Game 081 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1

Game 081
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1
Tuesday, February 7, 1928
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Cecil Hart’s Flying Frenchmen made their second visit of the season to Toronto last night, and while they carried off a victory as on the previous visit, it will be remembered that the Leafs were considerably snowed under on the first occasion.

Last night, before another near capacity crowd at Arena Gardens, the Canadiens were only able to defeat the badly crippled Leads by a 2 to 1 count, and their two tallies came at a time when the local opposition was reduced to something several parasangs lower than a forlorn hope. In addition, the game provided more thrills than a fogbound transatlantic flight, and it stirred the fans to such a pitch at one point that it began to appear as if police protection for the referees would be necessary.

While there were many thrills in the first and last periods, the midway session was the most dramatic of the three. All the goalgetting was crowded into this frame, and most of the trouble. The contest was warming up into a spirited and highly exciting pastime, with both teams striving for the first goal following a goalless first period, when the big upset came.

Irvin Bailey gave the battling Leafs the advantage when he fooled George Hainsworth by circling the Canadiens’ net and pushing the puck through the goalkeeper’s feet into the goal. It was an advantage the Canadiens pressed hard to overcome, and under the steam of speedy attacks of Morenz, Joliat and Lépine, the Leafs drew three successive penalties, and the contest became a joke.

Duncan was penalized for a bodycheck behind his own blue line, Rodden was banned for holding the puck, and Cox for another bodycheck. Under this handicap, the Leafs wilted. Three men, one of them a goalkeeper, cannot stand up under the systematic attack of any team, especially when that team possesses the leading scorers in the league. The wonder is the Flying Frenchmen did not run up a much larger total.

Roach, whose display of netminding all through the game was featured with remarkable stops and saves, stood up against a bombardment that few goalkeepers are called upon to face, and the two goals that beat him were more than well earned. While the crowd booed the referees and hurled papers, programs, rubbers and coins on the ice, the little goalkeeper held the Canadiens at bay until Leduc finally worked his way into the goalmouth, almost by sheer strength, and tied the score. A minute and a half later, the brilliant Morenz beat Roach with what proved to be the winning tally, when he drove one of his bullet-like shots straight into the net from fifteen feet in front, while Roach’s view was partially obscured by one of the Toronto defencemen.

The game was twice stopped by the officials until the ice could be cleared of debris buried by the angry crowd. The second time, a delay of five minutes was necessary. It was a bad break for the Toronto team. Despite the loss of Day and Carson, the Leafs showed a fighting courage that was remarkable under the circumstances. They won a host of friends by their plucky display, and though they were outplayed considerably at times, they fought grimly on with a spirit that would not admit defeat until the final bell shattered all hope of a victory.

Morenz, Joliat, Gardner, Lépine and Gagné probably never before were robbed of so many golden opportunities to score as in last night’s game. Time and time again, these players had only Roach to beat, and the “game” little goalkeeper outguessed them. Morenz was particularly brilliant on the attack, and he was almost a whole team in himself. But the only shot he fooled Roach on was one that the net guardian didn’t have a “snowball’s chance” on. Roach was many points ahead of Morenz on the night’s dust between the two.

The temperamental Joliat did not appear so prominently in the contest as is his custom in Toronto games. He flashed some of his cleverness and attacking ability at times, but appeared subdued and content to let the other chaps force the play for the most part.

Lépine worked well with Morenz, but shot much on his own account, while Gagné wasn’t used to any extent. Hart, Gaudreault, Langlois and Leduc were prominent during brief moments, while Gardner was his usual effective self. Hainsworth still retains his sangfroid, and he handles pucks with the same careless ease and grace that has stamped him as one of the hardest goalkeepers to beat in the game.

For the Leafs, Art Duncan, Keeling, Bailey and Cox were probably the best outside of Roach, but Herbert, who was hurt in the first period, Lowrey and Roddie gave excellent displays, and Beattie Ramsay was not the least of the good performers on the defence. Herbert’s injury resulted from stopping a fast puck on an unprotected ankle, and while he was off during the second period, he came back in the final period, apparently none the worse.

Undoubtedly the demonstration by the fans in the middle session was one of the worst seen in Toronto for some time, but in a game such as last night’s, feeling runs high, and it takes little to provoke a demonstration. Apart altogether from the question of the fairness of the referee’s decisions, there was little occasion for the paper throwing, and such exhibitions gain nothing.

There was a feeling of tension between the players, and feuds broke out occasionally. Morenz received four minor penalties in the final period. Leduc cut Rodden down with his stick at one time, but escaped a major. The Leafs drew more penalties than the visitors, but there was little question about the majority of them. What riled the fans was that they should come so thick and often at the very time the locals needed every man on the ice.

In many respects, it was one of the most thrilling games seen in Toronto this season, and was productive of some real clever hockey. The Leafs with Day and Carson in the lineup might not have fared much better last night, so well did the remaining players perform.

Story originally published in The Globe, February 8, 1928

1st Period
MTL PEN – Gagné
TOR PENS – Keeling, Rodden

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 05:00 – Bailey
MTL PP2 GOAL – 08:00 – Leduc
MTL PP2 GOAL – 10:00 – Morenz
MTL PEN – Leduc
TOR PENS – Bailey, Cox, Duncan, Keeling, Rodden

3rd Period
MTL PENS – Morenz (4), Gardiner, Joliat
TOR PENS – Rodden (2), Cox, Herbert

MTL – Hainsworth (W)
TOR – Roach (L)

MTLGoaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: Herb Gardiner, Albert Leduc, Sylvio Mantha (C). Forwards: Art Gagné, Leo Gaudreault, Gizzy Hart, Aurèle Joliat, Charlie Langlois, Wildor Larochelle, Pit Lépine, Howie Morenz.
TORGoaltenders: John Ross Roach. Defence: Art Duncan, Beattie Ramsay. Forwards: Ace Bailey, Danny Cox, Jimmy Herbert, Butch Keeling, Gerry Lowrey, Eddie Rodden.

MTL – 19-5-5 (.741)
TOR – 14-12-3 (.534)