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A memorable night at McMahon

by Shawn P. Roarke /
Calgary could not deliver a win for the 10,000 hometown fans that came to McMahon Stadium to see history repeat itself.

Instead, the Montreal Canadiens wore the black hats -- toques, perhaps -- by taking a 5-3 decision on a bitterly cold afternoon turning into evening in Calgary.

Montreal goalie Eric Fichaud, the youngest player in the game, made several key saves to deny some Flame attacks and "youngsters" Mike Keane, Russ Courtnall and Kirk Muller keyed the Montreal offense against Calgary goalie Mike Vernon, playing for the first time since his retirement in 2002.

Despite the scoreline, the Heritage Classic Alumni Game was a success for all involved.

The fans were treated to quite the show as many of the players that battled for the Stanley Cup in 1986 and 1989 went at it yet again.

They were also treated to a number of memorable moments.

Terry Crisp, the coach of the 1989 Calgary team that won the Cup in Montreal -- the only team other than Montreal to claim the Cup at the Forum in the history of hockey -- was once again behind the bench. The iconic Lanny McDonald -- still sporting his trademark mustache -- was once again sporing his No. 9 jersey and flying up and down a Calgary ice surface.

Bob Gainey, who has been in the shadows since stepping down as the Montreal GM last season, made a triumphant return as The Montreal alumni coach, joined by Ryan Walter and Rejean Houle.

The crowd also saw two successful penalty shots in less than a minute, one by McDonald and the other by Montreal's Kevin Haller.

Plus, they saw some of the biggest stars in the game happily grab shovels and clean the ice during the stoppage between the two 20-minute halves -- a chore to anyone that has ever played shinny that speaks to the very essence of the outdoor game.

But, most of all, the 10,000-strong crowd watched some of the most famous names in the game smile their way through a 90-minute trip down memory lane, essentially serving up the perfect appetizer for Sunday's Heritage Classic.
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