Game 280 – Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 1

Game 280
Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, December 20, 1950
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

With heavyweights Harry Watson and Fern Flaman capably taking care of extra-curricular fistic activities, the Toronto Maple Leafs literally walloped the Montréal Canadiens at the Gardens last night. The score of the hockey game was 6-1.

The score of the fights, of a calibre which must have made promoter Frank Tunney and matchmaker Jack Allen drool, was two clearcut victories for Watson and Flaman.

Watson, a powerful man with his fists when aroused, which admittedly is not very often, scarred Montréal’s Calum MacKay in one half of a late double bout. In the other scrap, Flaman, playing his first game in a Toronto uniform, dropped football star Tommy Manastersky to the ice, straddled him and peppered him with lefts and rights.

Railside observers gave Watson and Flaman the decisions, but the Montréalers were battling hard to land punches. MacKay scored to Watson’s cheek, but it was small compensation for the damage he suffered. “Two stitches in one cut, other cuts and contusions,” was the medical report on MacKay. Both Watson and Flaman contributed more than fisticuffs to the game. Each scored a goal and big Harry was once again the best man on the ice for Toronto. He was a marked man, but patrolled his left wing well defensively and was instrumental in setting up two other Leaf scores.

“Watson has been outstanding the last six games,” coach Joe Primeau said in tribute to the likeable forward.

Two accidents to Tod Sloan were other sidelights of a rough, hard hitting game. Players of both teams carried their sticks high, and with referee George Gravel ruling comparatively easily in the first two periods, trouble was sure to break out, and it did. Sloan was injured the first time when he crashed into a Montréal goalpost in the second period. His back hit the metal upright with a sickening jolt, and it appeared for a moment that he might have been seriously injured.

Damage was fortunately confined to a few bruises and he came back in the last period, only to be hurt again. Ken Mosdell’s stick caught him near the left eye, and 15 stitches were needed to close the cut.

The incident escaped referee Gravel, yet when Sloan attempted to retaliate, he claimed the official threatened to throw him out of the game. Toronto hockey executives were furious over the incident, claiming the bloodletting must have been observed by one of the two linesmen, Bill Morrison or Red Storey, and that they had the authority to recommend a penalty to a senior official.

Despite his hard luck, Sloan played an outstanding game, scoring once and assisting on another scoring play. The league’s leading point man, lithe Max Bentley, added to his total with two cleverly executed goals. Cal Gardner scored the other Toronto goal, with “Rocket” Richard accounting for Montréal’s lone tally.

The game grew rougher with each succeeding period. Four minors were assessed in each of the first two periods, with four minors and four majors in the wild third. The Canadiens, their desperation showing, forgot all about the game of hockey and played it rough and ready. The Leafs were not found wanting. Ten of the penalties went to the Canadiens.

The big brawl broke out with less than four minutes left in the game. Flaman and Manastersky started it, rolling to the ice, each seeking the advantage. Flaman came out on top of Manastersky, which is generally recognized a the place to be in a hockey brawl.

MacKay and Watson started their do as a mild pushing skirmish, but it rapidly developed into a main event. All four combatants were sent to their dressing rooms for the balance of the game, and the contest finished with four men aside.

For the Leafs, Turk Broda, Jimmy Thomson, Flaman, Bill Juzda, Gus Mortson, Watson, Gardner, Sloan, Bentley, MacKell and Lewicki were outstanding. Johnny McCormack and Ray Timgren did a good job of penalty killing. Sid Smith had an off night, as did Joe Klukay, who repeatedly lost control of the puck when in good scoring position. Bob Hassard finally saw major league action, spelling off at centre ice.

Bert Olmstead was one of the best Canadiens. He and his linemates, Richard and Elmer Lach, worked hard. The Canadiens’ defence was porous to say the least, and the Leafs roamed almost at will inside the Montréal blueline. Most of the back-checking was done by their forwards.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 21, 1950

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 05:26 – Flaman (Gardner, Watson)
TOR GOAL – 08:27 – Sloan (McCormack, Juzda)
MTL PEN – 08:39 – Johnson, interference
MTL PEN – 10:23 – MacPherson, holding
TOR PEN – 15:59 – Flaman, hooking
TOR PEN – 17:46 – Timgren, holding

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:20 – Harvey, tripping
MTL PEN – 05:39 – Harvey, boarding

TOR PP GOAL – 07:26 – Bentley (Sloan, Timgren)
MTL PEN – 09:25 – Manastersky, tripping
MTL GOAL – 12:14 – Richard (Lach, Johnson)
TOR PEN – 12:26 – Juzda, holding

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 04:05 – Mortson, hooking
TOR GOAL – 08:40 – Gardner (Watson, MacKell)
MTL PEN – 09:23 – Curry, high sticking
MTL PEN – 09:59 – Harvey, holding
TOR PP2 GOAL – 10:19 – Bentley (Lewicki, Thomson)
MTL PEN – 12:29 – Manastersky, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 15:38 – Watson (Juzda, Gardner)
MTL PEN – 16:13 – MacKay, fighting major
TOR PEN – 16:13 – Flaman, fighting major
MTL PEN – 16:13 – Manastersky, fighting major
TOR PEN – 16:13 – Watson, fighting major

TOR – Broda (W)
MTL – McNeil (L)

TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Fern Flaman, Bill Juzda, Gus Mortson, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Max Bentley, Cal Gardner, Bob Hassard, Joe Klukay, Danny Lewicki, Fleming MacKell, John McCormack, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Ray Timgren, Harry Watson.
MTLGoaltenders: Gerry McNeil. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Bud MacPherson, Tom Manastersky, Ernie Roche. Forwards: Floyd Curry, Norm Dussault, Vern Kaiser, Elmer Lach, Calum MacKay, Paul Masnick, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.

TOR – 19-7-6 (.688)
MTL – 10-16-6 (.406)