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For the week of Dec. 15, 1999 through Dec. 21, 1999

Moose trample Suns twice

6-2, 10-7 in Wyoming

It’d be nice to report that the Sun Valley Suns men’s hockey team huffed and puffed and blew the Jackson Hole Moose down during last weekend’s season-opening games.

Mostly, the out-of-shape Suns huffed and puffed—and got blown away by the more seasoned Moose by scores of 6-2 and 10-7 at Snow King Center in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

"We were horribly out-of-shape," said Suns wing Chas Riopel. "Officially, we’ve had only six practice skates so far, but only one really good one. We have some new guys. As we started getting used to playing together, I think we were much better."

Indeed, the Suns outscored the Moose 4-1 in the third periods.

But the Moose (9-1), their season in full flush with hopes of competing in the Senior Elite Nationals March 30 at Fond du Lac, Wisc., jolted the understaffed Suns (0-2) with a well-rounded scoring attack.

"We got outplayed in all areas," said Riopel.

Seventeen different Moose skaters including six former Suns amassed points in the two games. Leading the way was ex-Suns winger Kevin Lynch (3 goals and 6 points), who scored 37 goals and 82 points in his three winters on Sun Valley ice.

Lynch scored two goals in Friday’s win and former Sun Mark Morningstar had a hat trick Saturday.

The Suns star, as he’s been for a full decade, was goaltender Tony Benson. He stopped 52 of 58 Moose shots in Friday’s 6-2 loss. Riopel said, "Our only real high point was the play of Tony Benson in goal."

Another standout was forward Billy Tryder (6 points), with four goals including a hat trick Saturday. Ben Allen and Kris Webster added 4 points apiece, John Stevens and Riopel 3 points each for the weekend.

Complicating what the Suns knew was going to be an uphill fight was the loss of 1998-99 leading scorer Vilnis Nikolaisons (concussion) early in Friday’s contest. It altered the balance of power considerably.

Riopel said, "We went from skating three forward lines with five defensemen, to two lines with two extra forwards, and four defensemen.

"Overall, if we had a few more bodies, had skated a little more and could have scored on the power play, we could have won. Saturday night’s game was better. We played as a team and skated much better."

Unbeaten on home ice and winners of nine straight, the Moose entertain Minneapolis Fury Motors Dec. 17-18 at Snow King Center.

The Suns are idle until they host the Moose for a big Millennium weekend series Friday, Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 1 at 7 p.m. at Sun Valley Skating Center.

They are the first home games of the Suns’ 26-game regular-season schedule for 1999-2000. This is Sun Valley’s 25th season—and the Suns aren’t planning to compete at nationals in 2000.

From Jan. 14 through March 25, the Suns plan to play home games each weekend except Jan. 28-29 and Feb. 4-5.


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Copyright 1999 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.