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A Night In Phoenix

   My Denver hockey memory is really a Phoenix memory that includes a Denver team.   Does that make sense?   Anyway, I'm 39 and grew up watching the Roadrunners during those halcyon days of the early 70's.
    During the 'Runners tenure in WHL they rarely had a problem with the Spurs, except,of course, during the 71-72 campaign when Denver steamrolled over everyone and won the Patrick Cup.
   My memory is from that 71-72 season.   I was 11 and on this particular mid-Jan. Sat. night (I remember approx. time because Miami and Dallas met in the Super Bowl the next day)   I, along with a few other neighborhood pals, celebrated our friend's b-day at the 'Runners game.   As normal, there was a huge weekend crowd at Veterans Memorial Coliseum to cheer on Phoenix.
    The game started with Andre Hinse scoring for Phx.   Then Denver scored twice to take the lead, only to see Phx tie it up late in the second period.   The game was a wide-open affair with lots of scoring chances and great goaltending by Bob Johnson and Don Caley.   I don't recall any fights, but I'm sure "Oil Can" Harry Shaw, Sandy Hucul, Curt Bennett and Glenn Patrick were throwing their weight around.
    The 3rd period saw Denver dominate early on with former 'Runner Milan Marcetta putting one past Caley.   I remember the Spurs had plenty of chances to put the game away, but Caley came up huge.   Finally, John Gofton scored with about three minutes to go to tie it up.   The 10,000+ at the Coliseum went nuts and Phx carried the play the rest of the game.
   With about a minute to go and Phx swarming the Denver net, another former runner, Bob McCord was called for delay-of -game for closing his hand on the puck just outside the crease; a call you rarely see these days or so it seems. Needless to say, Jean-Guy Talbot went wild.   Our seats were about 20 rows up at center ice opposite of the player benches and the image of Talbot, with his mod, jet-black hair and checkered bell-bottoms with sportcoat, standing on the players bench screaming at referee Ron Ego is still etched in my mind.
    It gets better, because after Talbot finished venting, he kept his penalty killers at the bench hoping Ego would skate to the bench.   Instead, Ego called another delay penalty and Phx now had a two man advantage. It didn't take long for the Go-Go Line of Hinse,Larry Lund and Frank Hughes to work their magic as Hinse scored with 14 seconds to go to win it for Phx.   Bedlam insued with the crowd going wild and as the teams lined up for the face-off Talbot and the trainer threw sticks, water bottles and anything else they could find on the ice further delaying the game.   After the culprits were escorted off the ice minutes later the game ended.
   To this day, it is still one of the most vivid games that I can recall. I remember being hoarse for days.
---John Chapman