Game 068 – St. Pats 6, Canadiens 2

Game 068
St. Pats 6, Canadiens 2
Saturday, January 23, 1926
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

With hardly a murmur raised against the decisions of the referees, the St. Patricks’ professionals drubbed the Canadiens here on Saturday night by 6 to 2, and remained in the running for third place in the National League standing.

The fans were most sportsmanlike in their attitude. The Flying Frenchmen opened the play at a terrific pace, but the Irish hung on “gamely,” and finally the visitors lost their confidence and began to fade away. They had no excuses. The St. Pats’, on the night’s performance, were the better team.

The Canadiens were undoubtedly handicapped by the absence of their two best defencemen, Leduc and Coutu. The former is injured, and Coutu, who is the captain of the team, is under suspension because of his attack on referee Jerry Laflamme in the wild battle against Ottawa at the Mount Royal rink last Tuesday night. Just before the game began, a telegram was sent to manager Dandurand by president Calder of the NHL, warning Dandurand not to use Coutu.

Joe Matte, always a favourite in Toronto, started on the defence, and was better offensively than otherwise. His corkscrew rushes delighted the fans, but he has had little practice this season, and manager Dandurand found it necessary to use Joliat on the defence during the greater part of the game.

Morenz failed to lead his team to victory, but with the score 4 to 0 in the second period, he opened up those whirling Dervish attacks that have made him famous, and combining with Mantha, he scored two goals in succession. This brilliant exponent of the winter pastime also demonstrated that he has developed a shot as fast as that of “Babe” Dye. Goalkeeper Roach was in serious danger of being injured by some of these ride-fire drives.

The St. Pats’ shone in every position. There were no weaklings out there on Saturday night. They seemed to realize that their losing days were over, and they battled with a courage born of despair. Roach was as good as ever in goal, and Corbeau and McCaffrey starred on the defence. It was on the front, however, that the locals showed to the best advantage.

Pete Bellefeuille has struck his stride. Two years ago he was hailed as the fastest skater in the sport, but he faded away. On Saturday, he came back to measure strides with Morenz, the fastest man in the pro league, and he kept pace with him so consistently that the flash from Stratford resented such close attention, and tried to bodycheck Bellefeuille out of action, but Bellefeuille showed them all that he has the courage. Twice he drove the puck behind Rhéaume, and on three other occasions, ill fortune alone deprived him of well earned counters.

Adams was resourceful at centre, and scored one goal, while “Babe” Dye had his fake shot working so well that he tricked his way through for two counters. Dye wasn’t able to skate very fast, but he was thinking several laps ahead of the checkers. Bellefeuille and Dye each scored in rapid succession midway in the second period after tricking the whole Canadien team by use of the fake shot. Each player went down centre ice and walked right in on Rhéaume. The St. Pats had outscored the Frenchmen 2 to 0 in the opener, McCaffrey and Adams doing the pinch hitting.

With a four goal lead, the Irish appeared to be on easy street, but they began to weaken when Morenz opened up his thrilling attacks, and to the consternation of the fans, the visitors reduced the lead by two before the second intermission. The Canadiens incidentally looked good enough at this stage to overcome the lead, but the local management sent their regulars into action in the final dash, and when Bellefeuille and Dye scored, it was all over but the cheering.

The local relief men were all used, Shay at left wing, Neville playing centre, Dye right wing and centre, and Cain on the defence. Day played his best game of the season, and appears to have regained the form that made him one of the best forwards in the league last winter.

Aurèle Joliat carried a chip on his shoulder all evening. He didn’t take kindly to the bumps handed out by the locals, and if his looks could kill, the Irish would have been in serious danger. Once in the second period he raced at Corbeau, and the latter, thinking that he was about to be attacked, struck at the visitor with his stick. He was benched. Incidentally, Corbeau got three penalties, and McCaffrey got the only other one given to the Irish. Mantha was the bad man for the visitors, being chased three times. Boucher was banished twice and Pit Lépine once.

The St. Pats will play against the Canadiens at the Mount Royal rink tomorrow night, and judging by Saturday’s performance, they are likely to win again. If they stand up under fire, they will make it two straight. The jeers and wild demonstrations of the frenzied fans failed to give the Canadiens a victory in their last three starts on Montréal ice.

Story originally published in The Globe, January 25, 1926

1st Period
TOR SH GOAL – 16:00 – McCaffrey
TOR GOAL – 19:30 – Adams

2nd Period
TOR PP GOAL – 09:30 – Bellefeuille (Dye)
TOR GOAL – 10:30 – Dye
MTL GOAL – 12:00 – Morenz (Mantha)
MTL GOAL – 18:30 – Morenz (Mantha)

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 05:00 – Bellefeuille
TOR GOAL – 06:00 – Dye (McCaffrey)

TOR – Corbeau (3), McCaffrey
MTL – Mantha (3), Boucher (2), P. Lépine

TOR – Roach (W)
MTL – Rhéaume (L)

TORGoaltenders: John Ross Roach. Defence: Francis Cain, Bert Corbeau (C), Hap Day, Normand Shay. Forwards: Jack Adams, Pete Bellefeuille, Babe Dye, Bert McCaffrey, Mike Neville, Gordon Spence.
MTLGoaltenders: Herb Rhéaume. Defence: Sylvio Mantha, Joe Matte, Roland Paulhus, Dave Ritchie. Forwards: Billy Boucher, Aurèle Joliat, Wildor Larochelle, Hec Lépine, Pit Lépine, Howie Morenz.

TOR – 6-10-1 (.382)
MTL – 8-10-0 (.444)