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Suns Leave Wolves—and Movie Star--Howling in Back-to-Back Victories
Monday, December 10, 2018



After a comeback win on Friday night against the Austin Wolves, the Sun Valley Suns Hockey Club found themselves in an early hole again on Saturday night.

The talented visitors from Texas jumped out to a 2-0 lead in front of a packed arena at the Campion Ice House in Hailey. But the Suns battled back and eventually emerged victorious in an overtime thriller, 6-5, to sweep the two-game set and remain undefeated on the young 2018-2019 season.

The Austin offense was relentless in the first period Saturday night, taking the two-goal lead and outshooting the Suns 30-13 for the initial 19 minutes of hockey.

Sun’s goalie Matt Cooper stood on his head, withstanding the peppering of shots from the Wolves and keeping the game within reach. And, with 42.3 seconds remaining in the period, second-year Sun Max Tardy got Sun Valley on the scoreboard with a helper from Justin Taylor to cut the Austin lead in half, 2-1 at the first intermission.

The scoreboard lit up like a Christmas tree at the start of the second period, much to the delight of the fans.While theyd all came to root on their hometown club, many also had come to check out the stick skills of actor Taylor Kitsch, a member of the Austin Wolves team.

Kitsch might be better known for his work in film and television (Wolverine, Friday Night Lights, Savages, Lone Survivor and Waco). But he didn’t disappoint on the ice, logging a ton of ice time and contributing to an impressive Wolves squad.

Only 33 seconds into the second period, Sun’s Swedish newcomer Rasmus “Rusty” Andersson tied the game 2-2 with assists coming from Dylan Shamburger and Chad O’Brien. The tie was extremely short-lived as the Wolves scored 10 seconds later to retake the lead. But veteran Sun, Ryan Enrico scored the period’s third goal in the opening 1:06 to knot the game back up at three goals apiece.

Both teams settled in following the flurry of goals until Shamburger gave the Suns their first lead of the evening, scoring off a beautiful centering pass from veteran Mike “Taco” Curry. Curry, doing his best Wayne Gretzky imitation, snuck behind the goal and delivered the perfect pass to Shamburger, who beat the Austin goalie in the top right shelf.

Just three minutes later however, the Wolves tied the game, and then scored again at the 16:45 mark to take a 5-4 lead into the final intermission.

The defense of both clubs stiffened in the third period as the Suns consistently controlled the puck in the Austin end but were unable to convert their scoring chances. It appeared the Wolves might hang on for the win and gain a split, but DJ Robinson, the Suns second-year player from Maine, scored with 4:30 remaining to tie the game at 5-5 and force overtime.

Less than two minutes into the extra period, Shamburger picked up the loose puck inside the Wolves blue line with nothing but ice between himself and the Austin goalkeeper. A momentary bobble near center ice allowed the Wolves pursuing defender to close the gap, but the Bowdoin College alum regained control, hit the jets, and found the back of the net for the game-winner, igniting celebrations in the stands and on the ice.

A portion of the proceeds from the weekend’s games benefited the Sawtooth Pony Club. The Suns will take on their rivals, the Jackson Hole Moose, on Dec. 14 and 15 at the Snow King Center in Jackson. They will be back in action in Hailey on Saturday, Dec. 22, in an exhibition game with the Future Suns. The Suns will host the Moose on Friday and Saturday, Dec.  28 and 29.

The puck always drops at 7 the Campion Ice House.

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