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For the week of February 28 through March 6, 2001

Posing with its state championship trophy in Boise is the Sun Valley Midget team. Kneeling, from left, Joey Bohl, Corey Simpson, Kellen Chatterton, Brett Falcone and Zach Bloomfield. Standing, from left, coach Randy Berner, Trevor Thomas, Danny Gariepy, Matt Ward, Kent Grimes, Gunnar Gladics, Michael Gariepy, Tyler Klune, Travis Leach, Matt Conover, Ryne Reynoso, Bryan Winkler, Bobby Sloper and coach Eddie Grimes. Not shown are Blake Schnebly and Nick Ludin. Courtesy photo

A great skate for 
a state title

Sun Valley Midgets win tournament

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley Midgets won the Idaho State hockey championship Sunday in Boise, skating to a decisive 4-2 victory over nemesis Idaho Falls.

"This is the best we played this season," coach Randy Berner said. "We were ready."

For the state tournament, which featured four teams in the Midget division, Berner pared his team down to two forward lines and four defensemen and rotated the remaining players through.

"Everything came together really nicely," he said.

"It’s the first time this season we have had all four defensemen (Kellen Chatterton, Ryne Reynoso, Kent Grimes and Trevor Thomas), and we are a really good defensive team when they are in there. The defense was really steady."

The team was also bolstered by the forward line of Bobby Sloper, Michael Gariepy and Bryan Winkler. They scored eight of the team’s 13 goals including all the goals in the final game.

But talent is nothing without heart—and Sun Valley displayed heart in abundance, skating to both a come-from-behind triumph and a tie.

"We played with a lot of intensity," Berner said. "We were peaking at the right time."

Sun Valley also drew a very favorable schedule, playing two games on Friday with plenty of rest in-between.

In the opening contest, the Suns and Salmon skated to a 2-2 tie. The Snakes knotted the game with four minutes remaining.

Winkler and Sloper scored. They also recorded assists along with Gariepy and Grimes. Goalie Joey Bohl made 15 saves in the victory.

"Joey was the difference in that game. He was excellent," Berner said. "It was definitely his best game of the year."

It was netminder Corey Simpson’s (13 saves) turn to shine in a 5-1 win over Idaho Junior Steelheads. Tyler Klune twined two. Zach Bloomfield, Gladics and Winkler scored.

Needing a win or tie against four-time defending state champion Idaho Falls to advance to the championship contest, the Suns did not start off on a stellar note Saturday.

The Eagles and Suns played a scoreless first frame, but Idaho Falls bit first with two goals in the second for a 2-0 lead.

On the opening shift in the third period, Winkler fed a hard-charging Gariepy, who beat Dustin Merrill, to pull the Suns within one.

Trailing 2-1 with 1:30 remaining, Grimes rushed in from the point, hammered in Gariepy’s rebound to draw a 2-2 tie and a rematch against Idaho Falls in the championship.

Simpson and Bohl shared the pipes and the win.

Sun Valley struck first in Sunday’s finale, capitalizing on its superior team speed and hustle against the very physical Eagles.

Sloper put the Suns on the scoreboard by cutting off a clearing pass and punching it by Merrill.

Winkler went five-hole on a drop pass by Grimes for a 2-0 advantage and Gariepy netted a backhander for a 3-0 lead. I.F. scored on a power play for a 3-1 score at the end of two.

Sun Valley’s penalty-killers had their work cut out for them in the third period as the Suns drew 24 penalty minutes to the Eagles’ eight.

Sloper didn’t let playing shorthanded cramp his style and his score pushed the Suns’ advantage to 4-1. Idaho Falls managed a power play goal with five minutes left, but Sun Valley prevailed for a 4-2 win.

"It was a total team effort," Berner said. "And Corey had the best game of his life. He was amazing. He made some really acrobatic saves."

Simpson finished the weekend with 51 saves.

Also suiting up were Brett Falcone, Travis Leach and Blake Schnebly. The team was missing injured players Danny Gariepy and Nick Ludin.

"We played with a lot of heart," Berner said. "We wanted it."

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