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Fantasy campers, former Red Wings enjoy final game at Joe Louis Arena

Team Red prevails over Team White in overtime, 11-10

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - The last group of Detroit Red Wings fantasy campers at Joe Louis Arena were having such a good time that they couldn't let it end.

So with Team White leading 10-9, Team Red pulled the goaltender and scored the game-tying goal with 6.1 seconds remaining on the clock, ensuring an overtime period.

When in doubt, leave it to one of the professionals.

Former Wings defenseman Mathieu Dandenault scored the tying goal and celebrated like it was during the playoffs.

"Unlike all the other pros that were playing, that was actually my first shot on net out of the whole tournament, all the games," Dandenault joked. "Kirk Maltby had a tournament-high 25 shots, six goals. It was fun. You try to keep it close and entertaining. The guys were great. But eventually, you're down to the wire, you got to shoot it. It went in. My second-ever goal at the Joe Louis Arena."

Dandenault, Maltby, Larry Murphy, Anders Ericsson and Darren McCarty were the Wings who joined the players for the last fantasy camp at the Joe.

McCarty thought he had the game-winner when he scored the 10th goal for Team White but it was not meant to be.

The pros left the game in the hands of the fantasy campers during the five-minute overtime and Kevin Joynt scored at 56 seconds.

"It is a good feeling," Joynt said during the on-ice celebration. "I couldn't even have dreamed it. I'm happy, I'm excited, I can't believe it happened to a guy like me."

Surprisingly, Joynt, a Dearborn resident, has only been playing ice hockey for seven years. He also scored on a penalty shot during the game.

Joynt said the entire fantasy camp experience had been a blast.

"A lot of work in my life and not a whole lot of vacations so I saw this on the Red Wings website and I said, why not?" Joynt said. "McCarty, Dandenault, Murphy, Ericsson, great guys. Learned a couple tips this week so I'm happy."

Also happy despite being on the losing team was Rick Heliste of Bonita Springs, Fla.

"I didn't want to get blown out," Heliste said. "As long as it was close. Because I could still be embarrassed at this age."

Heliste made a joke about being the oldest player in the game at 64.

"I haven't found a Medicare card on the ice yet," Heliste quipped.

Heliste said he officiated for 30 years but only got back to playing three years ago and had never done anything like this fantasy camp.

"It was at the top of the bucket list.," Heliste said. "Now I don't know what's next."

Like Heliste, McCarty will next return to Florida but he got a little wistful as he contemplated his last visit to Joe Louis Arena.

"I didn't realize this was the last time the ice would be here," McCarty said. "To be able to come back and say goodbye, it's great. No sad moments."

Dandenault was also happy he was able to come back one last time.

"To be part of the last game, I was here in April thinking it was the last time and now it's the last time," Dandenault said. "I actually kept a little bit of ice so I'm going to bring that home and keep it for my personal stuff. It has zero value but it's sentimental to me. It's always cool to come back and feeling part of the family. You spend a decade here, you have memories forever. It's always fun to come back."

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