Playing with a strong sense of purpose, the Sun Valley Suns senior men’s hockey team built a 3-1 lead and held off a solid Bozeman Stingers squad by a 4-3 score Saturday for a split of an evenly-played two-game series with the Montana guests on resort ice.
First-year Suns center Derek Grimes scored the final two goals of Saturday’s victory on perfectly executed passes by wing Spencer Brendel. Grimes’ first goal came shorthanded in the second period for a 3-1 lead. His second broke a 3-3 tie at the 12-minute mark of the third.
Suns goalie Ryan Thomson (41 saves Saturday, 79 saves weekend) preserved the 4-3 lead in the final eight minutes and got plenty of help from penalty killers Marty Flichel, Mike Curry, Ryan Enrico and Brendel in nullifying a Stingers power play threat in the final three minutes.
“That’s the first close game we’ve won all season,” said Suns coach John Burke, whose team yielded three unanswered goals in the third period and lost 8-6 Friday.
Burke added, “Bozeman has a good team, but we did a better job clearing the puck tonight. Coach Steve Morcone did a great job with our defense, and (16-year veteran blueliner) Ivars Muzis played fantastic for us back there.”
After being out-shot 46-39 by Bozeman Friday and committing 34 turnovers to Bozeman’s 21, Burke shook up the Suns forward lines Saturday.
He installed left wing Spencer Brendel with center Grimes and right wing Bryan O’Connell, and moved captain Ryan Enrico to the left wing with former pro hockey player Marty Flichel and ex-University of Minnesota-Duluth right wing Mike Curry.
Brendel had three assists Saturday, Grimes had two goals and O’Connell opened the scoring with his team-high 15th goal. Former Idaho Steelheads star Flichel tallied his third goal of the season giving the Suns a 2-0 lead in the first period, converting on assists by Enrico and Curry.
“I wanted to get a little more size up front with Rico (Enrico). Marty and Mike gave us that. Spencer is a worker, and I wanted to get him with Derek and OC,” said Burke, who has juggled a total 40 players in 16 games this season.
Brendel has made some of the best passes Suns fans have seen in many years this season, and he made two great ones for the win Saturday. On a two-on-one, he fed Grimes perfectly for the second-period shorthanded tally.
After Bozeman scored twice on goalmouth scrambles within two minutes early in the third period for a 3-3 tie, Brendel came up big again.
Two Stingers took Brendel into the boards hard to the right of Bozeman goalie Taylor D’Agostino, but Brendel still got a centering pass off to Grimes alone in the slot—and Grimes made no mistake.
Scoring their first goals of the season last weekend were former Boise Junior Steelheads skater Tyson Cox, rookie forward Chase Evangelista and Muzis. Cox was valuable centering the third line, playing with four sets of forwards, Burke said.
With the win, Sun Valley (7-9-0) gave itself a chance to finish with a .500 record for a second straight year. Last winter, the Suns needed to win their final four to close out an 11-11 campaign. This time around, they need two wins against the Park City (Utah) Pioneers March 14-15 to finish 9-9-0.
Suns Hockey Summary
stingers 8, suns 6
FRIday, february 28
|Sun Valley Suns
FIRST PERIOD—(1) Bozeman, Dan Mascoveta (Brett Cone, Ryan D’Agostino), 12:48.
SECOND PERIOD—(2) Bozeman, Mike Alport (Brandon Elkins, Conor Darby), 3:02. (3) SV, Tyson Cox 1 (Sinjin Thomas), 4:18. (4) Bozeman, Pete McLane (Mascoveta), 7:43. (5) SV, Spencer Brendel 12 (Doug Yeates, Mike Curry), 9:10. (6) SV, Bryan O’Connell 13 (unassisted), 10:36, penalty shot goal. (7) Bozeman, Alport (Taylor D’Agostino), 16:26. (8) Bozeman, Mascoveta (Ryan D’Agostino), 18:04.
THIRD PERIOD—(9) SV, O’Connell 14 (Marty Flichel, Derek Grimes), 5:31. (10) SV, Ivars Muzis 1 (Cox, Yeates), 5:43. (11) Bozeman, Elkins (unassisted), 11:25. (12) Bozeman, Craig Dufour (Mascoveta, Clancy O’Donnell), 14:07, power play goal. (13) Bozeman, Dufour (Ryan D’Agostino, Mascoveta), 14:49. (14) SV, Chase Evangelista 1 (Cox, Sinjin Thomas), 16:06.
SHOTS ON GOAL—Bozeman 19-12-15 for 46; Sun Valley 12-12-15 for 39.
GOALIES—Bozeman, Taylor D’Agostino (33 saves); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (38 saves, 6-9-0 record).
OFFICIALS—Tyler Hanson (referee), Bobby Noyes and Dave Patrie (linesmen).
HITS—Bozeman 10-9-9 for 28; Sun Valley 10-10-12 for 32.
FACEOFFS WON—Bozeman 8-11-7 for 26; Sun Valley 7-14-9 for 30.
TURNOVERS—Bozeman 8-6-7 for 21; Sun Valley 17-10-7 for 34 (Kurt Wenzell stats).
NOTES—Suns forward lines were Ryan Enrico-Mike Curry-Spencer Brendel, Marty Flichel-Derek Grimes-Bryan O’Connell, Max Kwok/Chase Evangelista-Tyson Cox-Sinjin Thomas. Defensemen were Ivars Muzis, Zak Greenawalt, Trevor Thomas, Drew Punnett, Doug Yeates and Blake Haggett. Back-up goalie was Steve Gibson…...Stingers forward Justin Cook, who helped bring Bozeman to Sun Valley starting last year, played 4 games with 1 goal and 3 assists for the Suns during the 2004-05 season. In that season Cook was then a 23-year-old from Hamilton, N.Y. and St. Anselm (N.H.) College……Stingers 5-11, 210-pound goalie Taylor D’Agostino played for Lake Forest College in 2012 and was also a netminder for the Bozeman Ice Dogs. Last March 1-2, D’Agostino made 68 saves in Bozeman’s 4-2 and 5-4 losses to the Suns on resort ice…..Bozeman’s 6-2, 200-pound defenseman Russ Dissly skated for Salem State in 2008…..Suns center Tyson Cox played for the Idaho Junior Steelheads and also for Worcester State College in NCAA Division 3 hockey…..Suns forward Chase Evangelista, 19, a 6-2, 180-pound newcomer to the Wood River Valley, played hockey for Marquette High School in Michigan and was a freshman for Liberty University’s club hockey team in Lynchburg, Va. this past winter, scoring 4 goals in 11 games for the ACHA Division 3 club.
suns 4, STINGers 3
SATURday, march 1
|Sun Valley Suns
FIRST PERIOD—(1) SV, Bryan O’Connell 15 (Spencer Brendel), 2:59. (2) SV, Marty Flichel 3 (Ryan Enrico, Mike Curry), 13:39. (3) Bozeman, Pete McLane (Clancy O’Donnell), 16:50.
SECOND PERIOD—(4) SV, Derek Grimes 11 (Brendel, Zak Greenawalt), 11:44, shorthanded goal.
THIRD PERIOD—(5) Bozeman, Chase D’Agostino (unassisted), 2:06. (6) Bozeman, McLane (Drew Coubrough, Brandon Elkins), 3:56. (7) SV, Grimes 12 (Brendel, O’Connell), 12:04, game-winning goal.
SHOTS ON GOAL—Bozeman 19-13-12 for 44; Sun Valley 15-7-12 for 34.
GOALIES—Bozeman, Taylor D’Agostino (30 saves); Sun Valley, Ryan Thomson (41 saves, 7-9-0 record).
OFFICIALS—Chris Benson (referee), Dave Patrie and Eric Wingard (linesmen).
HITS—Bozeman 3-6-6 for 15; Sun Valley 5-6-6 for 17.
FACEOFFS WON—Bozeman 8-10-6 for 24; Sun Valley 17-9-7 for 33.
TURNOVERS—Bozeman 9-12-10 for 31; Sun Valley 10-11-8 for 29 (Kurt Wenzell stats).
CRASH BALLOU’S TOP STARS—No. 1—Derek Grimes (SV, 2 goals). No. 2—Bryan O’Connell (SV, 1 goal, 1 assist). No. 3—Ivars Muzis (SV).
NOTES—Suns captain and 11th-year wing Ryan Enrico (130 goals, 167 assists for 297 points) is still within reach of the 300-point level this season, with two games remaining…..Tonight was the 891st Suns game over 39 seasons. The franchise record is 604-258-29…..Shut out on the scoresheet tonight, but still the weekend-high scorer was Stingers center Dan Mascoveta (2 goals, 3 assists for 5 points). Mascoveta, a bearded 5-10, 170-pounder from Chelsea, Vt., works as a timber framer for Big Timberworks Workers Coop in Gallatin Gateway, Mt. near Bozeman. He played 66 games with 10 goals and 32 points for the University of Vermont from 2008-11, earning the “Catamount Pride Award” in his final season of 201-11……Leading the Suns weekend scoring with 4 points apiece were Spencer Brendel (1 goal, 3 assists) and Bryan O’Connell (3 goals, 1 assist)…..Suns forward lines were Ryan Enrico-Marty Flichel-Mike Curry, Spencer Brendel-Derek Grimes-Bryan O’Connell, Max Kwok/Chase Evangelista-Tyson Cox-Sinjin Thomas. Defensemen were Ivars Muzis, Zak Greenawalt, Trevor Thomas, Drew Punnett, Doug Yeates and Blake Haggett. Back-up goalie was Steve Gibson….This weekend’s benefit was Sawtooth United F.C. youth soccer program…..Suns 16th-year defenseman Ivars Muzis (59 goals, 150 assists for 209 points) is two points away from tying Phil Hoene (89-122 for 211) for 16th place on the all-time Suns scoring list.