Game 059 – Canadiens 4, St. Pats 1

Game 059
Canadiens 4, St. Pats 1
Saturday, March 1, 1924
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Canadiens qualified to meet Ottawa in the National Hockey League playoff by defeating the St. Patricks here Saturday night by 4 to 1.

The Flying Frenchmen won decisively, even more so than the score indicates, for the winners held the upper hand all through the bitterly fought contest. The Habitants had the offensive power, the Irish had not. And there is the story of the game in as many words.

The men of Dandurand conveyed the impression to more than 7,000 fans that Ottawa will have a mighty hard row to hoe in the playoff series, and the chances of the Eastern professional championship going Montréalwards have never been brighter since the little Napoleon added his fighting personality to the ranks of NHL leaders.

The Canadiens’ fast, tricky forward line brought back memories of the famous Lalonde-Pitre-Berlinquette combination of other years. The young attacking contingent of the visitors was at their best, and they swarmed in around goaler Roach like angry hornets. Their attacks bit deep into Irish territory and, on losing the puck, the forwards rushed back to take up their positions in front of the slow breaking St. Pats’ puck carriers. Noble and Dye were smothered on the wings, and Adams could not pierce the Cleghorn-Coutu second line. When the Irish did threaten, the ancient Georges Vézina rose to the occasion and blotted out their efforts with brilliant saves.

The Canadiens took the lead in the first period, when they scored midway in the session, but the visitors attack so overshadowed the Noble-Adams-Dye efforts that the fans were given an unmistakable inkling of the final result. Again in the second round the Habitants counted, but when Noble came back with the Green’s first and only goal, prospects brightened. Loose checking presented Joliat with an opportunity which he did not overlook, and the locals ended the period two goals behind. Another tally in the final session put the game far beyond reach, and the visitors played “rag” with the puck at every opportunity until the end.

With Howie Morenz playing his best game of the season in the pivot position, and with Aurèle Joliat and Billy Boucher swinging down the ice on the wings, manager Dandurand presented an offensive which ranks paramount in power in the Eastern circuit. The ex-Stratford player uncovered bursts of speed that sent him smashing through the Stuart-Corbeau defence, or into position to engineer plays which gave Joliat and Boucher their opportunities to challenge.

Joliat excelled himself around the Irish citadel, and on the defensive gave “Babe” Dye few chances to drive his bullet-like lifts at Vézina. Bill Boucher forced Roach to exert all his skill to keep him off the score sheet, and when not attacking he camped in Noble’s path like a cocky little sparrow teasing a great placid mastiff.

Georges Vézina has donned the pads many nights in many winters, but still he guards the corded cage with all the old skill, augmented by experience gained by years of outguessing the best goal getters in the sport. He rose to the occasion last night, and when the Coutu-Cleghorn defence faltered, he took the Irish shots on his big pads in brilliant style.

The St. Patricks regular forward line lacked its usual “punch,” and the brunt of the attack fell on the defence. The sorrell top of “Red” Stuart flashed up the ice time after time, as the colourful defenceman relieved the pressure. Bert Corbeau too took a hand in the attack, and the thrusts of this pair appeared much more effective than did those of the men whose business it is to get goals. Dye was smothered; Adams, nursing an injured rib, pluckily worked in close, but could not get his shot away at the right moment; while Reg Noble was given little peace by his check.

No substitutes were used by the St. Pats for 45 minutes, then Jackson relieved Stuart. In the third period Holway, the Irish rookie, was inserted at centre, and with Jackson on left wing, the locals made a stronger bid. Holway backchecked doggedly and opened up several speedy attacks. Chris Speyer, the ex-Aura Lee recruit, signalized his first pro appearance in the last four minutes of play by handing Joliat a stiff bodychceck. In the net, Ross Roach shared the honours with Vézina, and blocked the usual avalanche of swiftly driven pucks.

Billy Boucher launched several determined attacks to open the game, and the visitors kept plugging away until with Dye in the penalty box, Joliat stepped around Corbeau, passed to Morenz on the wing, and the latter let drive as he travelled in on Roach at breakneck speed. The puck bulged the corner of the net for the first counter of the game. Vézina turned aside the St. Patricks’ lone chance for an equalizer when he blocked a shot from Noble after the latter had worked in close a few minutes later.

Play lagged somewhat in the second period, and the Canadiens scored two easy goals. After seven minutes of play, Coutu relieved and shot from the blue line. The defencemen blocked Roach’s vision, and the little fellow did not glimpse the rubber until it rebounded from the twine. Five minutes later, Billy Boucher was penalized for tripping, and Noble took advantage of this respite in the checking by driving the puck past Vézina after receiving a pass from Stuart.

Joliat scored the Canadiens’ third tally when he was allowed to amuse himself around the locals’ goal. He held the puck for fully a minute behind the net, and then hooked it past Roach. Boucher claimed that he had scored a goal a few minutes later, and that the puck had gone through a hole in the net. On examination the hole was found, but the goal umpire ruled that it was “no goal,” and his opinion prevailed.

The St. Pats took a new lease of life when the substitutes were inserted in the third session, and it was easily their best period. But despite their improved efforts, Joliat managed to raise the Habitants’ total. He swept down right wing, and swooping around the net, hooked the rubber around the post for the cleverest goal of the game.

Story originally published in The Globe, March 3, 1924

1st Period
MTL PP GOAL – 09:15 – Morenz (Joliat)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:25 – Coutu
TOR PP GOAL – 05:25 – Noble (Stuart)
MTL SH GOAL – 10:25 – Joliat

3rd Period
MTL PP GOAL – 17:00 – Joliat

MTL – Morenz (2), Bi. Boucher, Coutu
TOR – Corbeau, Dye

MTL – Vézina (W)
TOR – Roach (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Georges Vézina. Defence: Sprague Cleghorn (C), Billy Coutu, Sylvio Mantha. Forwards: Billy Boucher, Bobby Boucher, Odie Cleghorn, Aurèle Joliat, Howie Morenz.
TORGoaltenders: John Ross Roach. Defence: Bert Corbeau, Albert Holway, Chris Speyer, Billy Stuart. Forwards: Jack Adams, Lloyd Andrews, Babe Dye, Stan Jackson, Reg Noble.

MTL – 12-11-0 (.522)
TOR – 10-13-0 (.435)