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Suns Open the Season with a Stingers Sweep
Monday, December 2, 2019


The players were barely done digesting their Thanksgiving feast when the puck dropped for the first time in the 2019-2020 Sun Valley Suns hockey season. There appeared to be no side effects from the tryptophan as the Suns swept the two-game series from the Bozeman Stingers by identical scores of 9-2 Friday and Saturday at Campion Ice House in Hailey.

 In front of a large and boisterous crowd on Friday night, third-year forward Max Tardy tallied seven goals to lead the hometown Suns to victory. The University of Minnesota Duluth product secured his hat trick before the midway point of the first period and proceeded to put four more on the board as the team pulled away for the 9-2 win. Bobby Bowden was solid between the pipes to stifle any chance of Bozeman getting back into the game.

 The Stingers came out strong on Saturday night, looking to avenge the lopsided loss the night prior. In front of another strong crowd in Hailey, the visitors from Bozeman controlled the puck in the Suns’ end early and jumped out to the lead three minutes into the contest on a power play goal. But the Suns bounced back five minutes later on a one-timer by Nick Curry off the feed from Friday night’s hero Tardy to tie the score at one goal apiece.

 Veteran Spencer Brendel scored to give the Suns their first lead at the 9:56 mark of the first period. Curry’s big brother Mike and Doug Yeates assisted on the goal that made the score 2-1 in favor of the hometown Suns. Two minutes later, the lead was extended to two on a DJ Robinson goal, with helpers coming from Dylan Shamburger and Eli Conrad.

 Stephen Inman rocketed a wrister from just inside the blue line past the Stingers goal keeper to give the Suns a 4-1 lead at the 7:02 mark of the opening period. Inman’s shot was made possible by a beautiful pass from Sun Valley Youth Hockey alumni Niels McMahon. Tardy found himself on the receiving end of a Mike Curry pass and added a short-handed breakaway goal at the end of the period to give the Suns a commanding 5-1 lead heading into the first intermission.

 Bozeman scored at the halfway point of the second period to cut the lead to three, 5-2, but an Eli Conrad goal less than one minute later bumped the lead back up to four.

Bowden, pressed into action for the second night in a row, continued his weekend mastery, turning away 36 of the 38 Stinger shots on goal Saturday night. Coach Cub Burke called on Bowden again because usual Saturday starter Matt Cooper was stuck in Wyoming due to weather-related road closures.

 Tardy scored his ninth goal of the weekend two minutes into the third period to make the score 7-2, and Nick Curry scored two more times in the final period for the Saturday hat trick. Curry’s third goal was a thing of beauty as he broke free beyond the Stingers defense, knocked down a spectacular Brendel pass at center ice, skated in and beat the goalie to provide the final 9-2 score.

 The competition gets stiffer next weekend as the Suns face off against the Dallas Texan Titans Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7, at The Ice House in Hailey. As always, puck drops at 7 p.m.



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