Game 050 – St. Pats 4, Canadiens 3

Game 050
St. Pats 4, Canadiens 3
Saturday, February 24, 1923
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The St. Patricks moved up into second place in the National Hockey League standing when they defeated the Canadiens of Montréal here on Saturday night by 4 to 3, in a game that was productive of brilliant playing and many thrills.

The largest crowd of the season attended, and its yells of approvement or disappointment could be heard for blocks away. The Frenchmen put up their best battle of the year on local ice, and had the Irish weakened they would practically have been eliminated from the race. Each team has three more games to play, and Ottawa, the St. Patricks and the Canadiens are coming down the stretch almost neck and neck.

The Canadiens jumped into the lead three times, only to have the locals tie the score and finally win the game in the last period. They tried everything they knew in an effort to win, and under ordinary circumstances would have done so, but the St. Patricks had one player who stood in the way, “Red” Stuart being the man.

The defence star from the Maritime provinces played the best game of his career, and the Frenchmen could not stop him at all. He was easily the fastest skater on the ice, and his stickhandling and shooting were a treat to watch. He simply raced away from Joliat, the fastest skater on the Canadien team, who was assigned the task of attempting to stop him.

The St. Patricks have perhaps been more effective as a team in some previous games, but nevertheless they showed enough to convince their followers that they are stronger this season than when they won the Stanley Cup in 1922. The improvement shown by some of the players, better team play, and the addition of Jack Adams have made a whole lot of difference, and the Irish have a grand chance to retain their laurels as Canadian champions.

Manager Dandurand had his regular team in action most of the time, Boucher being at right wing, Joliat at left and Odie Cleghorn at centre, but the wingmen drew four of the nine penalties, and their rough tactics helped along the Irish cause. These two players are rated among the “bad men” of the league, and they have played with the Iroquois Falls NOHA senior team two years ago. Joliat was only reinstated by that organization this winter in order that he would be permitted to play as a professional. This player had a wordy battle with Charlie Querrie, and came out a bad second.

Louis Berlinquette and Didier Pitre, veterans of many years’ standing, did the relief work and played well.

The Cleghorn brothers were at the top of their form, Odie being particularly effective. Once he cleverly stickhandled his way past the local defence and beat Roach. It was one of the best individual plays of the night. Sprague checked well, and was dangerous on the attack. Goalkeeper Vézina, injuries and all, was as good as ever.

The game was delayed on two occasions owing to lights exploding, but the fans took the affair good naturedly. Broken glass was scattered over the ice. Comedy was added to the game when a fan with a sense of humour hurled a lemon. This performance, common in Montréal, is unusual here. Referee Jerry Laflamme gathered in the lemon.

Each team scored two goals in the first period and one in the second. The game had just nicely started when Boucher raced down the wing to drive in the opening counter. The Canadiens were playing aggressively at this time, and it was feared that the shaky Irish team would not prove equal to the task of holding them in check.

Stuart, however, proved the man of the hour, and his checking and rushing turned the tide. Five minutes after Boucher tallied, Stuart broke away and tried a long shot. The puck was stopped by Vézina, but he lost it a second later and it slid over his shoulder into the net. Sprague Cleghorn got the next, a tricky, slowly traveling shot that Roach never saw. It was one of the breaks of the game. The Irish continued the pressure, and finally tied the score when Noble scored on a rebound from Dye’s shot.

Odie Cleghorn made his star goal-getting play six minutes after the second period commenced, and ended the scoring as far as the Frenchmen were concerned. The Canadiens had only five men on the ice and the St. Patricks’ six, when Cleghorn went right through. Five minutes later, Adams scored on a rebound from Cameron’s shot. The dizzy pace continued unchecked until the intermission.

The closest checking of the game took place in the last session, and combination attacks and individual efforts came to grief. Some of the players began to show signs of exhaustion, and manager Querrie inserted Harry Cameron into the fray. The latter opened up some telling rushes that had the fans in a frenzy of excitement, and he culminated his brilliant playing by making one of his old time end-to-end sprints, which resulted in the winning goal. With Noble traveling with him, Cameron went right in and forced Vézina to make a lucky stop. Noble secured possession and passed back to Cameron, who beat Vézina from a few feet out. The period had progressed ten minutes.

“Babe” Dye was not at his best, he not having fully recovered from his injuries. His swift shot was missing, and he was below par in checking. Noble was never better, and Adams was effective. Andrews did his usual amount of checking, while Roach, Cmaeron, Randall and Stuart could hardly have been improved upon.

Story originally published in The Globe, February 26, 1923

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 03:20 – Boucher (Joliat)
TOR GOAL – 07:40 – Stuart
MTL PP GOAL – 13:40 – S. Cleghorn
TOR GOAL – 17:40 – Noble (Dye)

2nd Period
MTL SH GOAL – 06:20 – O. Cleghorn
TOR GOAL – 10:20 – Adams (Cameron)

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 10:50 – Cameron (Noble)

TOR – Randall (2), Noble
MTL – Boucher (3), Coutu (2), Joliat

TOR – Roach (W)
MTL – Vézina (L)

TORGoaltenders: John Ross Roach. Defence: Harry Cameron, Billy Stuart. Forwards: Jack Adams, Lloyd Andrews, Babe Dye, Reg Noble, Ken Randall.
MTLGoaltenders: Georges Vézina. Defence: Sprague Cleghorn (C), Billy Coutu. Forwards: Louis Berlinquette, Billy Boucher, Odie Cleghorn, Aurèle Joliat, Didier Pitre.

TOR – 11-9-1 (.548)
MTL – 10-9-2 (.524)