Game 172 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2

Game 172
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2
Thursday, January 23, 1941
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs, gaining strength as the game went on, came from behind to defeat the sixth place Canadiens 3-2 here tonight, and improve their position at the top of the National Hockey League standing.

A crowd of 11,328 paid customers watched the veteran Sweeney Schriner lift Billy Taylor’s rebound into the net late in the final period for a goal that climaxed the Leafs’ uphill battle. Toronto had fallen behind 2-1 in the initial session, but tied the count with the only marker of the second period.

For the Canadiens, it was their fifth successive setback against the only team they have failed to beat at least once this season. It was also the fifth time that coach Dick Irvin missed out in an effort to guide his new Canadiens to a victory over the team that he spent nine years building before switching to Montréal before this season.

Coach Irvin sent the Canadiens on a wide open offensive from the start of the match, and the strategy paid off when the youthful Habitants played rings around the Toronto veterans in the opening frame. It faded in the last two frames, however, before the brilliant work of the starry duo of centre Syl Apps and winger Gordie Drillon.

It was Apps and Drillon who played the major part of the Leafs’ attack in the last two frames, with Apps scoring in the initial period after Charlie Sands had sent Montréal into a 1-0 lead, and Drillon tying the count in the second period after Ray Getliffe had again put Montréal in front.

Coach Happy Day of the Leafs used the dangerous duo as “shock troops” in the final frame, throwing them on in quick minute shifts whenever a Montréal offensive became too hot. The strategy paid off when, after a Canadien offensive had been this blanketed, Billy Taylor came on to lead a Toronto rush, with Schriner banging in the winning tally on a rebound at 13:20.

Rugged at first, the game developed into a duel of speed after an initial session in which seven minor penalties were given. Sands got Montréal’s first counter at 5:32 while both sides were a man short, and Drillon and Nick Metz helped Apps bag the equalizer seven minutes later while Toronto held a man advantage.

The sides were at full strength when Getliffe broke through the Toronto defence to score a brilliant goal just before the initial period ended. Only two more penalties were given out in the rest of the match.

The Leafs knotted the count for the second time at 17:29 of the middle session, when Walt Stanowski and Apps relayed the puck to Drillon, who deked it past goalie Bert Gardiner. After Schriner’s third period goal, the Leafs held full command of play in the closing minutes, despite the Canadiens’ attempts to rally.

Missing from the Montréal lineup was an ex-Leaf, Murph Chamberlain, who came down with influenza a couple of days ago, and his place was taken by Louis Trudel, playing his first game after a long absence through injury. The Leafs iced only fourteen players, still playing without the services of Gus Marker, Jack Church and Don Metz.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 24, 1941

1st Period
MTL PEN – 04:05 – Portland
TOR PEN – 04:05 – Taylor
MTL GOAL – 05:32 – Sands (Reardon, Getliffe)
MTL PEN – 07:27 – Portland
TOR PEN – 07:27 – Kampman
MTL PEN – 07:27 – Reardon
TOR PEN – 07:27 – Stanowski
TOR GOAL – 13:45 – Apps (Drillon, Metz)
TOR PEN – 16:45 – McDonald
MTL GOAL – 19:46 – Getliffe (Drouin, Sands)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 10:37 – Goupille
TOR PEN – 10:37 – Davidson
TOR GOAL – 17:29 – Drillon (Stanowski, Apps)

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 15:20 – Schriner (Taylor)

TOR – Broda (W)
MTL – Gardiner (L)

TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Reg Hamilton, Bingo Kampman, Bucko McDonald, Wally Stanowski. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Lex Chisholm, Bob Davidson, Gordie Drillon, Red Heron, Pete Langelle, Nick Metz, Sweeney Schriner, Billy Taylor.
MTLGoaltenders: Bert Gardiner. Defence: Red Goupille, Jack Portland, Ken Reardon, Alex Singbush. Forwards: John Adams, Joe Benoit, Toe Blake (C), Tony Demers, Polly Drouin, Ray Getliffe, Elmer Lach, John Quilty, Charlie Sands, Lou Trudel.

TOR – 18-8-2 (.679)
MTL – 10-16-3 (.397)