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Hockey Game Provides Big Assist for Charity

STAMFORD, Conn. – In a star-studded hockey game at the Terry Conners Rink on Wednesday night, the only fight that broke out was against the hardships of spinal cord injuries. Professionals, college players and Hall of Famers took to the ice for the third annual Big Assist , an exhibition match to raise money for the Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation .

The White Team, featuring pro players Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning , Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders , and Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens bested the Blue Team, 10-9, in an intense game. The Blue Team featured Darien natives Ryan Shannon of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Jaime Sifers of the Mannheim Eagles and fought to the last second.

The Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation works to improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries and diseases. Its namesake coached hockey and lacrosse in Darien for years before a swimming accident in 1997 left him paralyzed.

Harrington-Howes credits Shannon and the other players with making the event bigger and bigger every year. "The players come back with ideas, and bring even more of their friends to draw in even more people," he said. "We're starting to develop a fan following. People begin anticipating the game and making plans around it."

The White Team jumped to an early lead, scoring four goals in the first period against the Blue Team's one. Blue fought back in the second, and the White goalies were forced to make some impressive stops to keep Blue at bay. At the end of the second the score was 6-4.

The game picked up in the final period. Blue tied it up, 6-6, but held that tie only briefly. White quickly scored three more goals. Blue scored again to make it 9-7, but White immediately countered back with a goal of its own, seemingly ending the game.

During a tense final minute, Blue scored two more goals to come within one of sending it into overtime. And though they fought hard and almost knocked it into their opponent's goal to tie it up, the White defense prevailed and the game came to an end.

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