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Local hockey team wins state tournament


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The following story was submitted by Sandcreek Middle School.

IDAHO FALLS – The Idaho Falls U18 hockey team traveled to Sun Valley the weekend of March 2nd and won the State title.

The tournament featured a best of 3 games series between heated rivals–the Idaho Falls Eagles and the Sun Valley Suns.

Game 1 saw intense action as both teams played fast and physical and were deadlocked half way through the game. Late in the 2nd period, Sun Valley scored first and a brutal fight broke out between the Eagles’ Emmett Sternberg and the Suns’ Ike Buxton. As referee’s tried but failed to pull the players apart, Eagles’ Zach Bush jumped in using his stick to stop Buxton from punching Sternberg in the head.

Bush was given a match penalty and suspended indefinitely while Buxton received a game misconduct and was also ejected from the game. Sternberg would leave with a head injury and not return.

Things got even worse for the Eagles as senior defenseman Tommy Blank suffered a dislocated shoulder and was taken to the emergency room. With the game falling apart for the Eagles, the Suns would add 4 more goals and then the Eagles would lose yet another player, Junior Jonny Rifelj with a badly bruised knee. The Eagles, however, never gave up and were able to score a goal in the 3rd by Ethan Perttula, assisted by Dylan Kaasa.

Faced with elimination in game two and down multiple players, the Eagles needed a miracle.

Playing with sheer determination, senior Jake McBride buried the puck in the net, assisted by Tyson Dobson and Clayton Rohner, to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead in the 2nd period. However, the Suns would notch the tying goal late in the 3rd period forcing overtime. Once again the Eagles dug deep and Junior Nick Peterson sunk a slap shot from the blue line for the win.

Peterson was assisted by Zane Holiday and Kaasa. With an abundance of confidence, the Eagles came out with a vengeance in game 3. With the Eagles quickly scoring 3 NHL-style Tic-Tac-Toe goals in the 1st period, the Suns never had a chance. The goals were scored by Kaasa, McBride, & Rifelj and assisted by Dobson, Mikey Hay, Kaasa, & Rohner.

The Suns further self-destructed in the 2nd period as Buxton was once again ejected with a game misconduct for once again injuring another player. The Suns did manage a single tally but the Eagles put up two more picture perfect goals by Kaasa & Dobson, assisted by Rifelj, Dobson, Holiday, & Andy Walsh.

The 3rd period was similar to the 2nd as the Suns tallied another goal but the Eagles dominated adding two more goals by McBride & Rifelj, with assists by Rifelj and Hay. The 7-2 victory clinched the Eagles first tournament win and crowned them Idaho State Champions.