St. Pats 5, Canadiens 4
Saturday, December 25, 1920
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
The St. Patricks’ “lightweights” ushered in the 1920-21 National Hockey League season by defeating the Canadiens here on Christmas night by 5 to 4, but they were forced to the limit to gain the decision.
At one time in the second period, the so-called Flying Frenchmen, who were flying only in spots, led by 3 to 1, but their condition was not of the best, and the St. Pats, thanks to Randall and a lot of hard work, managed to score four goals in succession. Each team had only two substitutes in uniform, but the St. Pats, owing to an injury to Smylie, had only Roach for relief duty.
About four thousand fans attended, and they were rewarded by seeing an exciting game between teams which, on the night’s play, were well matched. The locals are a good little team, but they appear far too light to win the NHL championship. It’s a long, hard grind in the professional league, and stamina promises to be one of the main factors.
The visitors had their regular lineup, but were shy on condition, and substitutes “Odie” Cleghorn has signed a contract, but remained in Montréal, and Coutu has been loaned to Hamilton. The presence of the former might have permitted the Frenchmen to score their first victory of the season.
The Canadien “veterans,” however, are as tricky as of yore, and when in condition will be as hard to defeat as in the past. At times they uncorked a puzzling attack, Pitre, Lalonde and Corbeau being the men behind. The first named is heavier than ever, but occasionally he showed speed that was amazing. He scored two of the goals, but near the close of the game was forced to retire because of exhaustion.
The Mummery-Corbeau defence, big and strong, played good hockey in the early stages, but the local “hornets,” scenting victory in the last thirty minutes, engineered attacks that brought them right up to the goalmouth. Vézina played a marvellous game between the poles, and many a shot that appeared almost certain to get past he coolly turned aside.
“Babe” Dye got his first real trial since joining the “pros,” and his work caused favourable comment. He was more aggressive than usual, and his fast traveling shot kept Vézina constantly on the alert. With barely four minutes to play, one of Dye’s shots struck big Mummery on the knee, and the human “freight train” could not continue.
“Rod” Smylie made his local professional debut, same consisting of about one minute on the ice, but he was not in fit condition to play, and was of no assistance. His knee is painfully injured, and it may be some time before he is able to show at his best. “Mickey” Roach was the other substitute. He showed good form on the attack, but fell down in backchecking.
The St. Pats set a fast pace from the faceoff, evidently with the intention of skating the visitors into submission, but the latter hung on desperately, and surprised even themselves by having the edge in the play. “Newsy” Lalonde was in the thick of the battle for several minutes, but finally retired in favour of Arbour. The latter secured the puck, and Mitchell stopped the shot, only to have Pitre bat in the rebound. Nine minutes later, Lalonde fooled Mitchell on a knee high shot from left wing, but on the next play Cameron stickhandled his way right up to the goalmouth and scored the first for the St. Patricks. It was the best individual effort of the evening.
Eight minutes after the second period started, Pitre raced down the side and tallied the Canadiens’ third goal, giving the visitors what appeared to be a safe lead, but the St. Pats, led by Wilson and Randall, were not a bit dismayed, and for the balance of the session, they played rings around the fast fading Frenchmen, and scored three goals in succession.
Each scored a goal in a final period, Dye being the marksman for the locals and Corbeau doing the trick for the Canadiens. The visitors made a determined effort to pull the game from the fire in the last ten minutes, but their condition was against them, and they wilted.
Story originally published in The Globe, December 27, 1920
MTL GOAL – 08:00 – Pitre (Arbour)
MTL GOAL – 15:00 – Lalonde
TOR GOAL – 15:20 – Cameron
MTL GOAL – 05:00 – Pitre (McDonald)
TOR GOAL – 09:00 – Wilson (Noble)
TOR GOAL – 14:00 – Randall
TOR GOAL – 15:00 – Roach (Randall)
TOR GOAL – 07:00 – Dye (Roach)
MTL GOAL – 10:00 – Corbeau
TOR – none
MTL – Lalonde
TOR – Mitchell (W)
MTL – Vézina (L)
TOR – Goaltenders: Ivan Mitchell. Defence: Harry Cameron. Forwards: Babe Dye, Reg Noble, Ken Randall, Mickey Roach, Rod Smylie, Cully Wilson.
MTL – Goaltenders: Georges Vézina. Defence: Bert Corbeau, Harry Mummery, Dave Ritchie. Forwards: Amos Arbour, Louis Berlinquette, Newsy Lalonde (C), Jack McDonald, Didier Pitre.