Today we have a report on a goaltending duel between the Leafs and Rangers, a wild game between Montreal and Boston, more suspensions in Minnesota and some predictions for the Ontario Hockey Association Junior A season by one of Canada’s premier junior hockey reporters.
Goalies Star as Leafs Nip Rangers
It was a night for the goaltenders to shine in Kitchener as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the New York Rangers 1-0. The game’s lone goal scorer was Jim Pappin, but the real story was the outstanding work of goalies Johnny Bower and Bruce Gamble of Toronto, and New York’s Ed Giacomin.
Bower played the first period for the Leafs and made nine saves, many of the spectacular variety. Gamble took over the for the final 40 minutes and showed he is ready to be a more than capable understudy to the number one man, Bower. He made 23 saves and for a stretch in the third period, had the Rangers forwards talking to themselves and celebrating goals that never happened. His best stops were on former Leafs Bob Nevin (twice) and Orland Kurtenbach.
Giacomin was equally spectacular in goal for Rangers. He had no chance on Pappin’s goal, which came on a perfect setup by young Wayne Carleton. He made 34 saves on the night and was clearly in mid-season form.
Toronto employed two junior grads on the blue line. Mike Pelyk from Toronto Marlboros and London National Jim Dorey were given lots of ice time by coach Punch Imlach and neither looked out of place. Pelyk signed a professional contract on Thursday.
The Rangers, due to illness and injury, had only four defencemen on hand for the game. They wanted to try to use Marlboro junior rearguard Brad Park to fill the void. Park was acquired in the 1966 Amateur Draft but is still Marlboro property. When Emile Francis asked the Dukes for permission to use the youngster in the exhibition game, they were refused.
Rangers defenceman Harry Howell missed the game with a sore back. That didn’t stop the locals from honouring the 34-year-old blue liner. He was given a Centennial mint set by the Junior A Rangers in recognition of playing more than 1,000 National Hockey League games.
Bruins, Habs Battle in Boston
Ken Hodge and Phil Esposito, both acquired by the Boston Bruins during the off-season in a major trade with the Chicago Black Hawks, scored the goals as Boston got by the Montreal Canadiens. It was a wild game at the Boston Garden, with brawls, injuries and penalties the order of the day.
A total of 7,619 fans witnessed a first period that took an hour to play. Most of the longevity was caused by the calling of 18 penalties totalling 68 minutes.
Rookies Carol Vadnais of Montreal and Boston’s Ross Lonsberry kicked things off with a spirited bout which eventually involved every player on the ice.
At the 11:09 mark of the first, Bobby Orr and Ted Harris, who have had a feud since last season, crashed together at the boards and engaged in a brief set-to. Harris was banished to the penalty box where he was seen holding an ice pack to the side of his face. That scuffle prompted a couple of more battles, with Boston rookies Glen Sather and Derek Sanderson squaring off with Harris and Claude Larose.
Orr wasn’t finished either. In the third period Habs’ Bugsy Watson got under Orr’s skin. Orr dropped the gloves and then dropped Watson with a flurry of punches that must have made Watson feel like he had been jumped by three players. It was Orr’s second major penalty of the game, which calls for a game misconduct and an automatic ejection.
In the scoring department new acquisitions Hodge and Esposito took care of business for the Bruins. Hodge opened the game’s scoring just after the half-way mark of the second period, set up by Orr and Esposito. Esposito made it 2-0 at 9:28 of the final frame, with Freddie Stanfield and Johnny Bucyk getting the helpers.
Yvan Cournoyer ruined Gerry Cheevers’ shutout bid with an unassisted goal with just less than five minutes to play.
The violence in the first period claimed two victims. Montreal lost defenceman Terry Harper when he crashed head first into the boards. Initial reports suggest he suffered a concussion and either a fractured or separated shoulder. Bruins rookie Ross Lonsberry had his left hand stepped on during the fight with Vadnais, and suffered an 11-stitch cut. He might have to miss next week’s opening game.
How They’ll Finish in the OHA
Frank Orr of the Toronto Star, one of Canada’s premier Junior A hockey reporters weighed in today with his predictions for this season’s Ontario Hockey Association Junior A standings. The league has a new look this year after adding a 10th team in the Ottawa 67’s.
Orr figures that the Kitchener Rangers are the cream of the crop this season, with Toronto Marlboros and St. Catharines Black Hawks not far behind.
Here’s a brief summary of how Orr sees each team’s prospects:
Kitchener: Orr calls Walter Tkaczuk the OHA’s best all-round player and he will lead the Rangers. Defence is solid with Mike Robitaille, John Barber, Jim Jones and Al Calvert. The offence is led by Jim Krulicki, Don Luce, Jack Egers, Cam Crosby and Dan Seguin.
Orr worries about Kitchener’s goaltending. George Hainsworth was inconsistent in preseason and hasn’t lived up to his namesake’s legacy yet.
Toronto: Marlies lost five players from last spring’s Memorial Cup-winning team due to graduation to the pros or school. But they have a balanced attack which should serve them well. Terry Caffery, Richie Bayes, Tom Martin and Doug Acomb are the big guns.
Defence is anchored by Brad Park and Fred Barrett, while rookies Ric Jordan and Ivan Labre have looked like they have potential. Cam Newton and Gary Edwards make a solid tandem between the pipes.
St. Catharines: The Black Hawks feature the league’s best goalie in Peter McDuffe. The defence is well-stocked with Barry Salovaara, Jerry Korab, Dennis Gibbons and Ron Anderson. The forward line features John Fisher, Moe L’Abbe, Peter Mara and Skeeter Teal, all returning vets. Best of the Hawk rookies are Dennis Giannini and Don O’Donoghue.
Hamilton: The Red Wings are a fairly veteran team. They made the league final last year and have lost only four players. Gerry Gray and Paul Hoganson are the goaltenders and have potential to be league leaders. Defencemen Rick Smith and Randy Manery are as good as there are in the league. Up front, there’s lots of talent with swift sniper Danny Lawson, along with Sandy Snow, Renald Leclerc, Ron Climie, Jim Adair and Lebanese-born Eddie Hatoum.
Montreal: the Baby Habs have a young team with only six returnees from last year’s club. Two rookies, Bruce Mullett and Ted Tucker will be between the pipes and they could be the team’s undoing. Defence will be adequate with Pierre Bouchard (Butch’s boy), Francois Lacombe, Norm Descoteaux and Jim Bannatyne.
Three rookies from Thetford Mines of the Quebec league are expected to play major roles – Rejean Houle, Marc Tardif and Gilbert Perreault.
Oshawa: Gen’s GM Matt Leyden says his team is big, young and eager. They may have the best crop of rookies in the league, but that won’t be enough to push them to the top. The top returnees are goalie Dunc Wilson, defencemen Jim Whittaker and John Clayton, and forwards Brian Morenz, Bob Walton, Ron Dussiaume and Joe Robertson. Rookies to watch are defencemen Bob Stewart and centre Dale Tallon.
London: The Nationals were dealt a huge blow when forward Garry Unger and defenceman Jim Dorey were turned pro by the parent Toronto Maple Leafs. Unger has a knee injury and could end up back in junior to rehab, however. But the Nats still have some good talent.
Ron Marlow and Ted Ouimet will handle the netminding. Glen Shirton, Bob Pate and Guy Allen are the best rearguards. The forwards are led by Walter McKechnie, who turned down a professional contract with the Leafs, and Brian Murphy, Moe St. Jacques and Gary Boughner. A rookie to keep an eye on is young Darryl Sittler from nearby St. Mary’s.
Niagara Falls: Hap Emms is now back running the Flyers after a stint as the general manager of the parent Boston Bruins. He will undertake what should be a rapid rebuild after so many good young players moved to the pros.
Orr believes the Flyers weak spot is in goal where Phil Myre has proven to be inconsistent. He will have a good defence in front of him, anchored by Ricky Ley, Rick Thompson and Mike Keeler. The attack will be led by Steve Atkinson, Tom Webster and Garry Swain.
Peterborough: The perennially powerful Petes go into this season a little thin on talent. There aren’t any Andre Lacroix’s or Mickey Redmond’s to fill the net for the Petes this year. Dick Redmond is the best bet on defence, with Trevor Conn, Gord Tucker and Bob Black tops up front.
The Petes do have high hopes for rookies Ron Stackhouse, a defenceman, and talented forward Rick MacLeish.
Ottawa: The new expansion team from the nation’s capital will have a rough ride in their first OHA season, but there is some good talent on the roster. Coach Bill Long will be a huge asset in setting up the new franchise.
Long has good goaltending in Peter Donnelly and Gary Doyle, who have shown well in exhibition games. Long also likes rookie defenceman Jim Nahrgang. Rookies Jean Potvin and Peter Laframboise are expected to be the best of the forwards.
- Leafs Tim Horton has a bad knee and will likely miss the final three exhibition games
- Brent Imlach, son of Maple Leafs general manager-coach Punch Imlach, has rejected a contract offered by his father. He will return to University of Western Ontario.
- Junior defenceman Mike Pelyk has decided to turn pro with the Toronto farm team at Tulsa in the Central Professional Hockey League.
- St. Louis Blues announced that Al Arbour has been appointed team captain. Assistants will be Ron Stewart, Noel Picard and Jim Roberts.
- Wayne Hillman has signed his 1967-68 contract with the New York Rangers. That leaves only defenceman Jim Nielson unsigned. General manager Emile Francis says Nielson will have to settle for his last offer or sit out the season.
- Penguins have signed 34-year-old left winger Billy Dea.
- Minnesota North Stars general manager Wren Blair has suspended two more players for refusing to sign their contracts. Forwards Dave Richardson and Bob Charlebois will not be allowed to suit up for the team until they agree to terms as dictated by Blair.