St. Pats 5, Canadiens 2
Saturday, December 17, 1921
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
The St. Patricks got away to a flying start in the National Hockey League race here on Saturday night, when they defeated the Canadiens by 5 to 2 in a game that was productive of much ill feeling and rough play.
The new rules were given a trial, but owing to the fact that some of the players were not in the best of condition, it was hard to determine if the innovations have speeded up the game. The St. Pats led all the way, but the Frenchmen gave their best and were in the running until midway in the final period.
It was expected that the new penalty rules would have the effect of keeping the players on the ice, but such was not the case, and it is doubtful if there has been as rough a fixture played in the NHL since the Canadiens tried to batter the Torontos out of a championship several years ago. Penalties that were earned were not inflicted, and at times the affair resembled a battle more than it did a hockey game. Some of the fans were inclined to blame the locals, but both sides were guilty and it was the Montréal team that started the trouble when Corbeau, Lalonde and Cleghorn opened proceedings by relying on high checking to stop the speedy St. Patrick attackers.
Lalonde was the storm centre when he charged Denneny from behind in the second period, and the local player was carried from the ice. Denneny had checked Lalonde across the stomach on the proceeding play, and the manager of the Canadiens followed him from one end of the rink to the other to retaliate. Lalonde also engaged in a wrestling bout with Cameron, and wound up an interesting evening’s work when he was attacked by Denneny, the latter being given the balance of the game for his pugnacity, and Lalonde being chased for five minutes.
Little damage was done while the teams were playing shorthanded, the St. Pats getting one goal when they were using six men against five, and all of the other goals being scored when the sides were equal. On two occasions, the visitors had only four men on the ice against six, but they escaped without being scored against.
The Canadiens came here determined to win, and brought along with them five substitutes, but the St. Patricks, who used Mitchell in goal and had no new players, proved more than a match for the Frenchmen, and won a well deserved victory. Stuart has greatly improved since last year, and was one of the stars of the game, while Cameron also went the route and showed splendid form.
Denneny, Dye and Noble were the locals’ best forwards, while Randall and Smylie also did effective work. Glenn Smith, the other substitute, was not used.
The Canadiens are in better condition than they were at this time last year, and they showed that they will be contenders for the championship. Cleghorn strengthens the defence, while the forward line appears to be as strong as it was last year. Lalonde was the centre of attention, and this great veteran showed that he is still a capable player. The crowd criticized him unmercifully when he charged into Denneny, and the latter slid into the net behind Vézina, but Denneny was not exempt from blame, as he had used no gentle tactics in stopping Lalonde on several occasions.
Goalkeeper Roach appeared with the St. Patricks in the warm-up practice, but he was suffering great pain, and it was decided to use Mitchell, and the latter played a great game, turning aside shots harder to clear than several which beat Vézina at the other end of the arena. It was not the first time in his career that Mitchell has “delivered” in fine style when the St. Patricks were minus their regular goalkeeper. He is the property of the Hamilton Club, and may beat Lockhart out for the regular position.
“Reg” Noble was in supreme command of the Irish forces, and he made a good job of it. He lacks perfect conidition, but he tried hard all the way, and his method of checking had the Canadiens bewildered, and once Corbeau lost his temper and tried to hit Noble when the latter was lying on the ice.
Evidently fearing that the St. Patricks would take advantage of the rule permitting the goalkeeper to pass the puck out to a man halfway down the ice, “Newsy” Lalonde, in the early stages, hovered in the vicinity of the local net and chased the puck carrier into the corner, but it was soon apparent that the referee would not allow the puck to be passed to a man offside, and Lalonde decided to reserve his strength and meet the attackers at mid-ice.
Play was fast in the first few minutes, both sides having an equal share of the breaks. The Canadiens, with two men on the penalty bench, were fortunate to escape without a goal being scored. With the clock showing that eleven minutes had elapsed since the initial faceoff, Denneny raced down the centre and drove a swift shot, waist high, into the net. Three minutes later, Randall secured possession after Dye’s wicked shot had rebounded from Vézina’s pads, and raised the locals’ total to two.
In attempting to get to close quarters, Lalonde was stopped by Cameron, and a wrestling match, with good feeling in evidence, commenced. Referee LeSeuer rendered no decision, ruling that neither man was trying, and that there was no demand for a penalty. The intermission found the score unchanged.
The St. Patricks opened the second period suspiciously, when Cameron raced from end to end and passed to Dye, who planted the puck behind Vézina. In three minutes the Canadiens scored, the venerable Pitre passing to Berlinquette when the latter was camped in front of Mitchell.
The Lalonde-Denneny incident occurred shortly afterward, and the Canadien manager was penalized until Denneny was able to return. While sitting on the bench he was subjected to considerable verbal abuse by the fans, fair and otherwise, but he took it all in good part.
When Denneny returned he showed no sign of being injured, and was prominent in nearly all the attacks. He wound up some particularly good play by scoring the fourth goal for the St. Patricks, and immediately afterward Noble made the cleverest attack of the game and scored, only to have the referee overrule the goal judge.
The Canadiens secured their last goal about halfway through the last session, Pitre passing to Lalonde, when the latter was standing unchecked near the net. It was the second successful play engineered by Pitre, the greatest of all veterans, and it showed that the “old man of hockey” is still far from through.
Dye was made the recipient of a butt end and took the count, and while the trainers were trying to relieve him, Denneny started a battle with Lalonde. The leader of the Frenchmen, however, showed no desire to fight, and referee LeSeuer decided to bench Denneny for the balance of the game, and to give Lalonde a five minute respite. Shortly after play resumed, Stuart carried the puck from end to end and passed to Dye, who scored with one of his patented shots.
Cleghorn added to the waning excitement by bodychecking Randall into the goal post, and the referees chased him, much to the disgust of the visiting team, who were under the impression that it was a fair bodycheck, and that Randall was to blame for lack of proper direction.
Piche, the much heralded Hawkesbury recruit, was not with the Canadiens, he having returned too his home, but Boucher, the ex-Ottawa and Iroquois Falls amateur who was suspended by the NOHA last year, played for the visitors. He is a brother of the Ottawa star, but it will be some time before he is as good a player.
“Ken” Randall followed instructions to the letter, and played clean and clever hockey. He played during more than half of the game, and his presence did not weaken the team any.
Story originally published in The Globe, December 19, 1921
TOR GOAL – 11:00 – Denneny
TOR GOAL – 14:00 – Randall (Dye)
TOR GOAL – 01:00 – Dye (Cameron)
MTL GOAL – 03:00 – Berlinquette (Pitre)
TOR GOAL – 04:00 – Denneny (Stuart)
MTL GOAL – 03:00 – Lalonde (Pitre)
TOR PP GOAL – 11:00 – Dye (Stuart)
TOR – Denneny (20 min. match penalty), Cameron, Noble, Smylie
MTL – Lalonde (2 minors + 2 majors), Corbeau (2), S. Cleghorn (2), O. Cleghorn, Pitre
TOR – Mitchell (W)
MTL – Vézina (L)
TOR – Goaltenders: Ivan Mitchell. Defence: Harry Cameron, Glenn Smith, Billy Stuart. Forwards: Corb Denneny, Babe Dye, Reg Noble (C), Ken Randall, Rod Smylie.
MTL – Goaltenders: Georges Vézina. Defence: Sprague Cleghorn (C), Bert Corbeau, Billy Coutu. Forwards: Billy Bell, Louis Berlinquette, Billy Boucher, Odie Cleghorn, Newsy Lalonde, Jack McDonald, Didier Pitre, Phil Stevens.