St. Pats 6, Canadiens 4
Monday, March 7, 1921
Arena Gardens, Toronto, ON
Taking the lead in the first period and retaining it until the finish, the St. Patricks beat the Canadiens here last night by 6 to 4, and qualified to meet Ottawa in home and home games to decide the National Hockey League championship.
The Flying Frenchmen went into action almost two to one favourites, but barring an even break in the play in the opening period, they were never in the hunt, and another upset was added to the long list recorded in the “pro” league this season. The first game of the playoff series will be played in Ottawa next Thursday, with the return game here on Monday.
The St. Pats were seriously handicapped by injuries to Denneny and Dye, the latter being hardly able to skate, let alone do any checking. Denneny, however, for the ‘steenth time in his career, showed that he is a brilliant and effective performer when he is most needed, and despite illness that affected him greatly, he was the best player on his team. His stickhandling was well nigh perfect, and the Canadien defence players were made to look foolish repeatedly when he attacked. Denneny got past at least a half a dozen times, and succeeded in scoring two of the goals. That he failed to get as many more was due to the wizardry of goaler Vézina.
The fans were quick to perceive that Denneny was playing under great difficulty, and they were amazed that he should prove so effective. Several times he withdrew from the contest of his own accord, but remained in retirement for only a few minutes at a time. Harry Cameron and Sprague Cleghorn formed a defence that the Frenchmen seldom outguessed, and the former was particularly prominent on the attack. He scored the last two goals for the locals. Noble was the man of the “hour” in the early stages, and it was he who gave his team the necessary confidence and “punch” by tallying the first two goals of the game.
The game was not productive of the usual sensational features, the checking, barring lapses by the Canadien defence, being of the airtight variety. Pitre was expected to bear the brunt of the work for the visitors, but “Rod” Smylie, the ex-Dental player, checked him to a standstill, and long before the game was over, Mummery and Pitre drew penalties for trying to even accounts with the local player. Mummery received a major penalty for his wrestling tactics, and a moment later Pitre was chased for cross checking. Smylie, however, stood to his guns, and refused to be intimidated. It was his best showing of the season.
The absurdity of the NHL penalty system was never more apparent than in the final period, when Mummery, Cleghorn and Pitre drew penalties, Corbeau was absent owing to an injury, and the Canadiens, not having any substitutes, the St. Pats were forced to drop a man to even the sides. Manager Kennedy had “Cully” Wilson in uniform, but did not attempt to use him, his case having not yet been heard by the NHL. The penalty system tends to increase rough play rather than decrease it.
Neither team played hockey that was up to the standard which Ottawa will likely show in the playoff series, but nevertheless the improvement in the play of the locals over what they showed against Hamilton last Saturday night gave their supporters renewed hope that they will down the Senators. Forbes let one ridiculously easy shot get past, but he more than atoned for his omission by making several sensational saves. Vézina had more work to do, and many of the shots he stopped were delivered from close range.
Lalonde and Arbour were the best men for the visitors, but all in all, the Frenchmen failed to live up to advance notices, and the wonder of it is how they managed to beat Ottawa in four consecutive games. At the end of the second period, one of the Canadien players stated that his team were handicapped through injuries and unable to show at their best.
The visitors went to work with a will in the first period, and they gave the locals a battle worthwhile, but Noble finally secured a loose puck near the Frenchman’s net, and with three men checking him, shoved it past Vézina. He performed the feat thirty seconds before the conclusion of the session. The Canadiens had as much of the play in this period as did the Irish, but Forbes and the local defence, aided by Noble’s poke check, held them scoreless.
Less than two minutes had elapsed in the next dash when Noble took a rebound off the boards and scored. In forty five seconds a combination play – Pitre to Arbour – gave the visitors their first tally, and it was ten minutes more before Denneny circled the net, and again put the locals two goals to the good. The advantage was short lived, Mummery scoring in thirty seconds. Then Cleghorn tried a shot from outside the defence, and Corbeau, who stopped it with his leg, took the count, and was of no use to his team during the balance of the game.
A goal by Denneny and two by Cameron gave the locals a safe lead in the first fifteen minutes of the last period, and thereafter the St. Pats grew careless, and Arbour and Cleghorn added to the Frenchman’s total.
Story originally published in The Globe, March 8, 1921
TOR GOAL – 18:00 – Noble
TOR GOAL – 02:00 – Noble
MTL GOAL – 02:30 – Arbour (Pitre)
TOR GOAL – 12:30 – Denneny (Cleghorn)
MTL GOAL – 13:00 – Mummery
TOR GOAL – 06:00 – Denneny
TOR PP GOAL – 13:00 – Cameron
TOR GOAL – 15:00 – Cameron
MTL GOAL – 15:30 – Arbour
MTL GOAL – 18:30 – Pitre (Cleghorn)
TOR – Denneny, Randall
MTL – Mummery (2 minors + major), Arbour (minor + major), Berlinquette, Cleghorn, Corbeau, Lalonde, Pitre
TOR – Forbes (W)
MTL – Vézina (L)
TOR – Goaltenders: Jake Forbes. Defence: Harry Cameron, Sprague Cleghorn, Billy Stuart. Forwards: Corb Denneny, Babe Dye, Reg Noble, Ken Randall, Rod Smylie.
MTL – Goaltenders: Georges Vézina. Defence: Bert Corbeau, Harry Mummery. Forwards: Amos Arbour, Louis Berlinquette, Odie Cleghorn, Newsy Lalonde (C), Didier Pitre.