Brennan, Smail lead Canucks to win |

Brennan, Smail lead Canucks to win

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

BRECKENRIDGE – It’s all tied up … again.One year after the Vail Resorts Americans used a dramatic 8-7 victory to break a 3-3 Rivalry of the Resorts series deadlock, the Intrawest Canucks pulled even once more Saturday afternoon at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena. Dan Brennan scored four goals with an assist, and former NHL player Doug Smail added a goal and five assists to lead the Canucks to an 8-5 pull-away win in the annual grudge match (kind of) between the two behemoth ski corporations.Better yet for Intrawest supporters, the victory came in former Vail Resorts CEO Adam Aron’s farewell performance between the pipes. You almost wondered if the level of satisfaction Canucks head coach David Barry felt after the game is legal. When Aron accepted the ceremonial toilet seat handed down to the losing team, Barry smiled like he’d won the lottery.”It’s just pride and pleasure for him, and the fact that he’ll have something to remember us by,” Barry, who runs Intrawest’s North American operations, said of Aron, his longtime counterpart at VR. “Hopefully he’ll find a prominent place in his home for the toilet seat.”

Barry added, still smiling: “The rumor has it he’s destined for politics. If he ends up as a cabinet member, he can hang (the toilet seat) in his office in Washington.”For a while, it looked like the Rivalry contest would go down to the wire for a second straight year. Midway through the game the Americans and Canucks were tied 3-3, but Intrawest owned the final period and a half.Brennan used fancy stickwork to deke Aron and make it 4-3 with what proved to be the game-winner at 8:34 of the second period. From there, four different players scored for Intrawest, capped by Brennan’s fourth of the contest, an empty netter with 24.9 seconds left.At the other end, Canucks goalie Rob Berger made the most of his first appearance in the annual fundraiser for The Summit Foundation, saving 33 of the 38 shots he faced. Berger hadn’t planned on playing in the Rivalry game, but when Intrawest senior vice president Gary Rodgers asked him after a rec league game Tuesday night, he agreed.As for the peppering he faced from former pros and rec regulars alike, Berger said he wouldn’t have had it any other way.”I like those kind of games,” he said. “That’s why I play goalie.”

Brennan, the 42-year-old former head coach of USA Hockey’s national inline team, recognized his netminder’s stellar play.”Probably the key for us was, our goalie held us in there,” said Brennan, who played in his seventh Rivalry game Saturday. “We get lazy sometimes and don’t back check, but our goalie came up big.”Kevin McLaughlin, Jeff Sirkka, and Jarred Manski also scored for Intrawest, which finished with 42 shots against Aron. Aron, using brownish-yellow pads he said he bought in 1979, stuffed a number of Canuck opportunities but spent much of the game sprawled on his back and side. “I am 51 years old,” he explained. “Their goalie (32-year-old Berger) was 6 years old when I bought the pads.”Former pro Don Mercier led the Americans with a goal and an assist, while Jim Johannson, Brendan McCarthy, Paul Stashick and Ingemar Losch added a goal apiece. Losch’s tally, which came with time winding down, was the play of the day. He lost his feet after putting a shot on Berger, then poked home the rebound as he was sliding past the net at high speed.

Vail-Summit Orthopaedic tops Peak One Surgery for Summit CupIn the opening game on Saturday, the Vail-Summit Orthopaedic Americans beat Peak One Surgery Center’s Canucks 7-4 to claim the inaugural Summit Hockey Cup title. The two teams tied 4-4 Friday night before Saturday’s contest decided the series winner.Martin Kennedy and Jake Ryley each tallied two goals and two assists to lead the Americans. Eddie Pietrzyk, Bob Blass and Matt Ryley also scored, and Dan Kirby added four assists.Brad Dickerson, Lance Hillis, Granville Lloyd and Graeme Bilenduke scored in defeat for the Canucks.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at

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