local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 public meetings

 last week

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 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 January 7 - 13, 2004


Suns, Blades take
turns as kingpins

With a weekend split, Idaho squads
are stuck on each other

Express Staff Writer

With the post-Christmas Celebrity All-Star Classic exhibition hockey game behind them, the Sun Valley Suns greeted 2004 and got down to business with two games against the Boise Blades before sizable crowds last weekend.

Eric Demment, Suns second-year defenseman, looks for skating room and a passing lane during Friday’s 7-4 Suns victory over the Boise Blades. Express photo by Willy Cook


This being the outpost of Sun Valley—way outside Providence and bedazzled by a New Year’s blizzard—the celebrities were still in the house.

A good example was Friday’s back-up goaltender for the Suns. He was Rhode Island’s Bobby Farrelly, half of the screenwriting and directing sibling partnership that gave us "Stuck on You," "Kingpin," "Dumb and Dumber," "Outside Providence," and "There’s Something About Mary."

Farrelly, who studied engineering at RPI in New York before making a career in low comedy, didn’t play but he left everybody wondering if there’s a Sun Valley-based "Slapshot" spin-off in the works.

Certainly a bigger hockey celebrity was Boise’s Cal Ingraham, who Sports Illustrated once called a bowling ball with legs. Ingraham was the leading goal scorer on one of college hockey’s great teams—the 1993 NCAA Division 1 champ Maine Black Bears (42-1-2).

All 5-4, 170-pound sniper Ingraham did Saturday was score three of the game’s final seven goals as Boise rallied from a 3-0 deficit and earned a weekend split with the host Suns 8-5.

John Miller, 11th-year Suns wing, earns admiration night-by-night because of how he keeps up with much younger players—and he also earned admiration from the way he dealt with the loss of his friend Tom Wernig and still played two tough hockey games last weekend. Express photo by Willy Cook

Coach Johnny Ellison’s Suns felt dumb and dumber about squandering a three-goal lead Saturday, but they felt like kingpins Friday with a solid 7-4 victory during which they peppered the Blades 59-29 in shots.

Ellison, in the wake of Sun Valley’s first loss, said, "We played five excellent periods of hockey and one terrible period. We have to play 60 minutes of solid hockey against a smart, disciplined team like Boise."

Bringing the discussion back down to earth, just as January brings Sun Valley’s Christmas rush crashing back to reality, the stars of Friday’s Suns victory were upstanding blue-collar workers Eric Demment on defense and Vilnis Nikolaisons on offense.

New Hampshire’s Demment, 26, and Latvia’s Nikolaisons, 29, accounted for one goal and three assists apiece and figured in five of the seven Suns goals. The Suns just wore down Boise with a four-goal third period.

"We came out fired up and played hard," said Demment. "We played a run-and-gun system that worked well against Boise’s trap. The trap gave our defensemen a lot more room so we could get a head of steam going."

All things considered, the weekend’s top star was probably Blades goalie Mark Liebich, who stopped 52 of 59 Suns shots Friday and made 48 more saves in leading the Blades to Saturday’s 8-5 come-from-behind win.

Liebich was the number-one goalie for the Air Force Academy back from 1988-90, where he forged alliances with current Blades teammates and then-Air Force mates Cal Ingraham (before he went off to his Maine success) and center Brett Gallagher.

Ryan Thomson, first-year Suns goalie, wasn’t tested as much as counterpart Mark Liebich of Boise, but Thomson (54 weekend saves) made his share of stops against Blades’ snipers. Express photo by Willy Cook

It took good scoring plays to beat Liebich, and the Suns created them Friday. Nikolaisons set up the first, stepping in front of a Blades cross-ice pass in the Suns defensive zone and hustling to piece together a bang-bang scoring play—across to Demment who then centered to Jamie Ellison.

Nikolaisons is the unseen mechanic who revs up the Suns offensive engine, which is what Villie did with a crafty breakout that hit the stick of center Ryan Enrico just inside the red line. Enrico skated in on a breakaway and made it 2-1 in the second period.

Suns fans have been waiting and waiting for second-year wing Rohan Verplank from Colorado to turn his potential into points. Verplank produced midway through the second, carrying the puck from right to left and beating Liebich with a backhand.

It was Verplank’s first Suns goal and he finished the weekend with four points, doubling last season’s output.

The game was tied 3-3 when Nikolaisons turned the tide almost single-handedly early in the third. He set up the Suns’ first power play goal of the season with a quick centering pass to brave John Miller, who scored from the crease. It was a tough weekend for Miller, who played despite the heartache of losing friend Tom Wernig.

Nikolaisons stole the puck from a Blades defenseman and poked it into the corner, unassisted, for a 5-3 game.

The sixth Suns goal was all Demment. He brought the puck in hard, from the right point, and put a testing backhand on Liebich. Then Demment hung around in the slot and buried a fine centering pass from Verplank.

Demment takes a little credit for enticing first-year teammates Chris Warrington and Chris King to Sun Valley this winter. Demment is paired with Warrington on defense, and their partnership has been productive.

"Chris has made some good rushes and so have I. We communicate real well and seem to be clicking. He and Chris King are nice additions," said Demment, who said that he and King had played against each other back East but were never on the same team.

Demment said, "I talked to Chris (King) this summer, and he said he was thinking about coming out West and going to Jackson Hole. I said, no, you’re not, I need a roommate! All three of us are roommates now."

King, 26, and 40-year-old Miller are wings on the speedy and voracious forward line centered by Enrico, who finished the Suns scoring Friday with his second goal of the game—taking a quick center from King, who had circled the net with tremendous speed.

Coach Ellison said Friday, "All four lines produced, there wasn’t a weak link out there. We played real good defensive hockey. When opportunities arose, we scored. Having four lines wore them out. The altitude was in our favor as well, and Boise (nine on the bench) was short of players."

Saturday was a different story.

"Boise wasn’t too happy with Friday’s game," said Demment Saturday. "They still didn’t have a lot of legs tonight, but they played real smart. They got that two-goal lead. Lord knows we had tons of opportunities, but their goalie played well. We fired the pill—he was just stopping them."

Defensemen Paul Baranzelli and Kris Webster gave the Suns a 2-0 first-period lead, then Nikolaisons made it 3-0, from Miller, early in the second.

Then the Suns’ wheels fell off as Boise scored four unanswered goals in just under four minutes. Coach Ellison said, "After Boise got two goals, we panicked and started running around. It was a good wake-up call, though. We’ve got work to do."

Still, the Suns didn’t quit Saturday. Trailing 6-4, they out-shot the Blades 21-5 in the third period and pulled within one goal on a terrific passing play for a power play goal with less than three minutes left in the game.

Nikolaisons, the man with the plan, brought the puck into the zone and threw it behind the net. It swung out to Warrington on the left point, but the puck didn’t stay there long.

Warrington whipped it over to Demment on the right point. Demment got his marching orders. "I heard a Latvian voice telling me to shoot the puck," said Demment. He did. Nikolaisons tipped it past Liebich for the fifth and final Suns goal.

And it was the only shot the Suns got past Liebich in the third. Cal Ingraham, the kid who scored a school-record 46 goals playing with Hobie Baker winner Paul Kariya and center Jim Montgomery for Maine in 1993, sniped his hat trick goal for a 7-5 lead.

The Suns (3-1) have a week off, then travel to McCall’s new rink for a rematch with the Blades Jan. 16-17. The two teams seem like they’re joined at the hip, stuck on each other, since they will have played three times for six games since mid-December.

Coach Ellison doesn’t mind. "Friday night was a great game. I’d rather play a good team," he said.

Check the Express Web site for updated Suns season statistics. And check today’s Local Life for photos from the Dec. 26 Celebrity All-Stars exhibition.



Suns 7, Blades 4

Boise Blades 0 3 1 4
Sun Valley Suns 1 2 4 7

FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Jamie Ellison 2 (Vilnis Nikolaisons, Eric Demment), 16:31.

SECOND PERIOD—(2) Boise, Troy Edwards (John Hill), 1:36, power play goal. (3) SV, Ryan Enrico 3 (Nikolaisons, Demment), 3:29. (4) Boise, Lee Svangstu (unassisted), 6:21. (5) SV, Rohan Verplank 1 (unassisted), 13:01. (6) Boise, D.W. Cook (Pepe Ursillo, Scott Davis), 15:40.

THIRD PERIOD—(7) SV, John Miller 1 (Nikolaisons, Demment), 3:31, power play goal. (8) SV, Nikolaisons 2 (unassisted), 6:16. (9) SV, Demment 2 (Verplank, Brian Watts), 12:46. (10) SV, Enrico 4 (Chris King), 14:42. (11) Boise, John Ursillo (unassisted), 19:46.

SHOTS ON GOAL—For Boise, 9-11-9 for 29; for Sun Valley 20-22-17 for 59.

GOALIES—Boise, Mark Liebich (52 saves); SV, Ryan Thomson (25 saves, 2-0-0 season record).

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

NOTES—The Suns went with four two forward lines and three sets of defensemen. They were Vilnis Nikolaisons-Jamie Ellison-Luke Smith, Chris King-Ryan Enrico-John Miller, Frank Salvoni-John Stevens-Chris Benson, Caleb Baukol-Brian Watts-Rohan Verplank. Defensemen were Eric Demment-Chris Warrington, Pat Finnegan-Paul Baranzelli, Ivars Muzis-Mike Selhay…Blades wing Rick Bourbonnais, 48, from Toronto, skated for the NHL St. Louis Blues from 1975-78 and also played five seasons for the Suns from 1987-92 (54 goals, 105 points)…..The Blades had several former Idaho Steelhead minor leaguers including Cal Ingraham and Lee Svangstu, 27, the big, 6-5, 245-pound wing who’s been a penalty minute leader everywhere from the Florida Everblades to the Medicine Hat Tigers….Ingraham’s Maine Black Bears rallied from a 4-2 hole to beat Lake Superior State 5-4 for the 1993 NCAA title. Ingraham finished with 90 goals for Maine from 1989-94. He started his college career at Air Force Academy, but wasn’t cut out for the military life and left a boatload of demerits behind him in Colorado.



Blades 8, Suns 5

Boise Blades 0 5 3 8
Sun Valley Suns 2 2 1 5

FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Paul Baranzelli 2 (Rohan Verplank, Pat Finnegan), 6:34. (2) SV, Kris Webster 2 (Jamie Ellison, Chris Warrington), 6:54.

SECOND PERIOD—(3) SV, Vilnis Nikolaisons 3 (John Miller), 1:22. (4) Boise, Pepe Ursillo (Brett Gallagher, Kelly Ursillo), 2:19. (5) Boise, Lee Svangstu (Cody Proctor, Scott Davis), 2:58. (6) Boise, Pepe Ursillo (Gallagher, Kelly Ursillo), 3:49. (7) Boise, Cal Ingraham (Rick Bourbonnais, John Ursillo), 6:11. (8) SV, Verplank 2 (Baranzelli), 17:29. (9) Boise, Svangstu (Davis, Troy Edwards), 19:59, power play goal.

THIRD PERIOD—(10) Boise, Cal Ingraham (John Ursillo, Bourbonnais), 3:10. (11) SV, Nikolaisons 4 (Eric Demment, Warrington), 17:27, power play goal. (12) Boise, Cal Ingraham (unassisted), 18:22, hat trick goal. (13) Boise, Proctor (unassisted), 19:51, empty net goal.

SHOTS ON GOAL—For Boise, 14-18-5 for 37; for Sun Valley 17-15-21 for 53.

GOALIES—Boise, Mark Liebich (48 saves); SV, Ryan Thomson (29 saves, 2-1-0 season record).

OFFICIALS—Referee, Richard Winkler; linesmen, Eric Wingard and Curtis Martin.

NOTES—For the weekend, Boise (18 penalty minutes) was 2-4 on the power play, while the Suns (10 penalty minutes) were 2-8…...Boise scored 4 goals in a span of 3:52 of the second period to erase an early 3-0 deficit….. Suns lines were Vilnis Nikolaisons-Jamie Ellison-Luke Smith, Chris King-Ryan Enrico-John Miller, Frank Salvoni-John Stevens-Chris Benson, J.J. Hanley-Caleb Baukol-Rohan Verplank. Defensemen were Eric Demment-Chris Warrington, Pat Finnegan-Paul Baranzelli, Kris Webster-Ivars Muzis…..The Blades distributed their scoring throughout the lineup, with the line of Cal Ingraham-Brett Gallagher-Rick Bourbonnais collecting 7 of the team’s 20 points tonight; the line of Pepe, Kelly and John Ursillo earning 6 points; and the line of Lee Svangstu-Cody Proctor-Dave Ingraham piling up another 4 points. Defensemen Scott Davis (2 assists) and Troy Edwards had the other points….Nikolaisons (3-3 for 6 points) and Demment (1-4 for 5) topped the Suns’ weekend scoring.



2003-04 Sun Valley Suns
Season statistics

(3-1 overall: 3-1 home, 0-0 away)


as of January 7, 2004

 Vilnis Nikolaisons 4 4 6 10 2.0
 Jamie Ellison 4 2 5 7 4.0
 Eric Demment 4 2 4 6 2.0
 Ryan Enrico 4 4 1 5 2.0
 Paul Baranzelli 4 2 2 4 8.0
 Rohan Verplank 4 2 2 4 2.0
 Pat Finnegan 4 1 3 4 0.0
 Chris Warrington 4 1 3 4 0.0
 Kris Webster 2 2 1 3 2.0
 Chris King 4 1 2 3 0.0
 John Miller 4 1 2 3 0.0
 Luke Smith 4 2 0 2 4.0
 Frank Salvoni 4 1 1 2 2.0
 Brian Watts 3 1 1 2 0.0
 John Stevens 4 1 0 1 4.0
 Mike Selhay 2 0 1 1 4.0
 Matt Gershater 1 0 1 1 2.0
 Caleb Baukol 4 0 0 0 4.0
 Ryan Thomson 3 0 0 0 0.0
 J.J. Hanley 3 0 0 0 0.0
 Ivars Muzis 2 0 0 0 0.0
 Chris Benson 2 0 0 0 0.0
 Josh Jacobson 1 0 0 0 7.0



Ryan Thomson  3 15 2-1-0 5.00
Matt Gershater 1 2 1-0-0 2.00

Shots—Thomson 95, Gershater 11.
—Thomson 79, Gershater 9.
Shootout saves
Shootout goals allowed
Empty net goals



Opposition  3 10 5 0 18 4.5
Sun Valley  9 7 11 0 27 6.8




Two-goal games (3)—Luke Smith 1, Ryan Enrico 1, Vilnis Nikolaisons 1.

Hat tricks or more (0)—0.

Game-winning goals—0.

Power play goals (2-11, 18%)—John Miller 1, Vilnis Nikolaisons 1. Power play goals (opposition): 3-15, (20%).

Shorthanded goals (3)—Ryan Enrico 1, Chris Warrington 1, Eric Demment 1. Shorthanded goals (opposition): 0.

Season penalty minutes: SV 49, opponents 39.




Total record: 3-1
Record in 1-goal games: 1-0
Record in overtime: 0-0-0
Games scoring 9 or more goals: 1
Games scoring 7 or more goals: 2

December 19 (H) Sun Valley 10, Portland Checks 2
December 20 (H) Sun Valley 5, Portland Checks 4
January 2 (H) Sun Valley 7, Boise Blades 4
January 3 (H) Boise Blades 8, Sun Valley 5



City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

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.