Canadiens 4, Arenas 3
Monday, December 23, 1918
Arena Gardens, Toronto, ON
Bombastry is a poor weapon. Whatever the future may hold in store for professional hockey hereabout, the opening local game of the National Hockey League was played last night as scheduled, and manager Querrie of the Arenas was fully justified for the position he took Saturday and Sunday when he insisted that the game would be played. The Arenas were beaten by the Canadiens of Montréal 4 to 3.
Of course, “explanations” were forthcoming from the camp of the so-called CHA. Here is one for what it is worth: It was the “intention” of the insurgents to secure interim injunctions on Monday morning restraining the Arenas from playing, but owing to the absence of the CHA’s legal adviser in Ottawa in connection with the Ottawa rink matter, “it was considered essential to postpone this part until his return tomorrow morning.”
The CHA spokesman alleges that “this can in no way weaken our position, though no doubt, but wrongly, some people may get the idea that we were bluffing.” It is contended that the playing of the game last night may render the Arena and the players open to actions for further damages. So the fans may get even more court hockey than ice hockey. It’s cheaper, too – for the fans.
Last night’s game could hardly be described as a good exhibition of hockey, but when it is considered that the teams were not in the best of condition, it must be admitted that the contestants provided an interesting argument.
The Canadiens showed nothing startling, and it was only in the final period that they demonstrated any marked superiority over the locals. “Newsy” Lalonde played brilliantly in spots, but he was entirely too selfish and lessened his team’s chances by an unwillingness to pass the puck. Bert Corbeau came down from Victoria Harbour and, despite the fact that he has had no practice this season, added considerable strength to the visitors.
The so-called Flying Frenchmen did not exhibit any exceptional speed. Pitre seemed to be the fastest skater of the lot, but he only showed in flashes. Vézina was the outstanding star of the game. In the early periods, the Arenas bombarded the visitors’ net and threatened to pile up a commanding lead, but the Montréal wizard provided equal to the occasion and made many marvellous stops.
The Arenas were favoured to win the fixture, and during the first two periods fully justified the confidence placed in them. They outscored the visitors 3 to 1, and on the play deserved a much larger lead, and only the good work of Vézina stood between them and victory.
Harry Cameron played sensational hockey, but he plainly showed that he was in anything but good condition, and faded badly in the final period. He scored two well earned goals, however, and stopped Lalonde and his cohorts repeatedly. If the Pembroke flash ever decides to get down to business, he would become one of the greatest of hockey stars.
Reg Noble played well and made several nice rushes. He appeared to have no difficulty in outguessing the opposing defence, but he experienced wretched luck in his shooting. Noble also drew the first penalty of the match, but it was a minor, and was entirely unintentional on his part.
The Arenas forced the play from the start, and Vézina was called upon to save some dangerous shots. Corbeau relieved the situation by making several clever rushes, and Hall was also prominent with his blocking. Noble and Cameron bore the brunt of the work for the locals, but Harry Meeking was much to the fore, and his stickhandling was superb. The period ended without either team having been able to register.
The Canadiens came back strong, and for the first few minutes of the second twenty more than held their own. Skinner, however, got his teammates going by dashing in and around the Canadien defence and beating Vézina with a bullet-like drive. For the balance of the period, the Arenas were all over their opponents, and Cameron added two more goals in short order. Pitre scored for the Canadiens, and the teams retired with the locals leading by 3 to 1.
Many expected that the Arenas would prove easy victors, and settled back to see them roll up the score in the final period. However, they were disappointed, for the locals faded away and the Canadiens outscored them 3 to 0. Led by Noble and Meeking, the blueshirts made desperate efforts to come from behind, but the Canadiens used a four man defence and successfully held them off.
Story originally published in The Globe, December 24, 1918
TOR GOAL – 01:30 – Skinner (Randall)
TOR GOAL – 03:30 – Skinner (Randall)
MTL GOAL – 04:30 – Pitre (McDonald)
TOR GOAL – 07:00 – Cameron (Adams)
MTL GOAL – 08:00 – McDonald (Pitre)
MTL GOAL – 15:00 – McDonald (Lalonde)
MTL GOAL – 16:00 – Lalonde (Cleghorn)
MTL – Corbeau, Hall, Pitre
TOR – Adams, Noble
MTL – Vézina (W)
TOR – Holmes (L)
MTL – Goaltenders: Georges Vézina. Defence: Bert Corbeau, Billy Coutu, Joe Hall. Forwards: Louis Berlinquette, Odie Cleghorn, Newsy Lalonde (C), Jack McDonald, Didier Pitre.
TOR – Goaltenders: Hap Holmes. Defence: Harry Cameron. Forwards: Jack Adams, Rusty Crawford, Corb Denneny, Harry Meeking, Reg Noble, Ken Randall, Alf Skinner.