local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 last week
 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info

 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs



Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8065 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 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. 

ski and snow reports


Mountain Jobs

Formula Sports

Idaho Conservation League



Gary Carr...The Carr Man!

Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

For the week of February 20 - 26, 2002


Suns erase 5-1 deficit, shock Jets 8-5

Seven unanswered goals let Suns sweep

The Sun Valley Suns don’t have many cardinal rules. in fact, they don’t have many hard-and-fast rules at all.

Examples of the old guard and new guard, former Suns defenseman Glenn Hunter (right) skates for the Michigan Jets and first-year Suns blueliner Kit Hughes (left) watches the puck last weekend. Express photo by Willy Cook

But when they fall behind in games, they steady themselves with comforting clichés like….

Next goal is a big one.

And, here’s a gold medal winner in the cliché class—we’ve got them just where we want them.

The Suns had the visiting Michigan Jets right where they wanted them Saturday in the finale of a very competitive two-game hockey series at Sun Valley Skating Center.

Michigan led the Suns 5-1 with only 20 minutes to play. That was deeper hole than the Suns had encountered in a series of deep holes this season. They’ve been down 2-0 six times, and won all but one.

Trailing by four, the next goal was huge for the Suns.

Center Joe Lawson, 21, a strapping 6-2, 220-pound left shot from Taconite, Minn., was totally aware of the stakes.

"We were shocked, after they (the Jets) picked up those goals in the second period," he said. "Nobody said a lot in the locker room, but we all knew what we had to do. We knew we had to change the attitude."

The Suns attitude changed for the better after Lawson stormed down the left wing on a two-on-one and rifled his second goal of the game high past former Michigan State goalie Tom Nowland—just 53 seconds into the third period.

"Kris Webster did some good hard-nosed work along the boards behind our net and gave it to Chas (Riopel)," said Lawson. "I gave Chas a yell and he flipped it to me, a real nice pass. I got that goal to pop in and it seemed to open it up for us. It picked everybody up."

The floodgates opened as the Suns scored seven unanswered goals, four on the power play, to overtake the startled Jets 8-5. On the weekend, the Suns were 7-for-11 on the power play.

It was one of the greatest comebacks, if not the greatest, in 27 years and 645 games of Suns hockey. "We had a gut check, "said Lawson, first-year anchor of a line with veteran wings Riopel and John Stevens.

Picking up their physical play and fore-checking, the Suns followed up Lawson’s goal with a thing of raw beauty.

A brutal check by Jamie Ellison that sent Jets defenseman and former Suns blueliner Glenn Hunter flying behind the Jets net also resulted in Hunter’s pass going onto the stick of Vilnis Nikolaisons. Vilnis quickly centered to Scott Winkler. 5-3.

Lawson’s line, back on the ice, did everything but put the puck in the net. Shaken, the Jets had 15 minutes to preserve their two-goal lead. But the whistles started going against the Michigan sextet, big time.

Rookie defenseman Paul Baranzelli took a face-off from Ellison and drilled the first of his three straight power-play goals that comprised a rare natural hat trick.

Joe Lawson was a big factor in the amazing Suns comeback against the Jets. Express photo by Willy Cook

First-year Suns goalie James Moskos, victimized in the second when he gave up three soft goals, came up big when a Jet snuck into his crease.

Chris Benson skated through two Jets defenders, got off a decent shot and drew a penalty with nine minutes left, the Suns still behind 5-4.

On the power play, offensive-minded blueliner Baranzelli swept the puck into the Jets zone and dropped a pass for right wing Winkler, who took a shot. In the crease, Nikolaisons hammered away at goalie Nowland. Unseen, Baranzelli kept coming and coming and put in the rebound.

Tie game.

After killing off a penalty and getting a huge break on a disallowed Jets goal, the Suns scored the eventual winner when Baranzelli carried a Winkler pass into the Jets zone and whipped two shots at Nowland. The rebound went in.

It was the second hat trick in the last six games for Baranzelli, a relative of Suns Hall of Fame offensive-minded defenseman John Finnegan in more ways than one.

Baranzelli (5 goals and 3 assists) and Ellison (4-4) led the Suns with 8 weekend points and Winkler added 4 points.

After Baranzelli’s third goal in nine minutes, everything else was gravy. Benson picked up a Ben Stauffer centering pass and made it 7-5, another power play goal, and Ellison finished the scoring on a fine centering pass from Winkler.

Jets goalie Nowland ended up stopping 58 of 66 Suns shots. He faced a barrage of 30 Suns shots in the third period alone.

Friday night’s 7-4 Suns win was much more standard issue—Baranzelli scoring a pair of goals in the first period and Ellison mopping up with his first hat trick of the season.

Nikolaisons, Ellison and Lawson all scored on the power play Friday.

Moskos earned both wins in the Suns net, making 35 saves Friday and 26 saves Saturday.

Next, the Suns (17-1) take on the New England Wings Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23 at 7 p.m. in the Sun Valley rink.

Steve Theall’s sextet from the East Coast last visited Idaho March 1-2, 1996—the host Suns losing the first game 4-3 and winning the second 3-1.

Check the Express web site for updated season statistics.




The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.