Suns show Moose who’s
Emotional 9-2 win
sets the tone
Express Staff Writer
Valley Suns established a couple of things last weekend during their
well-played two-game series with arch-rival Jackson Hole Moose.
Suns and Moose didn’t much care for each other in last weekend’s
hotly-competitive series. But opponents T.J. Thomas, 26, of Eveleth, Minn.
(left) and first-year Suns center Tom Forti, 23, of Hibbing, Minn. had a
friendly contest going all weekend—winning faceoffs for beers. Express
photo by Willy Cook
all, the Suns are deeper in forwards and defensemen and have two solid
goalies and are simply the better hockey team in 2002.
emotional 9-2 Suns victory Friday was a great celebration at Sun Valley
Skating Center. Seven different Suns poured in goals as the Suns silenced
the trash-talking Moose 8-1 in the second and third periods.
Only a hot
goalie, big 6-2, 220-pound Minnesotan Ross Boldt, stood between the Suns
and a weekend sweep Saturday. Jackson Hole preserved a 2-0 second-period
lead and won 2-1 as Boldt (44 saves) stopped 21 of 22 shots in the third.
dominated. Even though we lost, we out-shot them two-to-one. That says a
lot about our team. Their goalie stood on his head—and a hot goalie can
control the game," said Suns captain Chris Benson.
notable thing about the weekend was the crowd support. Banging the plexi-glass,
responding to important faceoffs and bringing down the house when goals
were scored, home fans loved the Suns.
crowd of 600 (400 paid) was the best of the season, exceeding the New Year’s
Eve weekend against the Seattle Indians. Saturday was nearly as good, with
noise of the crowd is definitely beneficial when we’re out there
playing," said Benson.
the Suns (15-1) had their franchise record 22-game winning streak snapped
by the Moose (15-4) Saturday, they accomplished their major goal—beating
had lost eight consecutive games to the Moose by a 63-35. But the Idaho
sextet turned the tide last weekend—outscoring the Moose 10-4,
outshooting them 90-53 and out-pointing the Moose 28-9.
killing off three Moose power-play chances in Friday’s first period and
settling for a 1-1 tie, the Suns exploded for three power-play goals and a
5-2 lead in the second. When it was over, the Suns had scored seven
were barely able to get the puck out of their zone because of relentless
fore-checking by the Suns.
said, "We had a 2-1-2 forecheck and banged them as much as we could.
With the zone coverage we were able to cover their wings so our defensemen
could step up. And a couple of bounces went our way."
Stevens scored two big second-period goals before being tossed out of the
game. His replacement, Ben Stauffer, scored two in the third—after Ivars
Muzis set the stage with an early shorthanded goal.
Winkler, a Sun Valley junior hockey product, made significant
contributions with a power play goal in the second period and a
penalty-killing steal that led to the Muzis shorthanded goal in the third.
A total 79
penalty minutes were whistled Friday and Moose goalie Marc Morningstar, a
former Suns player, was ejected for third-man-in.
going 0-8 against them the last couple of years, they had been doing a lot
of rapping," said Benson about the Moose. "They weren’t doing
a lot of rapping Friday night."
prevailed Saturday because of former Warroad Lakers goalie Boldt and also
because of Jackson’s ability to neutralize the first forward line of
Vilnis Nikolaisons, Jamie Ellison and Luke Smith.
last skated for the Suns at the Utah Winter Games Jan. 6, had been tied up
with business in Park City, where he lives. He wasn’t the same Smith who
scored 8 goals in his first seven games.
hands were stony," said Benson. "That line definitely had their
mustered virtually no offense and spent much of Saturday’s game in a
defensive shell, icing the puck and trying to ice the game. Two of Jackson’s
four goals were a direct result of bad Suns clearing passes. "We made
some bad decisions that gave them a few goals," said Benson.
Kris Webster broke up the shutout when he took a centering pass from
center Tom Forti and beat Boldt with four minutes left.
five-year rivalry, the Moose still lead 11-6-1 but the Suns will have a
chance to cut into that when they visit Jackson Hole March 22-23.
Suns go to the USA Hockey national tournament in Wisconsin in April?
Definitely not, Benson said, but maybe next year.
we’re trying to get ahead this year and if we get a good return of our
players for next year, we will go, but we’ll know before the beginning
of the season," he said.
added, "We’ll be doing well if we can average 300 fans for our
final 12 home games."
have this weekend off, and resume Feb. 15-16 against the Michigan Jets—the
first of four straight weekend series.
see any reason why we shouldn’t sweep all four series," said
Benson. "We’re playing fundamentally sound hockey."
Express web site for updated season statistics and a more complete hockey
summary from last weekend.