Preseason Game 03 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 3

Preseason Game 03
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 3
Wednesday, October 1, 1969
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

After 2½ periods of sputtering ineffectiveness, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally produced enough functional play-making in time for a 3-3 tie last night with the Montréal Canadiens on goals by Terry Clancy and Murray Oliver.

Winger Wayne Carleton was instrumental in the comeback, intercepting a pass and carrying the puck around centre Christian Bordeleau and between defencemen Jacques Laperrière and Terry Harper before passing to Clancy for the 3-2 score at 10:14 of the final period.

Centre Dave Keon set up the Oliver goal after taking a pass at centre ice, skating into the Montréal zone, and finally skating backward in an effort to hold onto the puck before passing to Floyd Smith. Oliver knocked Smith’s rebound past goaltender Rogatien Vachon at 17:34.

The Leafs scored first when a long shot by Mike Walton took a bounce that fooled Montréal’s starting goaltender Lorne Worsley. The Canadiens were shorthanded at the time with Ted Harris in the penalty box.

Jacques Lemaire tied the game little more than halfway through the first period while Toronto’s Jim Dorey was serving an interference penalty. Lemaire deflected Jacques Laperrière’s shot from the blueline past Leafs starter Marv Edwards.

Ralph Backstrom’s deflection of a Terry Harper shot moved the Canadiens ahead 2-1 early in the second period. Mickey Redmond completed the Montréal scoring with an unassisted third period goal after he stole the puck in the Toronto zone, turned and beat Bruce Gamble, who had replaced Edwards.

It was the second game in a row in which the Leafs have used third period rallies to come up with ties. Last Sunday, three goals earned them a 6-6 draw with Boston. Their exhibition series now stands at five losses, one win and two ties.

Montréal coach Claude Ruel viewed the game philosophically.

“We played well,” he said. “I am satisfied because we were skating better than we have been. But we had about 30 good scoring chances and they had 10, and they tied us.

“Their goalkeeping was miraculous, and you can’t expect to beat the Leafs when you give them 10 chances around your net.”

Actually, the Canadiens outshot the Leafs 39-35. Many of the biggest thrills for the 16,485 in attendance were provided by Edwards in goal with big stops which included a personal duel with Bobby Rousseau on a breakaway. Edwards refused to make the first move and when Rousseau finally shot, the 34 year old goalie flicked out his glove to coolly make the save.

“Both goals they got were deflections, all right,” Edwards confirmed. “On shots like those, from the point, all you can do is play the shot all the way and hope any deflection goes wide, or that you manage to get in front of the deflection.”

Leafs general manager Jim Gregory and fill-in coach Frank “King” Clancy were enthusiastic about the Leafs’ continuing demonstrations of their never-give-up attitude, which doubtless will come in handy this year.

“Carleton started it all for us tonight,” said Gregory, referring to the play that led to the second Lead goal. “He played very well in the third period, and so did Clancy.”

Someone asked King Clancy if his son’s goal was his first in an NHL competition. “Yes,” said King after thinking a moment. “Mind you, in my day I was a very prolific scorer myself, y’know.”

A Montréal writer suggested to Clancy that the Canadiens slowed down in the third period. “Sure,” said Clancy. “But we slowed down in the second period, too.”

Of more importance in deciding the game than who slowed down when, was the absence of four Montréal regulars, including premier centre Jean Béliveau, who returned to Montréal for physical examination yesterday morning after the Canadiens had tied the St. Louis Blues 3-3.

Béliveau has played with a disappointing lack of vigour through the Montréal training camp, according to observers. He awoke yesterday feeling weak and suffering from a cold.

“I can’t say how long he will be out,” said coach Claude Ruel, “until I have learned the details of the medical report. But it is a very bad cold and he is sweating a lot.”

Also missing were John Ferguson, who has been out of action since damaging a hand in a game against Detroit Sept. 23; Claude Provost, who is expected to recover from a groin injury sufficiently to play this weekend; and of course Gilles Tremblay, who has not played any exhibition games because of a breathing handicap that has left his health a question mark for the season.

However, Ruel filled with such rookies as Marc Tardif and Réjean Houle. Mickey Redmond, a third year pro, played extremely well on a line with Lemaire and Dick Duff.

Centre Norm Ullman was missing from the Leaf lineup with the chest injury he suffered Sunday against Boston. He’s expected to be out of action for two weeks. Also missing were Rick Ley, shoulder; George Armstrong, unsigned; and Tim Horton, still retired.

“Jim Gregory will be talking with Horton today,” said Clancy, “and I’m really hopeful about him coming back.”

The difference between Horton and the Leafs is simply money. Horton retired to his donut shop franchise business. He’s willing to play again if the Leafs are willing to pay enough money.

The importance of acquiring Horton or, for that matter, any all star, was underlined again last night when Frank Selke, the Oakland Seals executive, was asked why he, coach Fred Glover and scout Ed Chadwick were here to see the Leafs.

“We’re looking for players,” said Selke, “especially centres, but any players that might be available. But tonight we didn’t see anything that we might be interested in.”

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, October 2, 1969