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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


Hockey is all show
in Vegas

Suns salvage 5-2 win from "extreme" weekend

The catch phrase "Extreme Hockey," was pure Vegas.

Cheerleaders wore skimpy outfits and skated between periods. "Extreme" dancers wandered through the stands. The crowd mixed casino guests and hard-core hockey fans. The Las Vegas Royals players were, how shall we say it?

"They were pretty much a goon gang," said Sun Valley Suns captain and player/coach Chris Benson.

Indeed, it was a full entertainment spectacle when the Sun Valley Suns visited Santa Fe Station in Las Vegas (Nev.) last weekend for a two-game series against the first-year Las Vegas Royals semi-professional hockey team.

At stake was $1,000 per game to the winning team. And the Suns shared part of the booty by winning Saturday night’s game 5-2 after dropping a 7-1 decision Friday.

The Suns bought new masks for their goaltenders and spent the rest.

Playing without a red line flummoxed the Suns Friday. The cherry-picking Royals snuck behind the woeful Suns power play (0-for-11 Friday) for three shorthanded goals and added a power-play score to breeze 7-1.

Suns defenseman Ivars Muzis scored in the third period, from Matt O’Hare, to break up the shutout.

"Our defense was too used to moving up because we play with the red line. We had to adjust. By Saturday we tightened up," said Benson.

The Royals struck first Saturday, but defenseman Eric Demment and forward Caleb Baukol made it 2-1 Suns by the end of the first period. Tom Forti’s third goal of the season lifted the Suns ahead 3-2 after two.

Defenseman Kit Hughes provided insurance with a goal, from Forti, midway through the third. And defenseman Paul Baranzelli put the money in the bank with an empty-netter.

The Royals amassed 84 penalty minutes in two games, the Suns 43.

Glad to be home, the Suns start three consecutive weekends of home ice action when the Seattle (Wash.) Indians arrive for two games Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24-25 at 7 p.m.

The teams played an exciting New Year’s series in Dec. 2001—the Suns winning 7-5 and 7-6 in a shootout. Benson said, "I’m sure Seattle will bring its same big, hard-hitting team."

Next are the Trail (B.C., Canada) Smoke Eaters Jan. 31-Feb. 1 and Minneapolis Green Mill Feb. 7-8.

Check the Express web site for a complete summary of last weekend’s games and current Suns season stats.


Royals 7, Suns 1

Sun Valley Suns 0 0 1 1
Las Vegas Royals 1 3 3 7

FIRST PERIOD—(1) Royals, Rocco Camarata (Randy Burridge, Lloyd Sarcey), 8:48.

SECOND PERIOD—(2) Royals, Wally Lacroix (unassisted), 0:50, shorthanded goal. (3) Royals, Camarata (unassisted), 1:55, shorthanded goal. (4) Royals, Jade Parnell (Daniel Kim), 11:29, power play goal.

THIRD PERIOD—(5) Royals, Camarata (unassisted), 1:02, shorthanded and hat trick goal. (6) Royals, Paul Kasztalan (Gregory Brooks, Lacroix), 3:14. (7) Royals, Burridge (Camarata, Myron Freund), 4:49. (8) SV, Ivars Muzis 2 (Matt O’Hare), 7:30.

GOALIES—SV, James Moskos (first half of game, 0-1-0 season) and Matt Gershater; Royals, Chris Tate.

NOTES—Suns forward lines were Vilnis Nikolaisons-Tom Forti-John Stevens, Chris Benson-Luke Smith-John Miller, Frank Salvoni-Scott Winkler-Matt O’Hare, Caleb Baukol-Scott Carmack-Rohan Verplank. Defensive pairs were Ivars Muzis-Paul Baranzelli, Eric Demment-Kit Hughes, Kris Webster-Ben Niemela…..In his first Suns appearance of the season, Moskos allowed the first 4 goals then was replaced by Gershater…..Leading Suns scorer Luke Smith was whistled for a 5-minute butt end major penalty in the third period and received a game ejection, which meant he couldn’t play Saturday….The Suns entered the weekend with nearly a 50% success rate on the power play, but they couldn’t score on 11 power play chances tonight….The announced crowd was over 1,000, but there were probably 800 to 900 watching tonight’s game, captain Chris Benson said…..The Suns appreciated the fans who took the bus to Las Vegas and rooted for the Sun Valley team.



Suns 5, Royals 2

Sun Valley Suns 2 1 2 5
Las Vegas Royals 1 1 0 2

FIRST PERIOD—(1) Royals, Kasztalan (Lacroix), 2:47. (2) SV, Eric Demment 4 (goalie Matt Gershater), 11:55. (3) SV, Caleb Baukol 1 (Demment, Rohan Verplank), 17:57.

SECOND PERIOD—(4) Royals, Lacroix (Kasztalan), 6:56. (5) SV, Tom Forti 3 (John Miller), 16:55.

THIRD PERIOD—(6) SV, Kit Hughes 1 (Forti), 9:32. (7) SV, Paul Baranzelli 6 (Hughes), 19:29, empty net goal.

GOALIES—SV, Gershater (5-1-0 season) and Moskos (part of the third period); Royals, Eric Danielson.

NOTES—Several Suns put their first points of the season on the board this weekend. Kit Hughes scored his first goal and it was a big one, giving the Suns a 2-goal lead in the third period. Caleb Baukol’s first goal issued the Suns a 2-1 lead in the first period. Rohan Verplank, Matt O’Hare and goalie Matt Gershater got their first assists this weekend….Goalie Gershater took three pucks in the head tonight. The third one laid him open, which caused Gershater to go briefly to the bench for medical attention. Moskos replaced him in the third period, but Gershater came back and finished the game….With their $1,000 winnings, the Suns gave $600 to their goalies to buy new masks and, according to player/coach Benson, "upgrade the goalies into the new millenium." And the team spent the rest. "People definitely made some money at the tables," said Benson….Leading the Royals was Randy Burridge, a 13-year NHL veteran. The Royals team is a new creation of Station Casinos, which this past fall began sponsoring a semi-professional "Extreme Hockey League" at the Santa Fe Station ice rink. Games are a Vegas-style entertainment with ice skating cheerleaders between periods. The Royals is a men’s senior team that compete for $1,000 per game against other teams from around the country. The first games were in early November against the Denver Tailgaters. Then, on Nov. 22-23, the Royals beat the Jackson Hole Moose 5-4 and 10-5, handing the visiting Moose their first losses of the season…..In October 2003, an ECHL expansion team called the Las Vegas Wranglers will bring professional hockey to Las Vegas.



2002-03 Sun Valley Suns
Season statistics

(6-2 overall: 5-1 home, 1-1 away)

as of January 22, 2003


Luke Smith 7 9 8 17 29.0
Vilnis Nikolaisons   8 6 6 12 4.0
John Stevens 8 5  7 12 10.0
Frank Salvoni 8 6 5 11 0.0
Paul Baranzelli 8 6 5 11 8.0
Eric Demment 7 4 7 11 15.0
Tom Forti 6 3 7 10 0.0
Scott Winkler 7 3 5 8 2.0
Chris Benson 7 2 5 7 14.0
John Miller 6 2 5 7 11.0
Ivars Muzis   8 2 3 5 24.0
Scott Carmack     6 2 2 4 6.0
Ben Stauffer 4 2 2 4 6.0
Kit Hughes     6 1 1 2 2.0
Perry Smiley 7 0 2 2 2.0
Mike Selhay 4 0 2 2 7.0
Caleb Baukol 8 1 0 1 4.0
Matt Gershater 7 0 1 1 6.0
Matt O’Hare 6 0 1 1 0.0
Rohan Verplank 6 0 1 1 6.0
Ben Niemela 8 0 0 0 13.0
Jamie Ellison 1 0 0 0 2.0
Kris Webster 2 0 0 0 0.0
James Moskos     2 0 0 0 0.0
David Stone 2 0 0 0 0.0



Matt Gershater  6 15 5-1-0 2.50
James Moskos  0.5 4 0-1-0 8.00
David Stone  1.5 7 1-0-0 4.67

Shots—Gershater 192, Stone 55, Moskos 33. Shutouts—0.



Opposition  6 13 6 1 26 3.3
Sun Valley  15 19 20 0 54 6.8



Two-goal games (10)—Luke Smith 2, John Stevens 2, Chris Benson 1, Vilnis Nikolaisons 1, Frank Salvoni 1, Eric Demment 1, Scott Winkler 1, John Miller 1.

Hat tricks or more (3)—Luke Smith 1 (4 goals), Paul Baranzelli 1, Frank Salvoni 1.

Game-winning goals—0.

Power play goals (8-29, 28%)—Eric Demment 2, Paul Baranzelli 1, John Stevens 1, Vilnis Nikolaisons 1, Chris Benson 1, Frank Salvoni 1, Ivars Muzis 1. Power play goals (opposition): 10-48, (21%).

Shorthanded goals (4)—Scott Winkler 2, Luke Smith 1, Vilnis Nikolaisons 1. Shorthanded goals (opposition): 3.

Season penalty minutes: SV 180, opponents 167.




Total record: 6-2

Record in 1-goal games: 0-1
Record in overtime: 0-1-0

Games scoring 9 or more goals: 3
Games scoring 7 or more goals: 3

December 20 (H) Boise Blades 3, Sun Valley 2 (OT)
December 21 (H) Sun Valley 6, Boise Blades 1
December 27 (H) Sun Valley 9, Portland Czechs 3
December 28 (H) Sun Valley 16, Portland Czechs 6
January 3 (H) Sun Valley 6, Richtone Painting 1
January 4 (H) Sun Valley 9, Richtone Painting 3
January 17 (A) Las Vegas Royals 7, Sun Valley 1
January 18 (A) Sun Valley 5, Las Vegas Royals 2


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