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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 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. 

For the week of December 24 - 30, 2002


Suns bounce back, 
beat Blades 6-1

Sun Valley, Boise divide season opener

Nothing like a hot goaltender to put a hockey celebration on ice.

The celebration for the Sun Valley Suns would have been a victory in the team’s 2002-03 home opener Friday.

John Stevens stickhandles up ice against the Boise Blades. Express photo by Willy Cook

But Boise Blades goalie Mark Liebich, who kicked out pucks for the U.S. Air Force Academy a dozen years ago, showed he still has a steely military presence when challenged.

Liebich stopped all 15 Sun Valley shots in the third period, and then two in overtime, as the Blades rallied from a 2-0 deficit and upset the Suns 3-2 in the extra period Friday night.

"We had plenty of chances, good flurries, but we just couldn’t pop anything in," said Suns player/coach Chris Benson. Boise’s goals in regulation came on the power play, one of them on a five-on-three situation.

Frank Salvoni scored twice in Saturday’s 6-1 Suns victory. Express photo by Willy Cook

The Suns (1-1) had to wait a night for their first victory. Newcomer Frank Salvoni scored two goals and veteran Vilnis Nikolaisons added a pair as the Suns solved Liebich and the Blades 6-1 Saturday night.

"Our special teams were positive Saturday," said Benson, referring to three Suns power-play goals in a game featuring 41 penalty minutes.

Sun Valley product Scott Winkler set up the first score, sending Salvoni down the middle of the ice to finish an excellent Suns power play.

Great hustle by 39-year-old John Miller created the second goal late in the first period. Miller out-skated the Blades defense along the left wing, pulled to a stop behind the Boise net and surveyed his options.

Paul Baranzelli looks for a passing lane. Express photo by Willy Cook

Big Luke Smith stood in the slot, a prime candidate for a centering pass. But Paul Baranzelli drifted in from the blueline, to Liebich’s left, and Miller noticed a passing lane across the crease. He whipped the puck to Baranzelli, who made no mistake.

Those two goals were a good start.

Sun Valley pelted 49 shots at Liebich and built a 5-0 cushion. Suns goalie Matt Gershater (59 saves for the weekend) allowed only a meaningless third-period Blades goal.

"Not-so-gentle" Ben Niemela is a welcome addition on the Suns blueline. Express photo by Willy Cook

The Suns play the Portland (Ore.) Czechs Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27-28 at 7 p.m. at Sun Valley Skating Center. Coach Benson said, "Portland should be fairly talented. We’re hoping for a good holiday crowd."

Nearly 600 fans came to the rink for last weekend’s series.


Hockey Summary


Blades 3, Suns 2 (OT)

Boise Blades 0 2 0 1 3
Sun Valley Suns 1 1 0 0 2

FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Tom Forti 1 (Ben Stauffer), 12:33.

SECOND PERIOD—(2) SV, Stauffer 1 (Forti), 8:52. (3) Boise, Bobby Sloper (Rob Dumas, Warren Moore), 10:56, power play goal. (4) Boise, Haden Busch (Dave Ingraham, Kirt Liebech), 18:41, power play goal.

THIRD PERIOD—No scoring.

OVERTIME—(5) Boise, John Ursillo (John Hill), 1:26, game-winning goal.

SHOTS ON GOAL—for Boise 8-14-4-3 for 29; for Sun Valley 8-9-15-2 for 34.

GOALIES—Boise, Mark Liebich (32 saves). SV, Matt Gershater (26 saves, 0-1-0 season).

OFFICIALS—Referee, Bobby Noyes; linesmen, Curtis Martin and John Olson.

NOTES—Suns goaltender James Moskos got an emergency call-up from the Idaho Steelheads Wednesday morning and was with the Boise minor league hockey team as a back-up goalie last weekend….Already nursing a shoulder problem, three-time Suns leading scorer Jamie Ellison aggravated the injury tonight. He fell on it and felt it pop. Ellison was due to have an MRI on Christmas Eve….Suns player/coach Chris Benson felt tonight’s crowd of 330 was good for the opening weekend. Another 250 fans showed up Saturday….Boise goalie Mark Liebich, who stopped all 15 Suns shots in the third period and two in overtime, was the #1 goalie for the Air Force Academy in 1989-90, playing with Bob and Cal Ingraham…..The Blades bench featured three players who came up through Sun Valley junior hockey—Bobby Sloper, Trevor Thomas and Haden Busch. And two of them hurt the Suns, Sloper and Busch scoring the first two goals, both on the power play….The Blades were 2-for-5 on the power play, the Suns 0-for-2. Penalty minutes: Suns 12, Blades 6….The Suns now have a 22-20-19 overtime record covering 28 seasons.



Suns 6, Blades 1

Boise Blades 0 0 1 1
Sun Valley Suns 2 1 3 6

FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Frank Salvoni 1 (Scott Winkler, Eric Demment), 7:12, power play goal. (2) SV, Paul Baranzelli 1 (John Miller, Luke Smith), 18:33, power play goal.

SECOND PERIOD—(3) SV, Salvoni 2 (Vilnis Nikolaisons, Winkler), 6:39.

THIRD PERIOD—(4) SV, Nikolaisons 1 (unassisted), 5:14. (5) SV, Stauffer 2 (Baranzelli, John Stevens), 6:52. (6) Boise, John Hill (Troy Edwards, Pepe Ursillo), 7:17. (7) SV, Nikolaisons 2 (Winkler), 16:50, power play goal.

SHOTS ON GOAL—for Boise 9-11-14 for 34; for Sun Valley 15-15-19 for 49.

GOALIES—Boise, Mark Liebich (43 saves). SV, Matt Gershater (33 saves, 1-1-0 season).

OFFICIALS—Referee, Richard Winkler; linesmen, Curtis Martin and John Olson.

NOTES—Suns forward lines were Ben Stauffer-Tom Forti-John Stevens, Chris Benson-Luke Smith-John Miller, Stauffer-Vilnis Nikolaisons-Scott Winkler, Rohan Verplank-Perry Smiley-Caleb Baukol. Defensive pairs were Eric Demment-Kit Hughes, Ivars Muzis-Paul Baranzelli, Mike Selhay-Ben Niemela….Winkler, Stauffer and Nikolaisons each had 3 points to lead the Suns in scoring for the weekend….The Suns were 3-4 on the power play (3-6 weekend), Boise 0-3 (2-8). Penalty minutes: SV 19 (31 weekend), Boise 22 (28)….Blades 6-0, 200-pound defenseman Rob Dumas, 33, from Alberta, came up through the St. Louis Blues organization and played for the Idaho Steelheads.


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