Oldtimers work overtime

Anchorage 49ers win Rainforest Classic championship in fourth extra period

Posted: Monday, March 05, 2007

A goal in quadruple overtime helped the Anchorage 49ers defeat the Juneau Aces 2-1 in the A Division Championship of the fifth-annual Rainforest Classic Oldtimers Ice Hockey Tournament on Sunday at Treadwell Arena.

The 49ers' Doug Luiten scored in the fourth overtime to break a 1-1 tie.

The Rainforest Classic featured games of two 15-minute periods with stoppage time. During the tie, the overtime went by Canadian rules, which meant both teams opened by playing four-on-four sudden-death hockey for two minutes. The game remained tied, so one player was dropped from each side for each overtime until the Aces' Chris Siddon faced off against Luiten.

At first it looked good for the Aces, as Siddon controlled the puck and headed for the 49ers' goal. Luiten, however, tied up Siddon against the boards. Both players fell after the scrum as the puck slid into Juneau's zone.

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Luiten quickly got up, corralled in the puck and skated toward Aces goaltender Chip Verrelli. After a couple fakes, Luiten got Verelli to leave his skates and nailed a wrist-shot into the goal for the win.

In the first period, the Aces went up 1-0 when Dale Erickson scored off of a pass from Rich Morns at just 4:52.

The 49ers tied the game in the second period when Denny Anderson made an unassisted goal. Anchorage nearly won the game in the final minute of the second period, but Verrelli made an amazing save with 41 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Sunday's victory avenged a 4-1 loss Friday during round-robin play.

In Friday's game, the Anchorage team missed a few players due to bad travel conditions. For the championship game, the 49ers boasted a full roster.

The tournament was originally set for eight squads of players 35 and older, but inclement weather conditions kept teams from Dawson City and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, at home.

In the B Division championship game, the Trout Unlimited team of Juneau defeated the Petersburg Whalers 4-2. The Petersburg team featured various people from different parts of Southeast Alaska, including fishermen who don't play more than once or twice a year.

"It's a great venue for the old guys," said Verrelli, who ran the tournament with Christopher Mertl. "And everybody's going to come back."

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