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
Like the beginning of last year’s meeting against Reno, DU got off to a slow start once again. While the Pioneers generated some good scoring opportunities early in the opening stanza, they failed to beat the Aces’ goaltender.
For much of the first half of the first period Grahame saw few shots, but that would change in the latter half of the period as both teams had settled in and Reno began to generate some good scoring chances of their own.
At the 13:33 mark, Reno would get the first power play opportunity of the game when defenseman Bob Peers was called for a hook.
DU successfully killed off the penalty and went back to work.
At the 19:05 mark, defenseman Bob Brawley got the Pioneers on the board first with the eventual game-winner when he flipped a backhander over the Aces netminder. Wayne Smith, who has been moved to forward in the tournament, and newcomer Peter Markle drew the assists.
The combination of excellent puck movement by DU and poor defensive coverage by Reno led to a dominant performance by the Pioneers in the second period.
The scoring outburst began at the 3:50 mark when Smith put home a rebound to put DU up 2-0. Just 53 seconds later at the 4:43 mark, Caton made it 3-0 DU when he blasted in a shot from the point.
The barrage in front of the Reno would be a recurring scene throughout the period as the Pioneers relentlessly peppered the Aces netminder.
One problem that plagued the Reno goaltender throughout the game was controlling rebounds. And that led to DU’s next goal at the 7:11 mark by Caton.
While Grahame wasn’t quite as busy as his Reno counterpart, he was rock solid when called upon. The few quality chances that Reno generated in the period were effectively shutdown by Grahame and the stingy DU defense.
Bill Pettinger would extend the Pioneers lead to 5-0 after his shot went five-hole on the Aces netminder at the 13:40 mark.
Reno would get another chance to get on the board at the 17:03 mark when Pettinger was called for hook. However, it would be DU that would get on the board instead.
DU’s only special teams goal of the game came at the 18:00 mark when Markle tapped home the shorthanded tally.
The Pioneers began the final period with 23 seconds left in Pettinger’s hooking penalty. [Note: Minor penalties in the Snoopy Tournament are three minutes long]. Once again, DU was successful in their kill and it didn’t take long before the scoring got going once again.
At the 1:27 mark, Jim Wiste put the Pioneers up 7-0 off of another rebound chance. Shortly thereafter, the frustration of the Aces began to show as one of the Reno players momentarily tangled up with one of the Pioneers.
About four minutes into the period, the Aces would generate some good scoring chances only to see them stopped by Grahame.
Reno would get another shot at getting on the board at the 13-minute mark when Pat Halas was called for trip. Shortly into the power play, Grahame would make arguably his best save of the game when he made a beautiful, sprawling save on a two-on-one chance.
DU would give Reno a glorious opportunity to spoil Grahame’s shutout bid when Markle was called off for a trip at the 8:34 mark, giving the Aces a two-man advantage for 1:28. And while Reno had perhaps their best power play of the game, Grahame and the Pioneers defense stood tall, effectively killing off both penalties.
Halas would put the frosting on the cake for DU when he put home a rebound at the 15:43 mark.
While the game was well out of reach for Reno at this point, Grahame shutout bid was not. The Aces came very close to getting one by the Pioneers netminder with just over a minute left in the game when the Reno player’s shot had just missed going into the open side of the DU net.
When the final buzzer sounded, DU not only won, but preserved the shutout for Grahame as well, who had made several crucial saves throughout the contest.
Reno went 0-4 on the power play. DU did not have a power play in the game.
Next up, the Calgary Old Buffaloes on Monday.