Game 044 – St. Pats 7, Canadiens 2

Game 044
St. Pats 7, Canadiens 2
Saturday, December 16, 1922
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The St. Patricks were said to be “leg weary” and “train weary” after their long tour to the coast, but the 7 to 2 victory which they scored over the Canadiens here in the opening game of the National Hockey League Saturday night gives little indication that their trip put the Irish off their stride. The clan of O’Donaghue stepped into the Montréalers with a will, and after holding them to a one goal lead for two periods, broke away in the final session and ran in four goals.

But whether or not the St. Pats were “train weary,” there was one personage on the ice who was decidedly “shot weary” long before the game was finished, and that was one Georges Vézina. The “Chicoutimi Cucumber” was forced to work overtime to keep the shots of “Babe” Dye from denting the twine too consistently, but nevertheless, the Irish sharpshooter accounted for five goals, and he drove the puck at the Canadiens’ citadel from every possible angle and position. Dye, fed by his teammates, was given every opportunity to score, and there is no one who knows how to perform “the necessary” in pro ranks better than that same player.

When the visitors took to the ice, there was one player who was the cynosure of all eyes. It was Aurèle Joliat, the player for whom the veteran “Newsy” Lalonde was traded to Saskatoon. Boucher was started at right wing, and in their early attacks the Frenchmen showed that they tacked a man on the front line who could make plays. When Joliat was injected into the play, the attack became more effective, and the youngster soon showed that mnaager Dandurand had made no mistake in attaching his name to a contract. Joliat scored both of the invaders’ goals by brilliant individual play, and he also passed the puck with the cleverness of a veteran.

The St. Patricks appear to be as effective as of old, and their trip West has brought them up to midseason form. They should increase in strength as the season progresses, as the two recruits, Ganton Scott and Gerry Denoird, should improve with experience. The two ex-Aura Lee juniors were not used until the final period, and when they got their chance they were both obviously “stage struck.” Scott was used at right wing and showed enough form to warrant predictions that he will develop into a valuable forward. Denoird’s debut was more suspicious. He started at centre in the last five minutes of play, and with two minutes to go, drew the Cleghorn-Coutu defence aside and passed to Dye, who went right in, giving Vézina no chance to save.

“Red” Stuart was unable to start because of an injured knee, and Ken Randall combined with Cameron on the defence. Cameron has lost none of his speed and rushed well, but he allowed Joliat to get around him for the Canadiens’ only counters. Randall, who is equally at home on the front line or the defence, was as steady as a rock, and turned back attack after attack.

Jack Roach gave another of his brilliant exhibitions in the net, and again showed that he has not a peer in his position in the hockey world. Time and again he made apparently impossible stops, and his play so discouraged the Montréalers that it paved the way for an easy victory in the final period.

Lloyd Andrews was used as the regular centre ice man, and there is no player on the Irish lineup who has shown as much improvement. He has put on weight, and the confidence which he lacked until the world’s series last season was there in abundance. Reg Noble and Dye gave Andrews plenty of support on the wings, and Noble played as an extra defenceman to meet the Canadien attacks. Corbett Denneny showed flashes of his old form, and skated faster than ever.

Sprague Cleghorn was the Cleghorn of old defensively, but on the attack he could not solve the Randall-Cameron-Roach defence, while Coutu needs several games under his belt to put him in stride. Vézina had little to contend with from close quarters, but he could not fathom Dye’s bullet like delivery, and allowed several long shots to get past him. On the forward line, Odie Cleghorn is much more effective than he was last season. Billy Boucher and Louie Berlinquette checked well and were dangerous at close quarters. Berlinquette is the last remaining member of the famous triumvirate – Lalonde, Pitre and Berlinquette. Pitre sat on the bench all through the game.

The Canadiens have not yet rounded into condition, and should improve greatly after a few weeks of play. Joliat will probably be used regularly on the right wing, replacing Bill Boucher.

The St. Patricks attacked determinedly early in the opening period, but they found Vézina blocking their way on every occasion. Following two unsuccessful rushes that swept right in on the Canadien goaler, Corbett Denneny snapped the puck past Vézina from a faceoff in front of the net. Five minutes later, Andrews and Dye attacked, and on a pass from the former, Dye drove the rubber into the Canadien net. With two minutes left to play in the period, Joliat darted around Cameron and slipped the puck past Roach for the Flying Frenchmen’s first tally.

In the second period the best play of the game was seen, and for fifteen minutes the honours were about even. Then Dye broke away down the right boards, took Sprague Cleghorn out of the play with a fake shot, and scored from close range. Three minutes later, Joliat repeated his lay of the opening period and again beat Roach, putting his team once more within striking distance.

Three quarters of the session had elapsed before “Babe” Dye tallied in the final stretch. He put the puck in the net on a sizzling shot from 30 feet out. Noble gave Dye the pass which resulted in another score two minutes later, while Randall secured from the faceoff, split the defence and passed to Andrews, who put the Irish four goals in the lead. Denoird combined with Dye to close the scoring bee, in which the champions counted four goals in six and a half minutes.

Story originally published in The Globe, December 18, 1922

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 10:45 – Denneny
TOR GOAL – 14:30 – Dye (Andrews)
MTL GOAL – 18:00 – Joliat (Coutu)

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 14:00 – Dye
MTL GOAL – 16:30 – Joliat

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 11:50 – Dye
TOR GOAL – 13:50 – Dye (Noble)
TOR GOAL – 14:20 – Andrews (Randall)
TOR GOAL – 19:10 – Dye

TOR – Noble, Randall
MTL – Bouchard (2), Boucher (2)

TOR – Roach (W)
MTL – Vézina (L)

TORGoaltenders: John Ross Roach. Defence: Harry Cameron. Forwards: Lloyd Andrews, Corb Denneny, Gerry Denoird, Babe Dye, Reg Noble, Ken Randall, Ganton Scott.
MTLGoaltenders: Georges Vézina. Defence: Sprague Cleghorn (C), Billy Coutu. Forwards: Billy Bell, Louis Berlinquette, Edmond Bouchard, Billy Boucher, Odie Cleghorn, Aurèle Joliat, Didier Pitre.

TOR – 1-0-0 (1.000)
MTL – 0-1-0 (.000)