The number “3” was the number that counted Friday for the Sun Valley Suns senior men’s hockey team in the first of a two-game series with the Las Vegas (Nev.) Hookers.
Sun Valley officially retired the No. 3 jersey of George Gund III, their free-spirited “owner” and benefactor who was instrumental in building the Sun Valley indoor rink 39 years ago. Gund, 75, died of cancer Jan. 15 in Palm Springs, Ca.
To show their love and respect for Gund, over 30 Suns alumni dating back to players like Hermie Haavik and John Burke who played for the original team in 1975 shared a moment of silence with the crowd and current Suns and Hookers players before Friday night’s opening faceoff.
Meanwhile, Suns leading scorer Bryan O’Connell has made No. 3 his signature contribution since joining the Suns three seasons ago. O’Connell’s “3” shows up in the hat tricks he has scored—now 14 of them in his 37 games as a Suns wing.
With the outcome still in doubt and the Suns clinging to a 3-2 lead early in Friday’s third period, O’Connell made an outstanding individual play that turned the game around.
He fought through three Hooker defenders at the Las Vegas blue line for the sixth shorthanded goal of his career and a 4-2 Suns lead. O’Connell added one more goal for his fourth hat trick of the season and Suns rookie Jackson Morgus scored his first two Suns goals to round out the 7-2 win.
Suns head coach Steve Morcone had enough players to skate four forward lines Friday and, for the first time this season, had the services of 11th-year defenseman Eric Demment. He has been sidelined with symptoms of sciatica pain.
“Eric made a huge difference for us,” said Morcone. “He’s one of the most competitive players I’ve ever seen.”
Demment is an offensive-minded defenseman. Each of the four Suns forward lines picked up on his example and pressed the action. They out-shot Las Vegas 41-18 in the final two periods and 55-23 for the game. Tenth-year goalie Ryan Thomson (21 saves) earned his first win of the season.
Saturday’s game was a different story as the Suns (6-6-0) dropped their third overtime shootout of the season 8-6 to Las Vegas (4-4-0). Hookers forward Matt Hedderly, 22, from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas scored five goals including one of two shootout scores.
Second-year forward Ryan Kolquist tallied his first-ever hat trick to rally the Suns from 5-3 and 6-4 deficits and force the scoreless five-minute overtime during which the Suns outshot the Hookers 9-3. In the shootout, O’Connell hit the crossbar and teammate Jon Duval glanced his attempt off the post.
“Simple breakdowns,” said Morcone about a stretch of four unanswered Hookers goals—two on the power play—during a five-minute stretch of the second period. They erased an early 3-1 Suns lead forged by a pair of goals by O’Connell (21 in 12 games this season).
Las Vegas goalie Mike Katz, 29, from Los Angeles was a huge Hookers factor with 55 saves and 103 for the weekend.
For his hat trick effort, Kolquist was the first winner of the new “George Jacket” given to a player who distinguishes himself over the weekend. The old “George Jacket” named for Gund, first presented Jan. 18, 1992, was retired last weekend.
Farrelly’s skaters coming this weekend
Filmmaker Bobby Farrelly, 54, of Ketchum is bringing his East Coast skaters to Sun Valley Skating Center this weekend—renewing one of the Suns’ best rivalries. Morcone said Farrelly is bringing 25 players including 11 ex-National Hockey League skaters.
“They’re going to be good,” said Morcone. “They’re big, strong and have a lot more experience than we do. Our core of players is pretty beat up right now and we’re running pretty thin. Dr. Tony (team physician Buoncristiani) said he has seen more Suns injuries this year than he’s ever seen.”
O’Connell has been playing hurt with a sore ankle. Defenseman Danny Ward has a knee injury, and Scott Winkler suffered a head injury against Las Vegas. Also, Sinjin Thomas dislocated his shoulder.
Playing as South Shore Stumpgrinders last year, Farrelly’s squad split the series in the Saturday game winning 7-6 after dropping Friday’s opener 10-6. The two teams have met 14 times and the series is tied 7-7. There have been 190 goals scored in the 14 games for an average of 13.6 goals per game. And scoring by team is dead even. The Stumps have scored 95 goals, and the Suns have 95.
Game times are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26. Weekend benefit is the Park Penguins hockey program.
Morcone said Friday’s game will include another moment of silence to honor George Gund. Recreational hockey players, youth hockey players and others are invited to line up on the ice between the first and second periods in another tribute.
Suns Hockey Summary
suns 7, hookers 2
FRIday, JANUARY 18
Las Vegas Hookers2002
Sun Valley Suns1247
FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Bryan O’Connell 17 (Ivars Muzis), 7:01. (2) Las Vegas, Tim Mitchell 1 (Matt Hedderly), 10:30. (3) Las Vegas, David Smith 1 (unassisted), 18:52.
SECOND PERIOD—(4) SV, Chad Levitan 6 (Scott Winkler, Jamie Ellison), 6:15. (5) SV, Eric Demment 1 (Jackson Morgus), 7:09.
THIRD PERIOD—(6) SV, O’Connell 18 (unassisted), 1:25, shorthanded goal. (7) SV, Jackson Morgus 1 (Matt Ward, Bryan Winkler), 13:22. (8) SV, O’Connell 19 (Demment, Jon Duval), 14:54, hat trick goal. (9) SV, Jackson Morgus 2 (Bryan Winkler), 19:11.
SHOTS ON GOAL—Las Vegas 5-10-8 for 23; Sun Valley 14-21-20 for 55.
GOALIES—Las Vegas, Mike Katz (48 saves); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (21 saves, 1-1-0 record).
OFFICIALS—John Heinrich and Eric Wingard
NOTES—With the game still close in the second period, Suns goalie Ryan Thomson (69-33-0 career) came up big several times in the middle stanza to make sure Sun Valley carried a 3-2 lead into the final period. Midway through the second, Thomson stopped a David Smith breakaway on the Hookers power play……Among the 30-plus alumni were four from the first great Suns team, the 19-1-2 squad of 1976-77. They included Hermie Haavik (2nd-leading scorer behind Phil Hoene that season with 14 goals and 23 assists), Suns coach John Burke, Dick Nelson and goalie Charlie Holt……Boise’s Mark Broz patrolled the blue line for the Suns from 1978-85 and was a good friend of George Gund III. Broz became one of the oldest people to ever try the “Beat the Sun” contest during the second intermission. He one-timed a rising slapshot high off the plywood and accepted the accolades of the crowd for his effort. “We called that shot the ‘Broz clear’ when he was here,” said former teammate Burke afterward, referring to Broz’s tendency to clear the puck out of the zone with a whistling high shot……Suns forward lines were Doug Yeates-Jon Duval-Bryan O’Connell, Scott Winkler-Chad Levitan-Jamie Ellison, Jackson Morgus-Charles Friedman-Matt Ward, Blake King-Sinjin Thomas-Ryan Kolquist. Defensemen were Ivars Muzis, Rob Morgus, Danny Ward, Eric Demment and Blake Jenson in their first games of the season, and Bryan Winkler……Former Sun Valley Youth Hockey player Michael Reed played on the wing for Las Vegas….Hookers forward lines were Reed-David Smith-Ryan Bahl, Matt Hedderly-Sebastian Galas-Paul Kaztelan, Jameson Peacock-Patrick Bailey-Jack Kim. Defensemen included Tim Mitchell, Justin Silver, Todd Brautigam…..The Hookers didn’t bring their leading scorers, forwards Cody Incollingo (15 goals, 6 assists in 6 games) and Jeff Hazelwood (5-10 for 15 points). Incollingo, 21, from Philadelphia played Midget hockey for the Boston Junior Rangers and had junior stints in New Mexico and New Jersey, among other places. Hazelwood, a collegiate skater for Curry College who comes from California, played for the CHL Arizona Sundogs….The Hookers have split each of their four 2-game series this season. On Nov. 16-17 at their home Sobe arena, they beat the Rebels of Salt Lake 9-6 Friday night and lost the Saturday game 11-5. On Dec. 28-29 at Park City, they defeated the Pioneers 8-4 Friday and lost 13-3 Saturday. On Jan. 4-5 at home against the Aspen (Colo.) Leafs, they won over Aspen 11-10 Friday and lost 7-6 in double overtime Saturday…….The #3 George Gund jersey that the Suns officially retired last weekend was hanging behind the Suns bench all weekend. Burke said, “That was John Stevens’ number, and he consented to retire the No. 3 jersey.”….Ironically, the “George Jacket” was first formally awarded Jan. 18, 1992, 21 years to the day from tonight’s game. The “jacket” officially dates back to the winter season of 1990-91 when Suns players searched for an appropriate gift to show their appreciation to long-time benefactor Gund. Harry Weekes found a black, red and white leather jacket from a Chicago Black Hawks merchandise dealer. Suns players eliminated the Black Hawks logo, replaced it with Suns logo and gave it to Gund, who proudly wore it around the world as the new owner of the San Jose Sharks NHL franchise. It was decided to award the jacket to an appropriate recipient at the conclusion of each Suns two-game series. The recipient’s name and date of enshrinement would be added to the jacket each time. Doing the voting on the winner of the “George Jacket” are members of the Suns 10/30 Club, team members who have logged 10 years or more of Suns service and who are at least 30 years old. The player who earns the jacket must wear it in public—day or night, rain or shine—for the following week…..Professional golf caddie Burke is traveling this week to work for 31-year-old pro golfer Chez Reavie of Kansas at the Farmers Insurance Open tournament at Torrey Pines near San Diego. Reavie, a Wichita native and resident of Scottsdale, Az. who competed for Arizona State, has won $4.9 million in his nine-year professional career with eight top-10s in 132 pro events. He won the 2008 Canadian Open and was No. 10 in the FedExCup playoffs two seasons ago. Last year Reavie, whose first name is a take-off on his middle name Chesley, won $580,617 and placed #132 in the FedExCup standings. So he had to finish high enough in the PGA Tour qualifying tournament, which he did tied for 22nd place, to regain his tour card for 2013. Burke is entering his 26th year as a pro golf caddie. At age 62, he said he is the second-oldest caddie on the tour, behind only 37-year pro caddie Mike “Fluff” Cowan from Winslow, Maine, who was the first caddie for Tiger Woods.
hookers 8, suns 6 (OT shootout)
friday, january 19
Las Vegas Hookers14128
Sun Valley Suns22206
FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Danny Ward 4 (Doug Yeates, Bryan O’Connell), 8:43. (2) SV, O’Connell 20 (Yeates, Bryan Winkler), 14:02. (3) Las Vegas, Matt Hedderly 4 (unassisted), 18:43.
SECOND PERIOD—(4) SV, O’Connell 21 (Yeates, Trevor Thomas), 11:14. (5) Las Vegas, Hedderly 5 (Sebastian Galas, David Smith), 14:07, power play goal. (6) Las Vegas, Hedderly 6 (Justin Silver, Ryan Bahl), 15:19, power play and hat trick goal. (7) Las Vegas, Galas 1 (Bahl), 17:40. (8) Las Vegas, Bahl 4 (Hedderly, Todd Brautigam), 18:02. (9) SV, Ryan Kolquist 1 (Chad Levitan, Ivars Muzis), 19:07, power play goal.
THIRD PERIOD—(10) Las Vegas, Hedderly 7( unassisted), 0:19, shorthanded goal. (11) SV, Kolquist 2 (Jackson Morgus, Trevor Thomas), 13:07. (12) SV, Kolquist 3 (Scott Winkler, Trevor Thomas), 17:55, hat trick goal.
OVERTIME (5 minutes, 4-on-4)—No scoring.
OVERTIME SHOOTOUT—(13) Las Vegas, Hedderly 8. (14) Las Vegas, Jack Kim 4, game-winning goal.
SHOTS ON GOAL—Las Vegas 7-13-10-3-3 for 36; Sun Valley 17-16-17-9-2 for 61.
GOALIES—Las Vegas, Mike Katz (55 saves); Sun Valley, Cody Levitan (28 saves, 5-5-0 record).
OFFICIALS—Chris Benson and John Heinrich.
NOTES—Tonight’s three-player shootout featured five out of possible six shooters. Las Vegas’ David Smith went first and Cody Levitan made the save. Bryan O’Connell had been batting clean-up in the other shootouts this season, but he went first this time and cranked one off the crossbar, no good. Hedderly of the Hookers took an extreme angle from the right wing on Levitan and scored for Las Vegas. Duval hit the post with a low shot, then Las Vegas’ Jack Kim took an extreme left wing angle on Levitan and scored the game winner. Chad Levitan, who has scored two shootout goals this season, was slated to shoot third for the Suns but didn’t get a chance…..With his 2 assists this weekend, 15th-year Suns defenseman Ivars Muzis (0 goals, 10 assists this winter) moved over 200 career Suns points with 57 goals, 144 assists for 201 points and slipped past coach John Burke (89-111 for 200) into 19th place on the all-time Suns scoring list….Leading scorer Bryan O’Connell (21 goals, 5 assists) now has 64 goals and 33 assists for 97 points in just two-plus seasons with the team. He is bidding to become the 47th Suns player to surpass 100 career points. Of his 64 goals, 7 have come on the power play and 6 shorthanded…..Having played no overtime games last season, the Suns have now played 3 overtimes in 12 games this season and have lost all three in shootouts. Tenth-year Suns goalie Ryan Thomson (69-33-0), Friday’s winning goalie, had played in goal in 19 of the last 22 overtime games with a 10-9-0 OT record. Thomson last played OT losing 1-0 to Missoula Cutthroats Feb. 11, 2011. Sun Valley’s last OT win came in a 9-8 shootout victory over Bobby Farrelly’s East Coast Gutter Snipes in the 2011 Suns season finale. Billy Cook was the winning goalie in that game……The Suns are now 35-33-20 in 88 overtime games over 38 seasons. They are 8-14 in 22 shootouts since 1998…..….There have been 25 game-winning OT scorers in Suns history and 7 were in the house for Friday’s George Gund salute. They were Jamie Ellison, Kurt Wenzell, Bryan O’Connell, Eric Demment, Dale Johnson, Mark Broz and Terry Heneghan……The Suns skated with 3 fewer players tonight compared to Friday, missing Eric Demment, Sinjin Thomas, Blake Jenson and Jamie Ellison, and adding Trevor Thomas, who didn’t skate Friday. So the three Suns forward lines were Jackson Morgus-Charles Friedman-Blake King, Doug Yeates-Jon Duval-Bryan O’Connell, Scott Winkler-Chad Levitan-Ryan Kolquist. By the third period, Duval was playing regularly on defense, with Chad Levitan moving up to center Yeates and O’Connell. Other defensemen were Danny Ward, Bryan Winkler, Ivars Muzis and Trevor Thomas, with Matt Ward skating an occasional shift at forward…..Suns coach Steve Morcone wore the old “George Jacket” this weekend, earning the honor after skating with the Suns team in a Friday night scrimmage Jan. 11 when the Missoula Cutthroats canceled their visit to Sun Valley for a weekend series. Morcone had won the “George Jacket” once before, when he took over the coaching job midway through last season. He was the last recipient of the original “George Jacket” before it was officially retired after last weekend’s games, replaced by a new one that was awarded to Ryan Kolquist. Before tonight, Kolquist had scored only 1 goal and 1 assist in eight Suns games. He was sidelined by a concussion earlier this season. Morcone said, “Ryan played on our fourth line Friday night, but we ran only three forward lines tonight and we gave him a chance to skate with Scotty Winkler and Chad Levitan. It was like, he wanted to show us what he could do and, bingo, a hat trick.”…….Morcone added about the Suns weekend effort, “We looked like world beaters Friday night and for the first period Saturday. Las Vegas hardly got the puck out of its zone for the first 10 minutes Saturday. Then we started taking penalties and started getting away from our system. We had simple breakdowns and our guys started pressing. Their goalie (Hookers backstop Mike Katz) came up big, but it doesn’t do a lot for the confidence of our young goalie Cod yLevitan when we have simple breakdowns like we did.”….The Suns wasted a 4-on-3 power play opportunity in the five-minute overtime period…..Goalie Levitan made 3 great saves. He stopped a Matt Hedderly breakaway in the second period. In the overtime stanza, Levitan denied a David Smith slapshot on a 2-on-1, and stopped another 2-on-1 on a pass from Jack Kim to Patrick Bailey….