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Alumni Game Ends In Tie; Lemieux Gets 2 Points

The smile never left Mario Lemieux's face Friday morning.

From the moment he stepped on the Heinz Field ice surface -- last among the 50 players to take place in the alumni game that kicked off the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Classic weekend -- Lemieux was once again in his preferred element, playing the game he loved in front of an adoring crowd once again.

VIDEO: Channel 11's Bill Phillips Reports From The Game

When it was over, Lemieux had fashioned a pair of assists, including a secondary helper on the go-ahead power-play goal by fellow Hall of Famer Ron Francis. Washington defenseman Gord Lane was in the box on the goal, whistled for hooking Rob Brown on a partial breakaway

But, the heroics were not meant to be as Peter Bondra scored with 45 seconds remaining to make it a 5-5 tie, the score by which the game ended.

Despite the lack of a clear-cut winner on the ice, nobody lost on this morning of Mario's magic.

Lemieux also delivered an assist on the game-opening goal, almost immediately delivering the brand of magic fans in the Steel City have come to expect as their birth right.

Lemieux set up Rob Brown for the game-opening goal with a sweet pass just 4:22 into the game.

"It took me 23 years, but Mario finally got me my 50th," Brown said at halftime of the 40-minute game.

Brown, Lemieux's winger for several years, had a career year in 1988-89, scoring 49 goals while riding shotgun to Le Manifique.

But, while Brown's goal may have been the only point Mario registered Friday morning, everyone seemed to benefit from the magic delivered by No. 66.

A few days before the game, Bryan Trottier, who played for the Penguins' alumni team, talked about how the personality of Lemieux would be a treat in which the fans here would bask. But, it was also the players that seemed, at times mesmerized.

Heck, even the Washington alumni team -- which was booed good-naturedly (if there is such as a thing) as they took the ice -- tapped their sticks in admiration as Lemieux took the long walk to the ice surface nestled in the middle of Heinz Field.

But, once the shock and awe created by the litany of great players on hand for this one-of-a-kind game wore off, the players got down to the business of rekindling their version of what is currently the most fierce rivalry in the game today.

The first 20 minutes featured 6 goals -- three for each team.

"There's never too much offense," Brown said, laughing. "As Paul coffey says, people don't pay to see defense."

Alan May, Mark Lofthouse and Paul Mulvey, who had a pair of goals, scored for the Caps. Petr Bondra, the Washington Captain, tied the game at 5-all with just 45 seconds remaining.

Rod Buskas, Craig Simpson and Jay Caulfield scored Pittsburgh's goals.

Lofthouse, wearing the No. 8 now made famous by Alex Ovechkin, did his number proud with a sweet breakaway goal against Pittsburgh's Gilles Meloche.

This report was written by By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor.



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