Game 217 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 3

Game 217
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 3
Thursday, December 13, 1945
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Dave “Sweeney” Scrhiner continues to haunt the Montréal Canadiens and his former coach, Dick Irvin. It was Schriner’s third period goal off a rebound of Billy Taylor’s shot that gave the Toronto Leafs a 4-3 win over the league leading Habitants here tonight.

Schriner has missed scoring against the Canadiens only a couple of games in five seasons’ competition for the Leafs, and since Irvin shifted from Toronto to Montréal. And Sweeney loves it, for Irvin once benched him for the first time in his pro career.

The loss was the first suffered by the Habitants on their home ice this season, and enabled the slow-starting Toronto club to move out of a cellar place tie with the New York Rangers, who were beaten by the Chicago Black Hawks. The defeat left the Montréalers only one point ahead of the second place Hawks.

The Leafs showed a lot of fight, coming from behind an early 2-0 Canadien lead. The Montréal defence appeared weak at times, as their rearguards failed to clear the puck in front of Bill Durnan. The Canadiens were minus the services of their stellar blocker, Butch Bouchard, and his driving style of play was greatly missed.

Toronto scoring honours spread out between Bob Goldham, Jackie Hamilton, Billy Taylor and Sweeney Schriner. The Montréal marksmen were Joe Benoit, Elmer Lach and Toe Blake.

The Canadiens earned the only goal of the opening session when wingman Joe Benoit deflected Glen Harmon’s long shot into the cage. Frank McCool’s vision was blocked on the play, and the Toronto netminder had no chance.

The Habitants went two up shortly after the second period got under way, when Elmer Lach stickhandled his way through the entire Leaf team to beat McCool. Then the break for the Leafs came when Babe Pratt took a minor penalty for swinging his stick at Dutch Hiller. While he was fenced, the Leafs twice broke away from Canadien power plays for two quick goals.

Bob Goldham got the first of these on a brilliant solo effort when he stole the rubber behind the Canadiens’ cage and worked his way around the side of the net to surprise Durnan with a neat flip. Jackie Hamilton scored the second, also unassisted, when he picked up a loose puck at his own blue line and shook off the Canuck pursuers to race in on Durnan all alone, and blast a low shot into the twine after pulling the Montréal custodian out of the cage.

Toronto went in front 3-2 near the halfway mark of the same session on Taylor’s goal. Billy took a long pass from Hamilton as he was crossing the Canadien blue line and worked his way around the Montréal defence to fire the rubber past Durnan from a sharp angle.

The Canadiens came back with a determined offensive, and at the 14:54 mark they came on even terms, 3-3, when Blake connected on a combination play with linemates Richard and Lach.

Toronto wasted little time in scoring what proved to be the clincher in the third, Sweeney Schriner slamming home Taylor’s rebound at 2:15. Durnan had stopped there successive drives from Leaf attacks, and was lying on his back far out of his cage when Schriner fired the winner.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 14, 1945

1st Period
MTL PEN – 00:29 – Reardon
MTL GOAL – 07:12 – Benoit (Harmon, Hiller)
TOR PEN – 09:56 – Pratt
MTL PEN – 12:02 – Benoit

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:29 – Lach
TOR GOAL – 02:22 – Goldham
TOR PEN – 05:45 – Davidson
TOR PEN – 08:35 – Taylor
TOR PEN – 10:00 – Pratt
TOR SH GOAL – 11:28 – Hamilton
TOR GOAL – 12:16 – Taylor (Hamilton)
MTL GOAL – 14:54 – Blake (Richard, Lach)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 01:04 – Reardon
TOR PP GOAL – 02:15 – Schriner (Taylor)
MTL PEN – 07:33 – Richard

TOR – McCool (W)
MTL – Durnan (L)

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.
MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Frank Eddolls, 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.

TOR – 5-12-1 (.306)
MTL – 10-6-0 (.625)