Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Suns Drop Season First as They Split Two with Gutter Snipes
 
   
 
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
 

BY MICHAEL DAVID

Hollywood legend Bobby Farrelly brought his cast of talented hockey characters to town once again to face off against the Sun Valley Suns Hockey Club this weekend at The Campion Ice House. The Suns came out hot and hung on for a 5-4 victory on Friday night and the Gutter Snipes enacted revenge on Saturday night, skating to a 7-5 victory in front of huge crowds in Hailey.
It was the Suns’ first loss of the season.

Gutter Snipes players and entourage began arriving mid-week to get acclimated and enjoy the recreational and cultural offerings of the Wood River Valley. Their roster consists of several players with NHL and other professional league experience, along with top former college hockey stars. And, boy, are they big! Eight players are 6’ 2” or taller and all of those tip the scale at more than 225 pounds.

The Suns got out to a fast start on Friday night in front of over 600 excited fans, scoring three unanswered goals in the first period. The Snipes were able to get back into the game and found themselves within striking distance with five minutes remaining and the Suns clinging to a 5-3 lead. The visitors scored at the 3:56 mark to get within one goal at 5-4. After a time-out with 2:00 on the game clock, the Snipes pulled their goalie, but the determined Suns withstood the extra attacker and held on for the victory.

The Gutter Snipes would reverse the script on Saturday night, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period against the hometown boys on Jeff Cordes Night. The Suns honored the long-time sports editor and reporter for the Idaho Mountain Express. Cordes, who will be retiring in April, took the ice before the game with much of his family members at his side. After words from Suns coach Cub Burke, he was presented with mementos from the Sun Valley Suns Alumni Association, including a personalized Suns jersey with the number 43, signifying Cordes’s 43 years of covering hockey and all sports in Blaine County.

The Gutter Snipes flexed their muscles and extended their lead to 4-0 early in the second period, sowing doubt in the minds of the 713 fans at The Ice House. DJ Robinson finally found the net for the Suns more than halfway through the period to make the score 4-1, but the feisty visitors answered one minute later to bump the margin back to four, 5-1 as they broke for the second and final intermission.

The Gutter Snipes built that lead in the first two periods with hard-nosed and clean hockey, using their strength and experience to throw the Suns off their game. Sun Valley was also missing two of their top players, Max Tardy and Justin Taylor who were both unavailable Saturday night.

But there was no quit in the Suns as they took the ice for the final stanza. Dylan Shamburger, the pride of Atlanta, Ga., scored a power play goal 49 seconds into the period to narrow the Snipes lead to three, 5-2. But once again Farrelly’s all-stars would answer, scoring 28 seconds later to regain the four-goal cushion, much to the chagrin of the boisterous hometown crowd.

But the Sun’s Christian Hansen, who has NHL experience with the Toronto Maple Leafs, scored off the Nick Curry assist to get the Suns within three, re-igniting the Suns and their fans. Just two minutes later, Sun Valley’s own Spencer Brendel scored off a rebound to cut the lead to 6-4 with six minutes remaining in the contest.

Hansen would light up the scoreboard once again with 3:08 remaining on the clock to make the score 6-5, and for the second night in a row, the teams were separated by only one goal as the clock wound down. This time it was the Suns turn to pull their goalie just inside the two-minute mark, but they were unable to take advantage of the extra man as the Gutter Snipes added the empty net goal to provide the 7-5 final.

 The great crowds were treated to fantastic hockey both nights, and the players showed their mutual respect with a giant two-team photo after the game on Saturday night. Farrelly expressed his gratitude for having the opportunity to come to Sun Valley every year and to play such competitive hockey games.

“We love to come here every year. Everyone treats us like kings, and the hockey is always strong,” he said. “We were nervous when they started coming back in the third period, but I am happy we were able to hold on for the win.”

The split left the Suns record at 11-1 for the 2019/2020 season. They will play in Bozeman next weekend against the Stingers and be back in town Feb. 7 and 8 when they face the Bantam Beauties at the Campion Ice House in Hailey. As always, the puck drops at 7 p.m. both nights.




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