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

Wednesday — March 17, 2004


Suns jell, whip
the Moose 7-4

Goalie Thomson sparkles
against Jackson Hole

Goalie Ryan Thomson was immense, and the Sun Valley Suns jelled as a team.

"It just goes to show what a hot goalie can do for a team," said Sun Valley Suns coach Chris Benson after Friday’s 7-4 home hockey win over arch-rival Jackson Hole Moose at Sun Valley Skating Center.

Ryan Thomson, Sun Valley Suns goalie, stops another Moose attack Saturday night at Sun Valley Skating Center. Express photo by Willy Cook

Thomson stopped 47 of 51 Moose shots—and saved all 16 Moose shots in the third period—as the Suns (10-8) snapped a five-game losing streak to the Moose with a dominating team effort.

Benson said, "Ryan had an awesome game."

Up front, center Luke Smith scored two goals in the first period, John Stevens buried a tricky change-up in the second then Tom Forti and Chris King added third-period goals to keep the Moose (17-5) at bay.

Eleven different Suns players had assists and the Sun Valley defense was exemplary. Benson said, "It was a good, balanced game by everyone. We were sound defensively, and everyone gave honest, 100% effort. Nice to get some bounces for a change, too."

Thomson summed up the Suns feeling, saying afterwards, "It was our biggest win of the season by far. If we hadn’t beaten Jackson tonight, we probably wouldn’t have beaten them at all this season."

Entering the two-game series, the Moose had easily handled the Suns four times this season by a combined 27-7 margin. They out-shot the Suns again Friday night, but Thomson was steady in the net.

Thomson, fully recovered from a torn groin and abdominal muscle injury he suffered in January, said, "I felt on top of the game for the first time in a while. Everybody stepped up and played their roles tonight.

"Our defense kept the lanes open for me and took away as many chances as they could."

Leading the way on defense was first-year blueliner Chris Warrington from Rhode Island. Not only did
Warrington lead a close-checking effort that generally stopped the Moose in the neutral zone, he set up a big goal.

After the Moose sliced the 4-2 Suns lead to 5-4 after two periods, the Suns needed some insurance for the third. Warrington carried the puck into the corner of the Moose defensive zone, held it nicely and looked for the perfect pass.

He made it, sliding the puck to Frank Salvoni in the slot. Salvoni ripped a shot on goal and Tom Forti cashed in on the rebound for a 6-4 game. Warrington said, "I stepped up in the zone, tried to keep it in, saw Frank and got it to him, then Forti cleaned up."

Warrington added, "Everyone played well—three lines, three sets of defensemen all going strong. Our defense clamped it down in the third, playing inside out from the front of the net to the point. We were clicking on all cylinders."

Providing the final goal was Paul Baranzelli. He skated into the Moose zone, arriving at the same spot as Warrington had been, and cranked up a hard slapper that tested Moose goalie Marc Morningstar. Chris King flew in and poked home the rebound for his fifth goal of the season and the 7-4 final.

The Moose out-shot the Suns 51-35 for the game but Sun Valley made the most of its chances. Also scoring goals Vilnis Nikolaisons (shorthanded) and Eric Demment.

Saturday night, Thomson (34 saves) was nearly as good, but the Moose prevailed 5-2. It was actually a 3-2 game, but the Moose added two empty-netters in the final minute—the final one launched from some distance by goalie Morningstar.

Playing well on offense with 11 of the Suns’ 25 weekend points was the line of Ryan Enrico (3 assists), Luke Smith (3 goals, 1 assist) and Vilnis Nikolaisons (1 goal, 3 assists).

Game times for the upcoming Jackson Hole Moose series are Friday and Saturday, March 19-20 at 7:30 p.m. at Snow King Center in Jackson Hole. Unfortunately Thomson can’t make the trip because he’s taking an EMT class.

The Suns return home for series against the New England Wings March 26-27 and Connecticut Camels April 2-3 on Sun Valley ice.

Check the Express Web site for last weekend’s summary and updated Suns statistics. Also check this week’s Local Life for more hockey photos.


Series added at McCall

Newly added to the Suns schedule is a season-ending two-game set against the McCall Mountaineers Friday and Saturday, April 9-10 at Manchester Ice Centre in McCall.

A special promotion called the Hockey Fun Package has been offered by Super 8 Motel in McCall (208-634-4637). It includes two room nights at the Super 8 Motel, two lift tickets at Brundage Mountain and four ice rink tickets. Cost is $200. Reserve through April 4 by calling the motel.

In other news: Suns coach Benson reiterated that the recent coaching changes for Sun Valley came about through a long, thought-out process and through mutual agreement with former coach John Ellison Sr.

Ellison will continue to play an important role with the team, doing video tape analysis and working behind the scenes, Benson said.


Suns 7, Moose 4

Jackson Moose 2 2 0 4
Sun Valley Suns 4 1 2 7

FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Vilnis Nikolaisons 11 (Ryan Enrico, Eric Demment), 2:15, shorthanded goal. (2) Moose, Bryan Hannafin (unassisted), 4:09. (3) SV, Luke Smith 11 (Nikolaisons, John Stevens), 8:43. (4) SV, Demment 6 (Enrico, Smith), 11:03. (5) Moose, Hannafin (Chris DeMarco), 13:37. (6) SV, Smith 12 (Nikolaisons, Kit Hughes), 16:36.

SECOND PERIOD—(7) Moose, Hannafin (DeMarco), 3:48, hat trick goal. (8) SV, Stevens 6 (Chris King, Paul Baranzelli), 15:30. (9) Moose, Aaron Ackley (Hannafin, Joe Casey), 18:30.

THIRD PERIOD—(10) SV, Tom Forti 1 (Frank Salvoni, Chris Warrington), 3:23. (11) SV, King 5 (Baranzelli, Mike Selhay), 10:07.

SHOTS ON GOAL—For Jackson Hole Moose 19-16-16 for 51; for Sun Valley 12-11-12 for 35.

GOALIES—Jackson Hole Moose, Marc Morningstar (28 saves); SV, Ryan Thomson (47 saves, 5-2-0 season record).

OFFICIALS—Referee, Richard Winkler; linesmen, John Heinrich and Eric Wingard.

NOTES—The 7 goals scored tonight by the Suns equaled the total number of goals Sun Valley scored in its first four losses to the Moose this season, back in January…The big difference was goaltending, since the Moose outshot the Suns by a wide margin for the third straight series. In January, the Moose outshot the Suns 175-87 in four games. This weekend, the Moose outshot the Suns 92-66….Sun Valley got some help from the goaltender’s best friend, the pipes, early in the second period when the Moose applied a ton of pressure. The Moose cracked two pipes in the first 90 seconds and didn’t score. With 1:30 left in the period, Bryan Hannafin narrowly missed his fourth goal by clanging the puck off the pipe, but Aaron Ackley stuck home a loose puck cutting the Suns lead to 5-4. So, the Moose hit three pipes in the second and scored only once—then Ryan Thomson stopped all 16 Moose shots in the third. Thomson was particularly effective in the scrambles in front of the net. And the Suns defense was relentless in the third, jamming up the Moose in the neutral zone….Another key to the Suns win was a minimum of turnovers. The Moose is an opportunistic team that hurts you with a red light when you make a mistake, but the Suns didn’t make many….Suns forward lines were Ryan Enrico-Luke Smith-Vilnis Nikolaisons, Frank Salvoni-Tom Forti-John Stevens, Chris King-Paul Baranzelli-Pat Finnegan, with Caleb Baukol and J.J. Hanley rotating in. The defensive pairs were Ivars Muzis-Mike Selhay, Eric Demment-Chris Warrington, Josh Jacobson-Kit Hughes…..John Stevens got the best of a dandy scrap with Lee Cooper with four minutes left in the game. As he passed by the Suns bench on the way to the penalty box, Stevens accepted a line-up of High Fives.


Moose 5, Suns 2

Jackson Moose 1 1 3 5
Sun Valley Suns 1 0 1 2

FIRST PERIOD—(1) Moose, Bryan Hannafin (Josh Theken), 0:23. (2) SV, Paul Baranzelli 9 (Ryan Enrico), 14:03.

SECOND PERIOD—(3) Moose, Justin Martin (Adam Patterson), 4:41, power play goal.

THIRD PERIOD—(4) Moose, Gregg Gripentrog (Martin, Mike Sullivan), 11:05. (5) SV, Luke Smith 13 (Vilnis Nikolaisons), 11:20. (6) Moose, Joe Casey (unassisted), 19:11, empty net goal. (7) Moose, goalie Marc Morningstar (unassisted), 19:21, empty net goal.

SHOTS ON GOAL—For Jackson Hole Moose 11-18-12 for 41; for Sun Valley 10-7-14 for 31.

GOALIES—Jackson Hole Moose, Marc Morningstar (29 saves); SV, Ryan Thomson (36 saves, 5-3-0 season record).

OFFICIALS—Referee, John Olson; linesmen, John Heinrich and Eric Wingard.

NOTES—Suns goalie Ryan Thomson continued his superb goaltending in the first period. He surrendered a Bryan Hannafin goal 23 seconds into the game then was flawless for the next 40 minutes—except for an Adam Patterson shot from the point that took a weird bounce off the back boards and gave Justin Martin an open net for a power play goal early in the second period. Thomson made two great saves on Hannafin late in the first, then somehow got his glove on a screened Patterson shot from the point with three seconds left. Patterson just shook his head in admiration….The Moose have solid penalty killing units and the Suns (0-for-4 weekend) were never able to get their power play going…..Give a lot of credit to the Paul Baranzelli line with Chris King and Pat Finnegan. They didn’t have much to show for it, but they made something happen each time they were on the ice….Moose left wing Bryan Hannafin, playing on a line with Joe Casey and Josh Theken, has been a Suns killer in the three series between the teams this winter. Hannafin (a weekend-high 4 goals and 1 assist for 5 points) has 9 goals and 6 assists for 15 points in the six games, five won by the Moose…..The other two Moose lines were Gregg Gripentrog-Lee Cooper-Justin Martin, and Sam Lester-Ben Parkin-Ben Rahilly. Staying at home was forward T.C. Harris, who scored 4 goals during the 10-2 and 6-2 Moose sweep on Sun Valley ice Jan. 23-24….The Moose extended their lead to 20-9-1 in the seven-year series between the regional rivals, but Jackson Hole is 18-4 in the last five seasons, so victories have been few and far between for the Suns. On home ice, Sun Valley is 7-9 in the series….Sixth-year wing Vilnis Nikolaisons (97-160 for 257) and injured eighth-year center Jamie Ellison (101-167 for 268) have virtually identical Suns career scoring totals, ranking #6 and #8 on the all-time list…..Weekend scoring leaders for the Suns were wing Nikolaisons (1-3 for 4 points) and center Luke Smith (3-1 for 4). Another wing on their line, Ryan Enrico, had 3 assists, and Baranzelli ended up with 3 points.


2003-04 Sun Valley Suns
Season statistics

(10-8 overall: 8-6 home, 2-2 away)

as of March 17, 2004

 Vilnis Nikolaisons 18  11 16 27 4.0
 Ryan Enrico  18 9 16 25 14.0
 Luke Smith 18 13 9 22 11.0
 Paul Baranzelli 17 9 10 19 25.0
 Jamie Ellison 14 7 12 19 24.0
 Ivars Muzis  16 5 12 17 2.0
 Chris King 15 5 8 13 0.0
 John Stevens  17 6 6 12 19.0
 Eric Demment 11 6 5 11 10.0
 Pat Finnegan  17 5 6 11 9.0
 Chris Warrington 17 1 8 9 4.0
 Rohan Verplank 12 3 4 7 6.0
 John Miller  10 1 5 6 2.0
 Brian Watts  9 3 1 4 4.0
 Kris Webster  2 2 1 3 2.0
 Frank Salvoni 1 2 3 4.0
 Mike Selhay 0 3 3 15.0
 Caleb Baukol 16 1 1 2 8.0
 J.J. Hanley 13 1 1 2 0.0
 Chris Benson  13 1 1 2 2.0
 Tom Forti  2 1 0 1 2.0
 Matt Gershater  8 0 1 1 9.0
 Josh Jacobson 15 0 1 1 31.0
 Kit Hughes 1 0 1 1 0.0
 Ryan Thomson 10 0 0 0 0.0
 Peter Miner  3 0 0 0 0.0
 Paul Miner 0 0 0 0.0
 Kevin Bullock  2 0 0 0 2.0
 Billy Tryder 0 0 0 0.0
 James Moskos 1 0 0 0 0.0



 Ryan Thomson 8.6 35 5-3-0 4.07
 Matt Gershater 8 40 5-4-0 5.00
 James Moskos 1 7 0-1-0 7.00
 Bobby Farrelly 0.5 2 0-0-0 2.00


Shots—Thomson 290, Gershater 262, Moskos 41, Farrelly 14.
Saves—Thomson 255, Gershater 222, Moskos 34, Farrelly 12.
Shootout saves—0.
Shootout goals allowed
Empty net goals



Opposition  24 32 31 1 88 4.9
Sun Valley  26 26 39 0 91 5.1




Two-goal games (13)—Luke Smith 3, Jamie Ellison 2, Vilnis Nikolaisons 2, Paul Baranzelli 2, Ryan Enrico 2, Pat Finnegan 1, John Stevens 1.

Hat tricks or more (1)—Luke Smith 1 (4 goals).

Game-winning goals—Eric Demment 1.

Power play goals (14-55, 25%)—Vilnis Nikolaisons 3, Eric Demment 2, Luke Smith 2, Ivars Muzis 2, Paul Baranzelli 2, Ryan Enrico 1, John Miller 1, Brian Watts 1. Power play goals (opposition): 12-54, (22%).

Shorthanded goals (4)—Vilnis Nikolaisons 1, Ryan Enrico 1, Chris Warrington 1, Eric Demment 1. Shorthanded goals (opposition): 6.

Season penalty minutes: SV 209, opponents 232.




Total record: 10-8
Record in 1-goal games: 3-1
Record in overtime: 0-1-0
Games scoring 9 or more goals: 2
Games scoring 7 or more goals: 5

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
January 16 (A) Sun Valley 8, McCall Mountaineers 5
January 17 (A) Sun Valley 5, McCall Mountaineers 4
January 23 (H) Jackson Hole Moose 10, Sun Valley 2
January 24 (H) Jackson Hole Moose 6, Sun Valley 2
January 30 (A) Jackson Hole Moose 7, Sun Valley 2
January 31 (A) Jackson Hole Moose 4, Sun Valley 1
February 6 (H) Sun Valley 12, Bucks Furniture 8
February 7 (H) Sun Valley 5, Bucks Furniture 2
February 13 (H) Sun Valley 4, Midwest All-Stars 3
February 14 (H) Sun Valley 6, Midwest All-Stars 0
March 5 (H) McCall Mountaineers 7, SV 6 (OT)
March 6 (H) McCall Mountaineers 5, Sun Valley 2
March 12 (H) Sun Valley 7, Jackson Hole Moose 4
March 13 (H) Jackson Hole Moose 5, Sun Valley 2



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