Coach Tim Jeneson and his Sun Valley Youth Hockey high school hockey team felt positive about the outcome of last weekend’s Sun Valley Midget (ages 15-18) home tourney at Sun Valley Skating Center.
Sun Valley won its first three games of the three-day, eight-team meet by a 12-6 margin and earned a berth in Sunday’s championship game against the reigning state high school champions representing Bishop Kelly of Boise.
In the finale, the Midget Suns were six minutes away from upsetting Bishop Kelly 1-0 when a Knights’ power-play goal by Sam Goodman equalized the score 1-1 and forced what became a scoreless four-minute 4-on-4 overtime period.
The outcome went into a three-player shootout to decide the title. Goodman was the first shooter for Boise, and he made his shot. Knights goalie David Troyer, a star lacrosse attacker in the spring, made two saves and the Suns couldn’t score on their third and final attempt.
Bishop Kelly prevailed 2-1 for first place, with the host Midget Suns taking second.
Jeneson said, “That’s the best we’ve played all year. Last month we lost our first game 7-0 so it’s good to see the hard work the kids have put in over the last month is paying dividends.
“We’re 6-2 in our last six games including the 2-1 loss to Idaho Falls over Thanksgiving and the overtime loss to Bishop Kelly. Idaho Falls is a good team, and Bishop Kelly won it all last year (Idaho Amateur Hockey Association champions).”
Jeneson added, “You can’t play it any closer. The kids are starting to believe in themselves. I like their attitude. And they love the game.”
Notching 19 of the 27 Suns points for four games was the first forward line of senior center/team captain Gus Conrad (5 goals/1 assist) along with senior left wing/assistant captain Riley Sibbach (1 goal/5 assists) and right wing Erik Wilander (4 goals/3 assists).
But youth is the watchword for Sun Valley this season. “This is a young team with only three seniors,” said Jeneson, who stayed with his three-line rotation for most of the third period while Bishop Kelly was relying on 10 skaters, or two lines.
Roger Figge scored the Suns goal, assisted by Jack Seiller and Dylan Broman, with five minutes left in the 15-minute second period.
In the third period Jeneson was happy with the spark provided by the third line of left wing Sam Ruddell, center George Everitt and right wing Logan Robideaux. They fore-checked with desire until Ruddell nearly scored an insurance goal.
“What a bonus that was!” said Jeneson.
Bishop Kelly pressure on the power play with 5:49 left in the third period caused the puck to pop loose to Goodman, positioned right in front of the net. He made no mistake for a 1-1 tie, assisted by Dylan Schwenkfelder and Henry Liao.
Figge had two strong chances for the game winner in the sudden death OT, but Troyer (27 saves) was equal to both shots. Suns goalie Willis Sanchez-duPont finished with 23 saves. For the tournament Sanchez-duPont stopped 102 of the 109 shots he faced.
Sun Valley opened its quest Friday with a 2-1 win over Bonneville/Hillcrest of Idaho Falls. Conrad opened the scoring in the second, assisted by Wilander. Third-period insurance came from Wilander (Sibbach) and Sanchez-duPont ended up with 33 saves.
The Suns enjoyed a quick start in a 6-3 win over Salmon Saturday morning. Goals by George Everitt (unassisted), Sibbach (Wilander, Conrad) and Wilander (shorthanded) made it 3-0 in an eight-minute span of the first stanza.
Kyle Furlong (unassisted) scored in the second period and the home team carried a 4-1 lead into the second intermission. Wilander (Logan Robideaux, Hagan Barsch) and Conrad (Sibbach) on the power play made it 6-3 in the third.
The outcome sent the Suns into Saturday night’s game against Skyline of Idaho Falls in a match-up of unbeaten teams in their pool. Skyline had beaten Salmon 7-1 and Bonneville/Hillcrest 3-1.
Yet a quick goal by Wilander (from assistant captain Jack Swanson) 12 seconds into the pivotal game put the Suns ahead 1-0. Skyline tied it 1-1 in the second on a goal by captain Nick Neddo, then Conrad (Sibbach) made it 2-1 with 1:52 left. Skyline tied the game 2-2 on Alex Peterson’s goal late in the period.
The Suns ended up winning 4-2 on third-period goals by Conrad (Sibbach, Wilander) on a power play, with the hat trick going to Conrad (Sibbach) three minutes later. Sanchez-duPont (22 saves) stopped all 11 Skyline shots in the third.
The outcome gave the Suns a ticket to the final with Bishop Kelly.
Jeneson plans to take a short squad to Missoula, Mt. for post-holiday games Dec. 27-29. He’ll use the team’s depth since several players will be away for the holiday.
Here are game results from last weekend. Check the Dec. 18 Local Life edition for a team photo and other shots from last weekend’s tournament:
Friday, Dec. 13: Sun Valley 2-1 over Bonneville/Hillcrest; Skyline 7-1 over Salmon; Timberline/Boise 3-2 over Idaho Falls.
Saturday, Dec. 14: Skyline 3-1 over Bonneville/Hillcrest; Sun Valley 6-3 over Salmon; Bishop Kelly 4-3 over Idaho Falls; Timberline/Boise 5-2 over Eagle/Rocky Mtn.; Salmon 5-2 over Bonneville/Hillcrest; Bishop Kelly 2-2 tie with Timberline/Boise; Idaho Falls 4-0 over Eagle/Rocky Mtn.; Sun Valley 4-2 over Skyline.
Sunday, Dec. 15: Bishop Kelly 7-1 over Eagle/Rocky Mtn. Final top points—Sun Valley 6 points, Boise and Bishop Kelly 5 points apiece, Skyline 4 points.
Playoff games: Eagle (#4 Pool B) 5-3 over Bonneville/Hillcrest (#4 Pool A); Idaho Falls (#3 Pool B) 6-3 over Salmon (#3 Pool A); Timberline/Boise (#2 Pool B) 5-1 over Skyline (#2 Pool A) with 2 goals apiece by Kody Thomas/Kohl Schoensee.
Championship: Bishop Kelly (#1 Pool B) 1-1 (OT) (1-0 shootout) over Sun Valley (#1 Pool B). Goals by Sam Goodman of BK (2) and Roger Figge (SV).