Game 075 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2

Game 075
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, February 24, 1927
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Howie Morenz, the Stratford speedster, was the only member of Les Canadiens who could shoot on the Toronto nets last night at the Arena Gardens with any degree of effectiveness. But Howie made up for the shortcomings of his teammates by collecting enough bullet like drives with goal tags on them to beat the Toronto NHL representatives by the score of 3 to 2.

Considering that two of Mr. Morenz’s goals were shots that ordinarily would have been blocked in the able manner which John Ross Roach employs to protect his team’s interests, Les Canadiens were rather fortunate to say the least.

As a thrilling game of hockey last night’s display left little to be desired. Only in the second period did the Flying Frenchmen show any trace of mastery over the locals, and then they were only able to draw up on even terms. Despite the fact they outscored the Toronto team in the final frame, the visitors did not outplay the locals.

In the closing minutes of the fracas, the men from Montréal were given a very hot and fatiguing session during which the Toronto team demoralized the visiting defence, and did about everything but score on Hainsworth. In the gruelling struggle to even the score, Bert Corbeau produced some of the most feverish attacking seen in the game, and at one time he took a dive into the Canadiens’ goal that was only marred by the fact that the puck did not dive in with him.

Toronto was weakened in the second and third period by the retirement of Keeling. Keeling was ill before the game began with a touch of tonsillitis, and he appeared for only a few minutes in the first frame. With Bill Carson not yet fully recovered from his bad shoulder, but still pluckily taking his share of the relieving, the local club was shy a couple of capable substitutes, and the burden of winning the game fell on the shoulders of the more experienced regulars, who seemed to have it well in hand until Morenz uncorked a couple of waist high drives that upset the whole result.

Toronto came out of the first period with a one goal lead. It was a clever play that brought about this pleasing event. George Patterson, who seems to have acquired the habit of scoring the first goal of the game, took a pass from Bailey, who was gathering the puck from behind the goal, and Hainsworth was given no chance to save. It was Bailey who set the stage for this counter. He drilled a shot through the defence and went in after it fast. In the effort to thwart Bailey, Patterson was left uncovered by the Canadiens’ defence. The goal came after fifteen minutes of play.

The visitors uncorked some speed in an effort to tie the score during the closing minutes of the period, but Roach was unbeatable. Several times, swift sorties by Joliat, Morenz, Lépine and Leduc brought the puck close to the Toronto nets, but some wild shooting and some clever stopping prevented a tally.

It was not until 13 minutes of the middle frame had expired before Morenz started his deadly shooting. He was given much assistance by Gardiner, who paved the way for the first goal when he broke up a Toronto attack and got a clear break for the goal. Morenz hovered close and took the pass which enabled him to skirt the defence and come sweeping in on Roach from the wing. The shot hit the nets off Roach’s pads.

In this period the Canadiens outplayed the locals a trifle and teamed up better. Toronto’s passing game, which looked effective in the first frame, was not nearly as useful in the middle twenty minutes, and the Canadiens were swooping down the ice two and three abreast in dangerous assaults on the local defence, while the locals fell back on individual effort.

The third period was different. Toronto took the lead on a solo effort by “Hap” Day, who rushed down the left wing boards and drilled a speedy shot ankle high that Hainsworth didn’t even see. His attention was distracted apparently by Bailey, or was it Carson, who was tearing in to take a pass, and in the moment that Hainsworth’s gaze strayed from Day, the puck arrived in the net. It looked as though this goal might be the winning one, but the determined Mr. Morenz would not have it so.

In less than two minutes, he and Gardiner repeated their second period act, and though Morenz’s shot was from the boards, it found an opening through the usually impenetrable defence of Roach, and hit the corner of the net. It was great marksmanship by the former Stratford star, and he deserved the goal.

The fans were not so much upset by this goal as the one which followed three minutes later. Morenz found a loose puck near the blue line and promptly hoisted it toward the Toronto nets. Roach had a clear chance to block, but somehow the rubber eluded him, and for the first time in the game, the Canadiens took the lead.

That they held it to the end was due to the cool and clever goalminding of George Hainsworth, who put up the shutters against the frantic attacks of the local sharpshooters. The Canadiens were outplayed in the last few minutes, and Hainsworth had to be good to keep Toronto off the score sheet.

Morenz, Gardiner, Joliat and Lépine were the pick of the visitors, while Bailey, Corbeau, Day and Patterson stood out for Toronto. The game was clean, less than half a dozen penalties being handed out. There were indications of ill feeling between the players at times, but they restrained their tempers and attended to the business of playing hockey. The crowd numbered around five thousand.

Story originally published in The Globe, February 25, 1927

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 15:03 – Patterson (Bailey)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 13:50 – Morenz (Gardiner)

MTL PEN – Joliat
TOR PEN – McCaffrey

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 05:18 – Day (Bailey)
MTL GOAL – 07:18 – Hart (Gardiner)
MTL GOAL – 09:03 – Morenz
TOR PEN – Corbeau

MTL – Hainsworth (W)
TOR – Roach (L)

MTLGoaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: Herb Gardiner, Albert Leduc, Sylvio Mantha (C). Forwards: Art Gagné, Art Gauthier, Gizzy Hart, Aurèle Joliat, Wildor Larochelle, Pit Lépine, Howie Morenz.
TORGoaltenders: John Ross Roach. Defence: Bill Brydge, Bert Corbeau (C), Hap Day, Harold Halderson. Forwards: Ace Bailey, Bill Carson, Butch Keeling, Bert McCaffrey, George Patterson, Carl Voss.

MTL – 18-13-2 (.576)
TOR – 10-21-4 (.343)