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HOLY HOCKEY PUCK!!! Suns Crowned Champions!
Sunday, March 13, 2016


Sun’s Coach Cub Burke was plenty confident as he strode into the Campion Ice House Saturday night.

“This team is determined to win,” he said.

And a standing room only crowd at the ice rink in Hailey witnessed that determination as the Sun Valley Suns rallied from a 2-1 third period deficit to defeat the Jackson Moose 4-2 and win the Black Diamond Hockey League Championship.

Fans were lined two to three deep on the upper deck railings and rink side up against the plexiglass, reminiscent of a Blackhawks vs. Redwings matchup at the Madhouse on Madison. As the Suns took the ice in their red uniforms with white and black trim, the rowdy crowd made their presence felt immediately with chants of “Let’s Go Suns!”

Following early game jitters by both teams, Sun’s forward Justin Taylor put the home team on the scoreboard first, stuffing the puck into the net 2:30 minutes into the game.  For the next 17 minutes, goalie Mike Peters stood on his head, turning away 17 shots by the rival Moose. Obviously finding himself in a zone late in the period and tiring of the traditional methods of deflecting shots, Peters head-butted a loose puck over the glass and out of play.

However, the Suns picked up a penalty with 1:25 remaining in the first period, and the Moose capitalized, tying the game at 1-1 on a power play goal with 33 seconds on the clock.  They then stunned the Suns and the sell-out crowd by scoring again 26 seconds later to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

Peters shined brightly on a pivotal play seven minutes into the second period, as a Jackson forward broke free from the Sun’s defenders at center ice and bore down on the Sun Valley goalie.  Peters moved to his left and thwarted the breakaway attempt, preventing the Moose from taking a two-goal lead. The Suns were unable to take advantage of two Jackson penalties later in the period, despite several scoring opportunities, and the rivals from Jackson Hole retained the 2-1 lead going into the final period of the 2015-2016 season.

Early in the final stanza, Matt Puntureri took a pass from Jon Duval, made a Moose defenseman look absolutely silly at the blue line and went upper right corner to beat the goalie and tie the game at two goals apiece.  The crowd erupted, and maintained that decibel level, understanding the momentum shift back to the Sun’s hockey club.

With 11:28 seconds left in the game, Spencer Brendel beat the Moose goalie off a Taylor shot rebound to give the Sun’s their first lead since the end of the first period.  That goal would prove to be the game-winner, as the defense and Peters remained stout, shutting down all subsequent Jackson scoring opportunities.  The Sun’s scored an empty net goal with 18.6 seconds remaining to provide the final score--4-2.

As the final horn sounded, the Sun’s players threw their gloves and sticks high into the air, celebrating the BDHL championship at the north end of the rink.  After the traditional congratulatory line with their worthy rivals, the Suns took turns hoisting the championship trophy and then gave the crowd at The Ice House a standing ovation.

Burke said that he considers the fans in Hailey the “Seventh Sun,” crediting their support and the atmosphere as a factor in the success experienced by his team this season.

Then the champagne started flowing and flying behind the closed doors in the Sun’s locker room, putting an exclamation point on a great year for the squad from Sun Valley. 

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