Game 216 – Canadiens 1, Maple Leafs 0

Game 216
Canadiens 1, Maple Leafs 0
Saturday, December 8, 1945
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Leo Lamoureux, a strong armed marksman who moved into the National Hockey League as a wartime fugitive from the minors and stuck around to develop into a better than ordinary defenceman, fired the shot that broke up a sizzling hockey game at the Gardens Saturday night.

Early in the third period, Lamoureux let go with a drive from the Toronto blueline that filtered past Frank McCool for the only score in the 1-0 win registered by the Canadiens over the Leafs.

Three teammates stood between Leo and McCool as the puck hit the paydust trail. It turned out to be the most important incident in a game that was a goaltenders’ circus. Before and after that shot, McCool and Bill Durnan were the principal figures in the 60 minute show that saw the Canadiens and the Leafs in a puck chasing display as good as the packed house had seen in a long time.

Running close to the pace of the netminders was Babe Pratt, who was on probably the greatest bumping expedition of his checkered NHL career. Every time you looked, it was to see Pratt knocking somebody to the ice. Bucko McDonald at his height never hit more often and more effectively than the Honest Brakeman.

A crowd of 14,365 saw McCool and Durnan in a finished display of goaltending under our ultramodern hockey rules. Lamoureux’s goal just happened to be the shot that interrupted the picture of a Toronto team taking a new lease on life. It could just as easily have been the other way. But Lady Luck wasn’t on our side.

What stood out in our mind was a play that developed a few minutes after Lamoureux’s score. Maurice Richard, the Montréal “Rocket” and a 50 goal producer last winter, came up with a loose puck inside the Toronto defence. He whirled in on McCool, made his play, and suddenly discovered he had been beaten by the Toronto goalie, who brushed the puck into the corner deftly while the big gallery cheered madly.

The Leafs hit Durnan, goalposts and the end of the rink in their freewheeling demonstration.

Coach Dick Irvin said afterward it was the toughest game his club had gone through all season. Referee George Gravelle wasn’t available for quotes, but he must have figured it the same way, for the patrons delayed the game five minutes in the second period while they showered the rink with paper after he had thumbed Ernie Dickens to the cooler for charging Bouchard into the boards.

There was nothing wrong with the Leafs Saturday night. Nothing except the fact Old Dame Fortune guided Lamoureux’s blueline shot past McCool when the Leafs might just as well have had the same kind of break in their favour against Durnan.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 10, 1945

1st Period
MTL PEN – 05:41 – Harmon, major
TOR PEN – 05:41 – Kennedy
TOR PEN – 14:33 – Pratt

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 18:32 – Dickens
MTL PEN – 19:29 – Lach
TOR PEN – 19:29 – Goldham

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 04:20 – Lach
MTL GOAL – 06:43 – Lamoureux
MTL PEN – 10:53 – Bouchard
MTL PEN – 17:37 – Peters

MTL – Durnan (W + SO)
TOR – McCool (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Joe Benoit, Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Dutch Hiller, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, Buddy O’Connor, Jimmy Peters, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Frank McCool. Defence: Ernie Dickens, Bob Goldham, Babe Pratt, Wally Stanowski. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Gus Bodnar, Lorne Carr, Bob Davidson, Jackie Hamilton, Mel Hill, Ted Kennedy, Sweeney Schriner, Gaye Stewart, Billy Taylor.

MTL – 10-4-0 (.714)
TOR – 4-11-1 (.281)