; and Jamie Ellison 1-4 for 5. Wearing the "George Jacket" for the next three weeks will be Rother, Muzis and Fryberger.

Saturday, Fryberger had 3 goals, Riopel 2 and Smith 2 in the 13-3 rout of Weber. Nine Suns scored goals. On Friday, third-period goals by Riopel, Allen and Smith broke open a close 3-2 game and iced a 6-2 win over Cottonwood Spa.

Nikolaisons kept the Suns scoring lead with 21 points. Smith has 17 and Tryder 14.

Not making the Utah trip were Mikael Reijo, Kris Webster, Harry Weekes, Dave McKenna, Brian Watts, Tony Benson and Jake Glotfelty.

The Suns resume skating Jan. 18 with their next games Feb. 5-6 against Powell River. Sometime this week, they’ll make a decision about playing in either the U.S. Division or the Elite Division at the 1999 nationals in Wisconsin.


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