Game 061 – Canadiens 5, St. Pats 2

Game 061
Canadiens 5, St. Pats 2
Wednesday, December 17, 1924
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Canadiens, Stanley Cup holders and one of the best teams in the history of the sport, had the punch last night and the St. Patricks didn’t, with the result that the locals lost by 5 to 2.

With eight minutes left to play the score was 2 to 2, but from then until the finish the Frenchmen dominated the play, and Aurèle Joliat scored three goals in succession. Joliat was not the only Canadien star, but he was there with the accurate shooting in the pinches and broke up the struggle.

The St. Patricks tried a new system in an effort to wear down the champions. They started Adams, McCaffrey and Fisher on the front line, and every now and again would take off the three of them in favour of Dye, Reid and Day. It was good policy at that, but the team play of the Frenchmen was vastly superior, and their trickiness and resourcefulness carried them through to a well earned victory.

“Howie” Morenz was the most consistent player on either team. Skating like a streak, he carried the puck in on bewildering, fearless attacks that thrilled the crowded Arena. Morenz is faster than ever, and every time he starts one of those sensational dashes, he brings the fans to their feet in a frenzy of excitement. The pity of it all is that Ontario teams let this great player get away from them. He is there a thousand ways.

The Sprague-Cleghorn-Coutu defence, with Vézina in front of the net, was mighty effective. Cleghorn never looked better. He wears well, to say the least. It was Cleghorn who scored the first goal of the game, and he got it after he had beaten the goal defence five minutes after the game began. He checked as cleverly as ever, and his rushes relieved some ticklish situations.

The Irish did better than expected. It was thought that the Canadiens would make a runaway affair of it, but they did nothing of the kind. The St. Patricks, fighting desperately to win the game and regain lost prestige, fought a courageous battle against big odds. They were down two goals early in the game, but they reduced this lead by one in the second period and tied the score in the last. Then they faded, and the Canadiens quickly made sure of a victory.

Harry Watson would have looked mighty good in a St. Patricks uniform. He might even have reversed the verdict, for there is no better forward anywhere than Watson, and there are some particularly clever front line men in the National League. But Watson was not there, and it may be that he will never chase a puck in the pro circuit.

The Canadiens appear to be even stronger than they were last winter. Their team play has improved, although it was noticeable on occasions that some of the players were selfish. Pressed to the limit, however, it is likely that all of them would use combination, and under these conditions they would lose very few games. It is on the defence that the Canadiens appear to be more formidable than the flashy Hamilton team which drubbed the St. Patricks here recently by 10 to 3.

Owner Léo Dandurand handled his team in his usual capable way, and also made good use of his substitutes, Art Mantha and Odie Cleghorn. The latter is more effective than he has been for several years, and his stickhandling was a treat. He tried repeatedly to break through the heavy checking Toronto defence, but was generally sent sprawling. Mantha relieved Coutu when the latter tired.

“Happy” Day was one of the best men for the locals, and he scored his first goal in professional ranks when his shot from outside the defence completely fooled Vézina in the second period. Bert Corbeau did a lot of useful checking and worked hard throughout the game. Adams gave his best on the forward line, but was closely watched by the speedy Morenz.

The Canadiens jumped into the lead early on Cleghorn’s shot, and eight minutes later Boucher and Morenz combined neatly to score the second, Morenz passing to Boucher after drawing Roach out of the net. Then the fun was on in earnest, and under the fast pace, the Frenchmen fell back on a defensive game.

They continued these tactics in the second period and wasted good chances to add to the tally, but when the St. Patricks tied the count in the last period, the visitors hit their stride. One minute after the St. Pats had evened the score, Joliat drilled the puck in on a shot from centre ice. Five minutes later, he came back with another, and then from the faceoff he repeated.

The breakup came so suddenly that the St. Patricks’ followers were stunned. When Joliat scored his second goal, the fans started for the exits and just to speed them on their way, he landed another in jig time.

Story originally published in The Globe, December 18, 1924

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 05:00 – S. Cleghorn
MTL GOAL – 08:00 – Boucher (Morenz)

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 15:00 – Day

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 12:00 – Dye (Day, McCaffrey)
MTL GOAL – 13:00 – Boucher
MTL GOAL – 18:00 – Joliat
MTL GOAL – 18:10 – Joliat

MTL – S. Cleghorn (2)
TOR – Adams (2), Corbeau (2)

MTL – Vézina (W)
TOR – Roach (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Georges Vézina. Defence: Sprague Cleghorn (C), Billy Coutu, Sylvio Mantha. Forwards: Billy Boucher, Odie Cleghorn, Aurèle Joliat, Johnny Matz, Howie Morenz.
TORGoaltenders: John Ross Roach (C). Defence: Bert Corbeau, Hap Day, Albert Holway. Forwards: Jack Adams, Babe Dye, Alvin Fisher, Bert McCaffrey, Reg Reid.

MTL – 5-1-0 (.833)
TOR – 2-4-0 (.333)