Trashmen tough but former NHL players prevail in charity game
Six-time Stanley Cup winner Glenn Anderson called on the magic of his 18-year career to lead a team of former NHL players over the Aspen Trashmen in a charity game at the Aspen Ice Garden Saturday night.
Anderson scored two sweet second-half goals to lift the NHL Alumni to a 4-2 win over the Trashmen, an elite senior men’s team.
“I grew up watching these guys, so it’s a lot of fun taking shots from them,” said Trashmen goaltender Louis Rinn, who was particularly impressed with one Anderson slap shot that found the top shelf of the net. “They’re a little older, but they can still shoot the puck.”
The game was the culmination of the second “Big Time Hockey in a Small Mountain Town; Road to the NHL All-Star Game” charity event, which benefited the valley nonprofit Neighbor to Neighbor.
Bobby Nystrom, a 14-year player with the New York Islanders, broke the ice in front of a sold-out crowd Saturday, scoring 15 minutes into the first 25-minute half. Nystrom, parked in front of first-half Trashmen goalie Steve Majeres, took a feeding pass from former Blackhawks player Tony Tanti and one-timed the puck into the back of the net.
Majeres stone-walled several scoring bids by the ex-NHLers with dramatic saves and escaped the game at the half with two goals allowed.
The second goal came less than a minute before the siren sounded when Ken “The Rat” Linseman demonstrated the same hustle that characterized his 13-year career with Boston and Edmonton. Fore-checking on an NHL team clear, Linseman scooped the puck up on the boards and swooped around in front, dodging Trashmen defenders, before unleashing a scoring wrist shot.
The Aspen team rallied in the second half, narrowing the deficit to 2-1 with 18 minutes remaining on a Mike McNeill goal. McNeill, the only Trashmen player with NHL experience (Chicago Blackhawks), drove a rebound past NHL team goalie Eddie Mio, assisted by Al Butler and Steve Whitmore.
The NHL team – which vowed revenge after playing to a 5-5 tie with the Trashmen in the first-ever event last year – took a 3-1 advantage with 12 minutes left. Seconds after killing off a penalty, Ron Duguay led an offensive strike and fed Anderson for a blistering slap shot that beat Rinn high-side.
Anderson struck again with six minutes to go on a breakaway goal, assisted by 16-year pro Don Awrey.
Aspen fought back in the final minutes, peppering Mio with several shots. Al Butler, the Trashmen captain, found a chink in Mio’s armor with just over two minutes remaining, scoring on a rush from the left wing, assisted by Paul Muldoon, to end the game at 4-2.
“I play a lot of charity games, but not with guys of this caliber,” Linseman said. “It’s fun when it’s competitive, and it’s always fun to play for a good cause.”
The mood in the Trashmen locker room after the game was bittersweet. The Trash, a team that took third place in the over-30 national championship last season, had hoped to beat the ex-NHLers but relished the playing experience nevertheless.
“Tape to tape passing. Always. It’s amazing,” said Trashmen player Peter Scott. “The Rat [Linseman] was on it, especially the faceoffs. He wins every one.”
“Everyone rose to the occasion,” said Trash captain Butler. “And this shows us where we need to bring our game to in order to compete out there.”
“The NHLers have great hands and you could see it,” added Wily Manering, a player/coach with the Trashmen.
“They skate to the open ice very well, they worked the neutral zone well, and it was great end-to-end hockey.”
Manering, whose diamond and gem company, Whitney Christine LLC, sponsored the “Big Time Hockey in a Small Mountain Town” festivities along with Stars Memorabilia, also dubbed the weekend a success from a fund-raising standpoint.
“The community should reach its goal for the money we were hoping for,” somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000, he said. “And that’s a hell of deal for a second-year event.
“Now, we just have to get revenge next year,” Manering added with a grin.
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