Suns' Mike Curry

Mike Curry and the Suns will return after the holiday hiatus to welcome the Santa Rosa Growlers of Santa Rosa, California.

With over two weeks off since their last series, the Sun Valley Senior A Elite men’s hockey team will get back on the ice this weekend (Jan. 7-8) as the Suns welcome the Santa Rosa Growlers of California to the Campion Ice House in Hailey on Friday and Saturday nights.

This will be the first matchup between the two clubs. While the Suns (4-2) are well into their season, the Growlers have played only one game thus far against serious competition, a 4-3 win over the Reno Ice Raiders back on Oct. 30. Despite the short record, Santa Rosa is not to be overlooked: The Growlers finished the 2020-21 season with a 12-0-1 record.

Suns head coach Ryan Enrico said the Growlers present an exciting challenge.

“It seems like [the Growlers] are a lot like us,” Enrico said. “They skate together regularly and practice quite a bit. This should be interesting, because they’re a team with chemistry as opposed to a team that only plays together when games are played.”

The layover between games gave the Suns to catch their breath and heal from some physical matchups. Max Tardy (13 points), Spencer Brendel (7 points) and Mike Curry (7 points) will lead the Suns.

Forward and leading scorer Nick Curry is still out from an upper-body injury he sustained against the Jackson Hole Moose on Dec. 18.

“It was nice having some extra time off,” Enrico said. “We have some guys who have healed up or a lot further along, which is always nice. Our guys are progressing nicely.”

So far this season, the Suns have had impressive play at the net from both their goalies, Bobby Bowden (2-2) and Matt Cooper (2-0). Bowden leads the team with 125 saves and Cooper has 60.

Some of the Growlers people should get to know are veteran players, like goalies Dom Jones and Derek Moser, as well as forwards Auston Ghiradelli, Nikolai Cherednichenko, James Blount, Mitchell Rickert, John Riley and Kurtis Klinger. The Growlers also have two newcomers in Vinny DiMaggio and Matthew Antonacci.

This weekend’s games are not the only the Suns and Growlers faceoff this year. The Suns wrap up their season in Santa Rosa against the Growlers at the iconic Redwood Empire Ice Arena, also known as Snoopy’s Home Ice. The arena was owned and built by Peanuts cartoonist/creator Charles M. Schulz in 1969. That matchup is scheduled for March 11-12.

Tickets are currently on sale at PK's Ski and Sports from from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. 

Notes—The Sun Valley Suns rematch with the Jackson Hole Moose was canceled last weekend (Dec. 31-Jan. 1), with COVID-19 the main culprit for the cancellation. The Suns had five players in quarantine with three positive tests. The game will not be rescheduled because of scheduling conflicts.

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