Snoopy Senior World Hockey Tournament - Part 2

Link: DU Pioneers Roster

Editor's Note:
DJ Powers of Hockey's Future is 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)

The Clash of the Titans
DU vs. University Of Michigan Alums

by DJ Powers
Staff Writer - NCAA Hockey

Santa Rosa, CA - It is one of the marquee matchups in the Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament each year and this year it lived up to it's billing. Two of college hockey's storied programs went head-to-head on Wednesday as the Denver Pioneers faced the University of Michigan 60's team in a game that was played in front of a boisterous crowd representing both teams.

Michigan got to off to a strong start early but it didn't take long before Denver matched their pace. The Wolverines got off several good chances in the early stages of the game but Denver goaltender Ron Grahame (1970-73) was up to the task.

At the 17:31 mark, Denver's Cliff Koroll (1966-68) was assessed a hooking penalty, putting Michigan on their first power play of the game. At the 19:50 mark, Red Berenson got the Wolverines on the board first, poking home a rebound.

Michigan dominated a good portion of the opening period and was particularly strong in winning the battles to pucks.

The second period saw the Pioneers come out with good pressure early and at the 26-second mark it would pay off. Denver's Bob Peers (1964-66) fired a shot from the blueline through traffic to net the equalizer.

The Pioneers would once again find themselves in penalty trouble when Denver's Blake Emery was called for a high-stick at the 5:15 mark. And once again, the Wolverines would manage to find the back of the net. At the 7:30 mark, Berenson tallied his second goal of the game unassisted to give Michigan the lead once again. He tapped home a rebound with traffic around Grahame for the score. [Note: In the tournament, minor penalties are three minutes long].

It didn't take long before Denver would even things up again. At the 8:48 mark, Koroll fired a high shot that beat Michigan goaltender Eric Hall for the score.

The remainder of the period saw some outstanding goaltending by both netminders, with Grahame being busier of the two. Both teams generated some quality chances at both ends.

The third period opened with the Pioneers shorthanded, having to kill off the remaining 27 seconds of Peers' roughing minor.

Denver successfully killed off their first penalty of the game and began to pick up the momentum. At the 1:03 mark, Bob McDowell gave the Pioneers their first lead of the game on a rising shot that Eric Hall had difficulty corralling it.

The goal shifted the momentum in Denver's favor and the intensity would really start to pick up. At approximately the three-minute mark of the period, Emery nearly extended the Pioneers lead when he fired a shot from the left faceoff circle that just missed going into the Michigan net.

At approximately the seven-minute mark with the Wolverines buzzing around the Denver net on a power play, Berenson made several attempts at banging in the puck underneath Grahame's pads but was denied. All the while the whistle never blew. It wasn't until Berenson appeared to be pushed into Grahame by Peers that play was halted. The end result was a scary situation for the Pioneers as Grahame remained down in the Pioneers net for several moments. The intensity that had built up to that point came to blows as both teams were exchanging words, while Grahame was being tended to. The Pioneers netminder took quite a
beating in the game and was still able to hold the fort for his team.

When play was set to resume again, Denver came out on the short end. With Don Cameron (1965-67) already in on an interference call, the Pioneers penalty box quickly filled up as Peers and defenseman Wayne Smith (1964-66) joined their teammate.

On the ensuing five-on-three Michigan power play, Grahame stood tall in net, making some key saves to keep the Wolverines off of the board.

That would all change at the 11:00 mark when Michigan's Doug Roberts was credited for a fluky goal after it had bounced off of the skates of McDowell and Grahame and into the net to knot the game at 3-3.

At the 14:34 mark, the Pioneers would get their second power play opportunity of the game when Michigan's Dean Lucier was called for charging. Less than 30 seconds into the power play at the 15:00 mark, Denver would net their first (and only) power play tally of the game when Peter McEwen tapped home the rebound into a wide open net to restore the Pioneers lead.

The lead would be jeopardized once again when McDowell was called for a hold at the 16:26 mark, giving Michigan yet another power play. At the 17:54 mark, Michigan would tie the game with their fourth power play tally off of the stick of Bob Boysen.

With less than two minutes left in regulation time, the Pioneers stepped up their efforts to tally the game-winner before the buzzer. In the waning seconds of regulation time, Koroll almost did just that on a two-on-one situation that just missed the target.

In the tournament, overtime is played three-on-three and with no penalties being carried over, it came down to the next goal.

Just 23 seconds in, former NHLer Dennis Hextall would tally the game-winner to give Michigan the win and handing the Pioneers a hard-fought yet disappointing loss. The game-winner was the only goal of the game that the Wolverines did not score on the power play. Michigan went 4-for-7 on the power play, while Denver went 1-for-2.

Despite the loss, the Pioneers played extremely well. The fact that they played with a depleted lineup (one goaltender and ten skaters) made the effort all the more remarkable. Denver was without the services of tournament regulars Lyle Bradley (1965-66) and John MacMillan (1958-60) due to injuries and Wayne Wiste (1965-67) due to a family commitment.

The Denver Pioneers will wrap up their tournament play on Friday morning versus the Canterbury Ghosts.

-- "It's a great day for hockey" - "Badger" Bob Johnson


Anonymous said...

Keith Magnuson and Cliff Koroll did not change hockey at Denver. They merely continued the tradition of excellence by ending the 60's the way that the 60's began with back to back titles. If anyone changed hockey at Denver it was Murray Armstrong.

dggoddard said...

Good points.