Dawson City Nugget Harvey Downes tries to move Ottawa Senator Alumni
Brad Marsh from in front of the Nuggets' net yesterday.
HIS TEAM had just been schooled by the equivalent of three unconverted touchdowns, yet Dawson City Nuggets coach Wes Peterson was wearing a broad smile -- along with the bowler -- as he headed down the hallway toward the dressing room.
"Wasn't as bad as we thought it would be," he proudly proclaimed.
Wasn't as bad as last time, either.
The Nuggets put their day-to-day lives on hold for a month and travelled 6,400 km for this. They weren't going to let a little thing like an 18-0 loss to the Senators Alumni spoil the moment.
"It's quite a thing to come all this way and play in this building in front of all those people," said Dawson City right winger Chester Kelly. "We're used to one or two fans at our games back home. I never had butterflies like that before.
"This will be the biggest highlight of my life, for sure."
A crowd of 6,139 visited the Corel Centre not only to see if the Nuggets could avenge the 23-2 loss handed them by the Ottawa Silver Seven in the 1905 Stanley Cup, but also to witness a piece of true Canadian history. It doesn't get much better than the well-documented journey taken by the visiting team.
Not long after an impressive pre-game show the Alumni created some fireworks of their own. On his first shift of the game Laurie Boschman, who retired from the NHL only four years ago, set up linemate Mitch Babin to open the scoring and the pair would prove to be unstoppable the rest of the day. Boschman was the top Alumni point-getter with three goals and five assists while Babin finished with five goals and two assists.
"We didn't know what to expect from them, really," said Boschman who, as a former Senators captain, knows what it's like to be on the other end of such lopsided games. "I thought they did extremely well, considering the long trip to get here."
Fans were pulling for the visitors, however, and by the sounds of it, not just those that made the trek from Dawson City. But anyone who got excited only when the Nuggets had a scoring chance, well, didn't get excited very often.
One of the best came off the stick of Freddy Farr in the first period, and after he was stopped by goalie Gerry Armstrong, Farr hit Alumni winger Eddie Hatoum into the end boards.
Hatoum, an unsuspecting victim because it was supposed to be a non-contact game, responded by scoring only seconds later.
Mike Frazier had a couple of the better chances for Dawson City early on, though they did hit the post early in the third.
The Alumni responded to the only penalty of game -- a hooking minor to Frank St. Marseille -- by scoring two short-handed goals.
That pretty much sums up the day for the Nuggets -- perhaps the happiest losing team you'll ever find.
"Their talent was phenomenal," said centre Dale Kulych. "But to us, it was a four-year plan come true. I'll never forget it."
Fifty ounces of gold was donated to the Special Olympics in name of the victors. The Nuggets will play an exhibition game in Kingston tomorrow before heading home.