Game 056 – St. Pats 2, Canadiens 1

Game 056
St. Pats 2, Canadiens 1
Saturday, January 26, 1924
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Canadiens, with three regulars missing, gave the St. Patricks more than a scare here on Saturday night, even if they did lose an exciting struggle by 2 to 1.

The Frenchmen scored the only goal in the first period, and it was not until only one minute and a half remained to play that Bert Corbeau batted in the winning counter after the puck had rebounded on Adams’ shot. The St. Patricks retained their two game lead in second place over Hamilton, while the Canadiens fell back into last place.

Manager Léo Dandurand, who has been worrying over the slump of his team, went away from the Arena satisfied that the Canadiens will be able to shake off the jinx in the remaining games, and perhaps finish in second place, a feat that would qualify them to play off with Ottawa for the championship.

The outstanding feature of the game was the good showing made by Mantha and Bobby Boucher, the two youthful recruits. Boucher, the fourth member of the family to break into professional hockey, was anything but nervous. He stepped in the path of the heavy local players with all the courage imaginable, and wound up by hitting Bert Corbeau after the big defencemen used him roughly.

Mantha went at top speed throughout. It was the best game that he ever played, amateur or professional, and even such a veteran as Sprague Cleghorn was enthusiastic. Mantha is a fast skater and a clever stickhandler. He scored the Canadiens’ only goal after outguessing the whole St. Patricks’ team. He has the weight and ability to be one of the stars of the circuit.

Old Billy Bell was another substitute who made good. The veteran puckchaser, who had no intention of playing this season, came to the rescue of the Canadiens, and did good work at right wing. He is one of the best skaters in the pro league.

On the night’s performance, the Frenchmen might just as easily have finished on the long end of the scoring. They more than matched the locals in speed, and they certainly tried hard to get out of last place, but the Irish never lost their confidence, and stuck closely to the business of playing hockey, with the result that they had the satisfaction of proving to their supporters that they are worthy of the place they hold in the race.

Roach was tested often and played one of his good games, but he was given good protection by the Corbeau-Stuart defence. These stalwarts checked hard and well, and the visitors found it a difficult task to get past. Occasionally the flashy Aurèle Joliat would get away on one of his sensational dashes and only fail by inches to score, this being due to the fact that despite his speed and stickhandling, Corbeau or Stuart would just manage to put him off his stride as he was about to shoot.

While the game was strenuous in spots, it was not rough, and only three men were invited to decorate the penalty bench, the unlucky individuals being Adams, Corbeau and Morenz. Corbeau was not gentle by any means, and his heavy checking finally resulted in Morenz engaging him in a club swinging duel, with honours even, no damage, and two penalties.

At a meeting here on Saturday afternoon, the Ottawa charges of roughness were thoroughly discussed and no action was taken, but the club owners passed along the word to the players that hereafter only clean play will be tolerated. The St. Patricks and Canadiens listened attentively to this advice, and the fans greatly enjoyed the entertainment.

There were no outstanding stars on the local team. Some did better work than others, and “Reg” Noble was criticized because he did not travel at the same speed which has featured his play in other years, but Noble directed a checking barrage in centre ice which stopped many a rush, and he also passed the puck unselfishly. The St. Patricks won, and that is the main achievement. They are very much in the running for the second place berth, and may improve enough to spring another surprise in the playoff series. Right behind them, however, are the Hamilton players, going great guns and full of confidence and ambition.

Goalkeeper Vézina was the star of the first period. He held the fort until the recruits could settle down, and the St. Patricks, quick to sense their opportunity, gave him many hard shots to handle. Sprague Cleghorn put more zip and dash into his play than usual, and surprised the fans by outskating the Irish front line men, but he could not beat the solid local defence.

After ten minutes of interesting hockey, Mantha rushed from end to end, wriggled past the defence, and beat Roach from close range. It was a smartly executed play. For the balance of the period, the Irish gave slightly more than they received, but Vézina stopped the long shots and kicked or batted the puck out of danger in the scrambles.

The St. Patricks pressed from the start of the second session, and after two minutes’ play, “Babe” Dye got a lucky counter when his swift shot from near centre ice hit Cleghorn’s stick and caromed into the net. Dye’s shot was wide by many feet, but it counted just the same. He was checked closely, however, all evening by Joliat, and could seldom get into good position to shoot. Joliat’s rushes and the good defensive play of Corbeau and Stuart featured the period.

Play was fast in the last dash, and indications were that the game would be decided in overtime. The forwards of both teams supported the defences remarkably well, coming back with every rush, and it seemed almost impossible to break through the barricades. Corbeau continued to shoot from outside the defence, and his shots were always accurate, but he tossed away several good chances to pass the puck to a teammate in a better position to shoot.

Noble, who was feeling the effects of the pace and had slowed down to a walk, was replaced by Adams near the close of the period, and the former Pacific Coast League scoring ace immediately secured possession in a faceoff and gave Vézina a hard shot to stop. He was back 30 seconds later with another tantalizer, and when the puck rebounded, Corbeau batted it into the net, winning the game. Then Noble returned, and his checking held the Canadiens at bay.

Wilf Loughlin was used quite often as a relief man at left wing and turned in a good performance. He will not likely be released as long as he plays as well as against the Frenchmen.

Story originally published in The Globe, January 28, 1924

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 10:20 – Mantha (Cleghorn)

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:40 – Dye (Corbeau)

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 17:40 – Corbeau (Adams)

TOR – Adams, Corbeau
MTL – Morenz

TOR – Roach (W)
MTL – Vézina (L)

TORGoaltenders: John Ross Roach. Defence: Bert Corbeau, Wilf Loughlin, Billy Stuart. Forwards: Jack Adams, Amos Arbour, Babe Dye, Stan Jackson, Reg Noble.
MTLGoaltenders: Georges Vézina. Defence: Sprague Cleghorn (C), Sylvio Mantha. Forwards: Billy Bell, Billy Cameron, Aurèle Joliat, Joe Malone, Howie Morenz.

TOR – 7-6-0 (.538)
MTL – 4-9-0 (.308)