Game 107 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 0

Game 107
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 0
Saturday, January 23, 1932
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Two goals, one scored close to the end of the first period when the Canadiens were a man short through a penalty, and the other within thirty seven seconds of the end of the game, served to give the Maple Leafs a shutout victory over the world’s professional hockey champions at Maple Leaf Gardens on Saturday night before 13,200 spectators.

It was a great game of hockey. Both teams pressed the whole repertoire of their bag of tricks into the play, which was fast and clean and exciting for the most part. That one goal lead obtained by the Leafs in the opening frame was a slender margin upon which to hang a victory, and there were numerous occasions when it appeared as if the speedy visitors would wipe it out. But how the Leafs hung to it!

When “Red” Horner drew a major penalty midway through the initial session and left the Leafs shorthanded for five minutes, the Flying Frenchmen could not score. On three or four occasions when visiting puck carriers broke through the Toronto defence and had only Lorne Chabot to beat they could not score. When, in the last four minutes of the third period, manager Cecil Hart removed his defencemen and put five forwards on the ice to launch a “ganging” attack on the Toronto net, the Maple Leafs held them, and then, to cap the climax of one of the most spirited contests seen here this season, the Leafs made certain of victory by a last minute goal that brought the capacity house to its feet and resulted in a shower of programs on the ice as the fans gave full expression to their delight.

The victory placed the Leafs five points ahead of their nearest and most dangerous group rivals. It atoned somewhat for the 3 to 1 defeat handed them at Montréal by the Canadiens two nights previously, and it proved a pleasing climax to two strenuous weeks of campaigning, during which they played seven games, winning four and losing three.

Joe Primeau and Frank Finnigan scored the two Toronto goals. Harvey Jackson and Primeau figured in both of them. Primeau netted Jackson’s rebound off Hainsworth’s pads with about a minute left to play in the first period, and Finnigan drove the puck into the cage off Primeau’s rebound after the latter had taken a pass from Jackson less than a minute before full time. That was all there was to the scoring end of the contest, but it gives little hint of the speedy pace maintained by both teams, the hard checking or the brilliant blocking display of the goal guardians.

That the great Howie Morenz and some of his teammates did not enter into the scoring lists was largely due to an outstanding performance by Chabot, who was unbeatable. He earned a shutout, but there were many occasions when it seemed almost impossible to keep the Canadiens from scoring. For half a minute near the end of the third period, the visitors fairly buzzed around the Toronto net with Chabot down on the ice warding off the puck with his outstretched arms, and after this tense situation was relieved, the fans cheered almost as frantically as they did when Finnigan’s goal definitely put victory out of the visitors’ reach.

George Hainsworth, in the opposite net, was almost as hard to beat as Chabot. Both Toronto goals were scored rom only a few feet in front of the goal mouth. Hainsworth was caught out of position on each one of them, but only after he had made excellent stops of previous shots, and was attempting to clear the puck. The Leafs had their share of the “breaks,” but they missed a number of good scoring chances also, as did the Canadiens, by the merest fraction of an inch.

Considering the speed and brand of hockey played, there was little to choose between the teams. The Leafs appeared stronger defensively, but if they had any margin there it was not a great one. The Canadiens bunched their attacks more than the Leafs, and frequently spoiled their goalward dashes on this account. They hurried their shooting more too, but that was mainly because they were constantly hurried by the persistent checking of the Toronto players.

Horner’s major penalty resulted from a cut inflicted on Marty Burke’s face as the two players struggled in the Canadiens’ goalmouth. “Red” had combined with Gracie in a two man attack, and had gone in on the net to get the rebound from Gracie’s shot. Hainsworth stopped the puck, but it caught in some part of his pads and Horner tried to shove Hainsworth, puck and all, into the cage. The rubber did fall into the cage and the red light flashed, but the officials would not allow a score. It was while Horner was struggling with Hainsworth that Burke rushed in, and in the melee, received the cut which automatically resulted in a five minute rest for Horner.

Referee Hewitson was nearly sent off for repairs during the term of Horner’s banishment. He was caught in a jam of players behind the Toronto net as the Canadiens were making a frantic effort to score, and the little official was shaken up for a moment in addition to injuring his knee.

Chabot made two remarkable stops during this defensive display of the Leafs, and other feature saves that he made during this period were once when Gagnon was right in on him, and again when Larochelle was through the defence with a golden opportunity to score.

The Leafs finally beat Hainsworth when the Canadiens were a man short through a penalty to Pit Lépine. Harvey Jackson carried the puck down after circling the Toronto net. He worked partially through the Canadiens’ defence, swerved and delivered a shot at Hainsworth, which was stopped. But before the goalkeeper could clear, Primeau was there to bat the rubber into the net.

There was no scoring in the second period, but both nets had close calls. A penalty to Joliat paved the way for some strong attacking by the Leafs in the early stages, but after he returned Chabot was kept busy warding off shots from the visiting snipers. Once, with an empty net yawning wide in front of him, Morenz’s shot glanced off from the goalpost. Horner drew a two minute penalty, and the Leafs were extended to the limit to keep the Canadiens from tying the score until “Red” returned.

Conacher and Jackson collided head on about this time, as Harvey was circling inside the visitors’ defence and Charlie was dashing in from the wing. Jackson was cut in the head, while Conacher got a bump under the chin that required some adhesive tape. Joe Primeau nearly met with an injury in this frame, when he was tripped by Sylvio Mantha as he came charging in on the Canadiens’ net. Joe landed head first into the cage like one of Charlie Conacher’s shots, while Mantha drew what proved to be the final penalty of the game. Primeau was unhurt, although somewhat shaken up.

The final period was a succession of rushes by first one team and then the other, with honours about even. With four minutes to go, the Canadiens, as a final resort to get the tying goal, put five forwards on the ice, and the tiring Leafs were hard pressed to retain their lead. Finally, Jackson broke away and charged through the Canadiens’ defence. His shot was somewhat deflected, but Primeau picked up the puck and blazed it at Hainsworth. The rubber bounced off the goalkeeper’s pads, and as he stepped out of his net to clear it, Finnigan beat him to it and drove the puck into the net.

While Primeau and Jackson corralled the honours for the “Kid” forward line on this occasion, Conacher’s work was no less important. He didn’t figure in the scoring, but he backchecked strongly, and he thrilled the fans with many of his terrific shots at the net. He deserved a goal or two, but the nearest he came to getting one was in the second period, when his drive from close in hit the goalpost, much to Hainsworth’s relief.

Finnigan played a fine game on this occasion, especially when the Leafs were shorthanded. Blair was also good, and Gracie, although used sparingly, flashed as much speed as Morenz. But Chabot was the standout performer for the Leafs, with honours about equally divided between the four defencemen, who worked like Trojans, and had to keep the visitors away from the net.

Howie Morenz delighted the fans by frequent speedy dashes, and the way he tried to streak through the defence at times provided several thrills. Once he tried to hurtle around Jackson. His skate must have grazed Harvey closely, for the youthful left winger played the rest of the game with a three-cornered tear in his pants. Joliat, Gagnon, Larochelle, S. Mantha and Burke were the other outstanding visitors in addition to Hainsworth. Lesieur and Dunc Munro were used occasionally for defence relief. Pit Lépine, who usually gives an excellent display here, was not so effective on this occasion.

Story originally published in The Globe, January 25, 1932

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 18:55 – Primeau (Horner, Jackson)
TOR PEN – Horner (major + minor)

2nd Period
MTL PENS – Joliat, Lépine

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 19:23 – Finnigan (Primeau, Jackson)
MTL PEN – S. Mantha

TOR – Chabot (W + SO)
MTL – Hainsworth (L)

TORGoaltenders: Lorne Chabot. Defence: King Clancy, Hap Day (C), Red Horner, Alex Levinsky. Forwards: Ace Bailey, Andy Blair, Charlie Conacher, Baldy Cotton, Harold Darragh, Frank Finnigan, Bob Gracie, Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau.
MTLGoaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: Marty Burke, Art Lesieur, Georges Mantha, Sylvio Mantha (C), Dunc Munro. Forwards: Johnny Gagnon, Aurèle Joliat, Wildor Larochelle, Pit Lépine, Armand Mondou, Howie Morenz, Nick Wasnie.

TOR – 13-10-5 (.554)
MTL – 11-12-4 (.481)