Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Saturday, November 11, 1944
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON
The Toronto Leafs were monarchs of all they surveyed, as they bowled over the Stanley Cup champion Montréal Canadiens at Maple Leaf Gardens Saturday night by a 3-1 count.
The biggest early season crowd in Gardens history, with an attendance count of 14,839, eyewitnessed the puck chasing parade in which the Leafs took a one goal command in the first period and were never headed.
Sweeney Schriner was the master workman in a Toronto hockey system that packed more offensive continuity and much better defensive qualities than the defenders of the world’s professional championship laurels.
It was Schriner who wheeled inside the Montréal defence behind blocking that was better than anything seen on either Hamilton or Varsity Stadium gridirons Saturday afternoon, to bag a second Toronto goal midway through the third period. It was Schriner who fashioned the play for Bodnar’s second goal late in the same period.
Less than three minutes before the final bugle, Buddy O’Connor cut across the front of the Toronto nets and backhanded a shot behind Frank McCool to rob the rookie Leaf netminder of a shutout.
McCool had an important role in the reception script prepared by coach Hap Day for the Canadiens. Probably the most inexperienced athlete ever to be tossed into a National Hockey League goaltending spot, McCool handled everything a battling Montréal team had to offer until O’Connor flipped his late third period twine catcher.
Bodnar put the Leafs out in front early in the first period as a result of a lucky break. The puck bounced behind Bill Durnan after hitting defenceman Leo Lamoureux of the Canadiens. Although it was the only score of the 20 minute stretch, the Leafs outplayed the visitors both on attack and in defence patrol.
The Canadiens and McCool looked their best in the second period. The champions fired their best shots in this chapter, and McCool answered the challenge like a Vézina Trophy winner. His best plays were against Getliffe and Blake, two outstanding hockey operators. Toronto’s top scoring bid was on a play from Bob Davidson to “Teeder” Kennedy.
Lamoureux was in the penalty box when Schriner ran in the winning goal in the third period, his eighth tally in six games. Getliffe and Chamberlain were knocked off their skates by effective Toronto blockers, Babe Pratt directing. The puck went skidding from Bodnar to Carr, and then to Schriner for the finishing touch. Eddolls and Field couldn’t stop the charge, and Getliffe and Chamberlain were sprawled on the ice in the centre zone while the big play was on.
At 15:25 in the same period, Schriner broke up a Montréal play along the boards in the centre zone. Three visitors were trapped behind the move. Schriner drew the defence out of position and dumped a pass to Bodnar for the third Toronto score.
In the waning seconds of the game, McCool did an expert job of puck blocking against Maurice Richard, the fast moving Montréaler, and at the other end of the rink, Durnan robbed Schriner on a play that looked good enough to produce another goal.
It was the sixth straight win for the Leafs, and Schriner’s sixth game in which he has collected at least one goal.
With two goals and an assist, young Bodnar, the rookie of the year last season, sneaked to the front in the scoring race, one point in advance of Schriner.
Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 13, 1944
TOR GOAL – 02:25 – Bodnar
TOR PEN – 12:01 – Ezinicki
MTL PEN – 17:27 – Getliffe
TOR PEN – 02:12 – Davidson
MTL PEN – 04:35 – Field
TOR PEN – 05:30 – Kennedy
MTL PEN – 06:28 – Lamoureux
TOR PP GOAL – 08:07 – Schriner (Carr, Johnstone)
TOR PEN – 10:00 – Backor
TOR GOAL – 15:25 – Bodnar (Schriner)
MTL GOAL – 17:26 – O’Connor (Hiller)
TOR – McCool (W)
MTL – Durnan (L)
TOR – Goaltenders: Frank McCool. Defence: Pete Backor, Reg Hamilton, Ross Johnstone, Babe Pratt. Forwards: Gus Bodnar, Lorne Carr, Bob Davidson (C), Bill Ezinicki, Mel Hill, Ted Kennedy, Nick Metz, Tom O’Neill, Sweeney Schriner.
MTL – Goaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Frank Eddolls, Wilf Field. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Fern Gauthier, Ray Getliffe, Dutch Hiller, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, Buddy O’Connor, Maurice Richard.