(left) Ron Grahame seen here during his playing days at the University of Denver in the early Seventies
Editor's Note: DJ Powers of Hockey's Future is in California this weekend covering the Snoopy Senior World Hockey Tournament. For the third straight year 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. We can't thank DJ enough for her outstanding commitment to this event.
Article by: DJ Powers
Staff Writer - NCAA
Calgary came into game fresh off of a 4-2 upset over the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday night.
The pace was rather cautious to begin with, but things would get going quickly as the game wore on.
DU drew first blood as Bill Pettinger opened the scoring at the 1:57 mark with a shot that slipped in between the Calgary goaltender’s pads.
Grahame was tested early as Calgary displayed some excellent puck movement.
The Old Buffaloes drew the first power play of the contest when defenseman Randy Harper was called for a hook at the 3:42 mark. DU’s outstanding penalty killing continued and the Pioneers did an excellent job of keeping many of Calgary’s shots to the outside.
Near the halfway point of the period, the Old Buffaloes nearly tied the game when the rolling puck was headed in the open net. Grahame would come up with one of his many sensational saves when he lunged back to grab the puck just before it was about to cross the goal line.
As the opening period began to go into its latter stages, the Pioneers found themselves on their heels a bit as Calgary applied some great pressure in the offensive zone. And at the 16:17 mark, that effort would pay off when Steve Richardson put in the equalizer that snuck in just inside the near post. The goal also ended Grahame’s shutout streak at just over 76 minutes.
About a minute and half later, Calgary would get the opportunity to take their first lead of the game when John MacMillan was called for a hook at the 17:43 mark.
The second period began with DU shorthanded with 46 seconds left on MacMillan’s hooking call. While DU successfully killed their second penalty of the game, it did little to slow the Old Buffaloes momentum. Calgary continued to test Grahame, and the DU netminder put on a clinic with some acrobatic saves.
The Pioneers would regain the lead once again at the 2:54 mark when Norm Kvern potted a nice goal off of a rebound chance.
DU would get an opportunity to extend their lead further on their first power play of the tournament. That came at 4:15 when Calgary’s Jeff Bowles was called for body checking. [Note: The Snoopy Tournament is a non-checking tournament].
While the Pioneers enjoyed success on the penalty kill, the same couldn’t be said for their power play. Calgary’s great defensive coverage allowed DU little time and space to setup their power plays. That resulted in some good shorthanded opportunities for the Old Buffaloes as well.
As the game reached the midway point of the period, the game had opened up considerably, but both teams were also guilty of giving the other some odd-man chances as the period entered the latter half.
One odd-man situation led to the Pioneers’ next goal at the 15:48 mark. MacMillan, who got together on the play with Pettinger, finished it with a terrific wrist shot that beat the Calgary netminder for the 3-1 score.
With the period winding down, Calgary would get into some penalty trouble giving DU another chance to extend their lead yet again. This time, it would be a five-on-three opportunity. At the 17:08 mark, the Old Buffaloes’ Bob Bridger was called for a slash. Two minutes and ten seconds later at the 19:18 mark, Bowles would be called for an elbow.
The final stanza began with DU on a five-on-three for seven seconds and another 2:10 on the man-advantage. Once again, DU struggled to get their power play together and their golden opportunity to potentially put the game out of Calgary’s reach was squandered.
After successfully killing off a five-on-three Pioneers power play, Calgary stepped things up and would go on to dominate DU in the period.
At the 2:00 mark, Harper was called for interference, giving the Old Buffaloes their third power play of the game. DU once again killed off the penalty, thanks in large part to some great saves by Grahame.
As the period wore on, the intensity was slowly being ratcheted up as things were beginning to get heated between the two teams.
Nearing the midway point of the period, the many whistles that were suddenly so prevalent effectively killed whatever momentum each team had established to that point. And the resulting frustration of both teams was quite visible. When the many whistles subsided, DU once again found themselves back on their heels as Calgary was applying some outstanding pressure once more. The pressure would again pay off for the Old Buffaloes as defenseman Bob Brawley was called for body checking at the 12:27 mark after drilling a Calgary player. On the ensuing power play, Calgary would notch their second goal of the game at the 14:51 mark when Rick Schillington’s shot snuck under a sprawling Grahame and into the net.
And it wouldn’t get any easier for the Pioneers either.
DU’s parade to the sin bin continued at 18:20 when defenseman Bob Peers was called for interference. Down a goal and with time winding down, the Old Buffaloes pulled their goaltender for a six-on-four power play. Calgary relentlessly threw everything they had at the DU net to tie the game again. And in the waning seconds of regulation time, Grahame made his best save of the game with an unbelievable toe-save to give DU the win. It was a fantastic finish to a fantastic game.
DU went 0-for-3 on the power play. Calgary went 1-for-5 on the power play.
Next up, the University of Michigan Wolverines on Wednesday.
DU 1-0 Bill Pettinger (1:57) [John MacMillan]
Calgary 1-1 Steve Richardson (16:17) [Ron Wright]
DU 2-1 Norm Kvern (2:54) [Peter Markle]
DU 3-1 John MacMillan (15:48) [Bill Pettinger] (GWG)
Calgary 3-2 Rick Schillington (14:51) [Steve Richardson, Harry Poon]