Snoopy Senior World Hockey Tournament - Part 3

Link: Part 1 - DU vs. Central Massachusetts

Link: Part 2 - DU vs. Michigan Alums

Link: DU Pioneers Roster

Editor's Note: DJ Powers of Hockey's Future was in California this week covering the Snoopy Senior World Hockey Tournament. She agreed to write a series of articles for LetsGoDU about the DU Pioneers, an alumni team made up of former DU players from the Murray Armstrong era.

The Tournament was founded by Peanuts creator Charles Schultz in 1975 and brings together hockey players between the ages of 40-75. The Snoopy Tournament attracts 60 adult hockey teams from around the world. Skill levels span recreational senior hockey to former collegiate and professional players. (Video Link about Tournament)

Koroll's Hat Trick Leads DU Alums
DU Wins Final Game Of Tourney 7-2

(left) Ron Grahame played in the NHL for the Bruins and Kings was the DU Pioneers netminder this week

by DJ Powers
Staff Writer - NCAA Hockey

After the heartbreaking 5-4 overtime loss on Wednesday to Michigan, the Denver Pioneers bounced back in convincing style to rout the Canterbury Ghosts 7-2 thanks in part to Cliff Koroll's hat trick.

Despite the painfully early 6am start time; the Pioneers had little trouble getting things going.

Just 41 seconds in, Peter McEwen got Denver on the board first, banging home a shot through the five-hole on Canterbury's goaltender.

Unlike the hard-fought match that took place against Michigan on Wednesday, this game didn't have the same level of intensity and featured relatively few penalties.

The first penalty of the game was assessed to Denver at the 4:01 mark when Don Cameron was called for boarding. The Pioneers had little trouble killing off the penalty and Bob McDowell had gotten off a couple of good shorthanded chances in the process.

Where Denver was particularly good, especially early on, was in winning the battles to and for the puck.

At the 7:42 mark, Koroll put the Pioneers ahead 2-0 when he tipped in Cameron's shot from the blueline.

About the midway point of the period, Canterbury began to generate some good pressure in the Pioneers zone, but goaltender Ron Grahame was up to the task. One of his notable saves of the period came around the seven-minute mark when two Pioneer players collided near center ice creating a partial breakaway opportunity for the Ghosts.

Denver would further extend their lead at the 15:28 mark, when Koroll netted his second goal on a nice wrist shot that went top-shelf.

Canterbury had pressed forward continuing to put pressure on Grahame and the Pioneers defense as the period winded down, but it was their inability to slow Denver's relentless attack and momentum that would eventually be their demise.

At the 17:04, defenseman Bob Brawley made it 4-0 Denver when he flipped a shot into the net off of a rebound. In the waning seconds of the period, Koroll almost made it 5-0 but a whistle prevented the score.

The second period opened with some good pressure early on by Canterbury, but it wouldn't be long before Denver got going again. One area where the Ghosts improved from the opening stanza was their ability to take space away from the Pioneers around their net. The effort however, did little to stop the Pioneers attack.

At the 10:05 mark, Koroll completed the hat trick when he walked in and flipped a shot over the Canterbury netminder.

The Ghosts would get their chance to cut into Denver's lead at the 13:56 mark thanks to a holding call assessed to Jim Fieldy. But once again, the stingy Pioneers defense held the Ghosts off the board.

The Denver defense excelled throughout the game, partially due to some great shot blocking that relieved some of the pressure on Grahame. While Grahame didn't have quite as much work as he did in the Michigan, he gave Denver very solid goaltending throughout the contest, and came up big when he had to.

Canterbury would finally get on the board at the 19:05 mark, when a shot off of a rebound found its way to the back of the Pioneers net.

By the time third period got underway, the pace of the game had slowed down. Denver continued to dominate territorially and winning the puck battles but was snake-bitten on a few good scoring opportunities early on.

That would change at the 4:07 mark. Cameron restored the Pioneers five-goal cushion when he put home a shot off of a rebound.

Canterbury continued to pressure Denver in spurts but the Pioneers defense held.

Bob Peers made it 7-1 at the 14:31 mark when he tapped home a rebound that finished an outstanding play started by Koroll.

As regulation time winded down and victory was in sight, Denver went into a bit of a prevent defense, but Canterbury would net one more goal at the 18:49 mark to close out the scoring. The Pioneers successfully killed both penalties they were assessed in the game. They did not have a power play in this contest.

TOURNAMENT WRAP-UP: The Denver Pioneers finish their 2007 Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament participation with a 2-1 record to capture the Silver Medal (2nd Place) in the Marcie Division (The top 60-64 age group). Despite the University of Michigan finishing with a perfect 3-0 record and winning the Marcie Division, the Pioneers finished the tournament as one of the top scoring teams with 20 total goals. Their goal differential was also one of the tournament's highest (+12). Denver outscored their opponents by a combined score of 20-8. Denver's total goals, goal differential and combined margin of victory all bettered their collegiate counterparts from Ann Arbor.

Cliff Koroll led the Pioneers in tournament points (10) and goals (5). Defenseman-turned-Forward Bob Peers led Denver in tournament assists with six. With the exception of goaltender Ron Grahame, all Pioneers players posted at least one point in tournament play.

The Denver Stars, who are playing in the 45-49 "Schroeder" Division are not affiliated with DU as far as I know. Many of the Stars players and their entourage came out and rooted for the Pioneers on Wednesday against Michigan. Many even came in their DU jerseys. Definitely provided a great turnout for DU and provided some competition for the Wolverine faithful in the raucous cheering department.

1 comment:

du78 said...

DJ - Thanks for covering the tourney and following the DU alums. Looking forward to the feature story.