We are back today, after being a bit under the weather yesterday, with reports on three National Hockey League games from last night. We also have some details on Bill Masterton’s funeral, plus some player movement and other tidbits in our usual Quick Hits.
Maple Leafs 4 Bruins 2
The Toronto Maple Leafs scored twice in the second period to take a 4-2 lead, then basically threw a blanket over the home-ice Boston Bruins for the rest of the game. The strict defensive game plan worked as the Leafs walked out of Boston with a 4-2 win.
The game started out as a rough one, with the Bruins seemingly intent on running the older Maple Leafs out of the rink. But the Leafs withstood the early intimidation tactics and proved they had more stamina than their hosts.
They also proved that they can play a stifling shut-down game on the road. The dump-it-out and shoot-it-in style of the final 25 minutes frustrated the Bruins and their fans, and infuriated Boston general manager Milt Schmidt.
The first period was a wide-open affair with each team scoring twice. Boston had 1-0 and 2-1 leads on goals by Ken Hodge and Johnny McKenzie but Toronto came back each time. Wayne Carleton tied it at 1-1 and Bob Pulford made it 2-2 after McKenzie’s tally.
The second period was much more close-checking. For the first 10 minutes, not much took place as the Bruins seemed to sag after their all-out physical assault on the visitors in the first.
Ron Ellis scored what proved to be the winning goal for Toronto at 10:19 of the second. Jim Pappin followed that one up with a marker about four minutes later to close out the evening’s scoring.
The Leafs then went into what could be described as a “prevent-defence” and simply refused to allow Boston any kind of clear-cut scoring chance. They did this by simply not taking any chances whatsoever themselves. This was clearly reflected in the shot totals for the final 20 minutes – 7-6 for Toronto.
Schmidt was livid at the dreadfully boring game the Leafs forced upon the sellout Boston crowd:
“They will drive fans out of the NHL rinks with that kind of hockey. All they did in that last period was dump it out of their zone and fire it into ours.
“Don’t ever tell me that they play pleasing hockey. They ruined the show for a sellout crowd of 13,909.”
Hodge was a little more magnanimous towards Toronto, praising goaltender Bruce Gamble for some fine work:
“I should have had a hat trick. That Gamble stole one off me in the first period and in the second period he dove head first into my first attempt and caught the second on, off the rebound, I his glove, I was aiming at an open net when he got his head in the way.”
McKenzie also acknowledged Gamble’s heroics:
“What about the one he took from me in the third period, when I thought I had him cold turkey? That was the ball game.”
On the Toronto side of things, manager-coach Punch Imlach responded to Schmidt’s complaints:
“Let Miltie cry all he wants to. That was our most important win of the season, It cancelled out New York’s upset of the Hawks on Wednesday.
“What did Schmidt want us to do when we went into the third period two goals up? Charge into their zone and get trapped?”
The Bruins were without wunderkind Bobby Orr, who sustained an injured shoulder in Tuesday’s All-star game in Toronto. But coach Harry Sinden wouldn’t use Orr’s absence as an excuse, although it would have been a valid one. Orr is likely the only player in the league who could have solved the Toronto defensive scheme last night.
Sinden said that Orr is feeling much better but that it’s doubtful that he will be ready for Sunday night’s game against Chicago.
Imlach must have sensed that the Bruins would try to start off with physical play against his team. He reverted to a tactic he has employed in the past. Punch’s starting lineup featured four defencemen – Marcel Pronovost, Duane Rupp, Larry Hillman and Tim Horton – with the rather large Peter Stemkowski at centre. It would be quite a chore to intimidate that group.
Sinden, remarking on the unusual starting five, said, “I might have done the same thing if I had four healthy defencemen.”
Flyers 4 North Stars 2
The line of Lou Angotti, Gary Dornhoefer and Brit Selby scored three goals to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-2 win over the Minnesota North Stars at Bloomington, Minnesota last night. The win gives the first-place Flyers a nine-point lead over the second-place North Stars.
While the members of Angotti’s line each scored a goal, the real hero for the visitors was goalie Doug Favell. He was spectacular, making 22 saves, many of the difficult variety. And he did this after surviving what initially looked to be a serious injury at 17:31 of the first period.
With the score tied at 1-1, Favell took a rising slap shot in what appeared to be on the throat from Minnesota’s most dangerous shooter, Wayne Connelly. The bullet-drive knocked Favell down, but he managed to keep the puck out of the goal. He was up fairly quickly and shook off the effects of the blow immediately. He said after the game that the puck struck him just below the throat, at the very top of his protective padding. He still sported quite a bruise.
Along with the goals by Angotti, Dornhoefer and Selby, Bill Sutherland also found the range for the Flyers. Parker MacDonald and Connelly connected for Minnesota.
The third period was delayed for several minutes at the 5:40 mark due to a dispute between the North Stars and referee Ron Wicks. With the Flyers leading 3-1, Wicks called a hooking penalty on Connelly and the North Stars bench exploded. Minnesota defenceman Mike McMahon earned himself two 10-minute misconducts, Bill Collins was also sent off for 10 minutes and the Minnesota bench was tagged with a minor penalty after coach Wren Blair threw a stick onto the ice.
The ice was littered by the 9,098 irate fans with programs, popcorn boxes and all sorts of other debris. It took several minutes to clean up the mess.
The incident actually started a few minutes earlier when the Flyers, already a man short, weren’t penalized by Wicks when the North Stars felt MacDonald was being held by Philly’s Jean Gauthier. Blair explained:
“It takes courage to send a team two men short. Wicks wasn’t up to it. We gave him some static after Connelly’s penalty and he simply lost control of his temper and the game.
“We needed something to get us going. The game was gone anyway, so I let ‘em go ahead and give Wicks a little heat. He deserved it anyway.”
Collins claimed he was penalized while shoveling peanuts off the ice:
“They know I’m the guy who spit blood in the face of that linesman. So Wicks skates up to me and says ‘How’d you like to sit out the rest of the year?’
“I said a few things and then skated away. That’s how it happened.”
Kings 3 Penguins 2
The Los Angeles Kings finally ended their horrendous nine-game losing streak last night. At the friendly confines of owner Jack Kent Cooke’s Fabulous Forum, the Kings managed to edge the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 before 5,755 appreciative fans.
Gord Labossiere was the star for the Kings. He scored two goals, including the game-winner with less than two minutes remaining. Bob Wall had the other Los Angeles goal, opening the scoring at 5:25 of the first period.
Billy Dea and Keith McCreary were the Pittsburgh marksmen.
Labossiere’s dramatic winning goal was predicted by a former coach. Bernie (Boom Boom) Geoffrion, who coached the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League when Labossiere was starring there, called the shot just before the goal happened. Geoffrion, now playing with the New York Rangers, was at the game with friends.
Just before the goal was scored, Geoffrion said to his companions “Labossiere will bust down the ice and get a goal any minute – you watch.”
Almost immediately thereafter the 27-year-old centre took a pass from team mate Lowell MacDonald at the Pittsburgh blue line and whipped a 45-foot slap shot past goalie Les Binkley.
Kings coach Red Kelly had to be happy the pressure of the losing skein was finally off. He thinks more wins are on the way:
“Our guys were hitting better. They are starting to play like they were earlier. We’re due against New York. They’ve been going along pretty lucky and they’re due too – to lose.
“When we were losing it seemed like none of our players wanted the puck. Tonight, everyone wanted it. And that’s what makes the difference.”
400 Attend Masterton Funeral
Over 400 persons crammed into the Hillcrest Methodist Church in Bloomington yesterday for the funeral of Minnesota North Stars hockey player Bill Masterton. Masterton passed away early Monday morning from a head injury he sustained during a North Stars game Saturday night.
Both the North Stars and Philadelphia Flyers entire teams attended the service. The Flyers were in town to play the North Stars last night. The North Stars served as honorary pall bearers.
Other hockey dignitaries who were present included NHL president Clarence Campbell, Oakland Seals president Frank Selke Jr., Chicago Black Hawks general manager Tommy Ivan, New York Rangers scout Dennis Ball, who like Masterton hails from Winnipeg, the entire United States Olympic hockey team and University of Minnesota hockey coach Glen Sonmor.
- Bruins goalie Ed Johnston whacked team mate defenceman Gary Doak hard on the seat of his pants with his goal stick during the game against Toronto last night. When asked if it was a case of mistaken identity, Johnston replied “No, I just got tired of him backing into me.”
- Although it’s not highly publicized, February 9 is a key date for the troubled Oakland Seals franchise. That’s when backers of the team must issued a guarantee to the NHL that they will come up with enough money to provide the struggling franchise with working capital. It’s doubtful that the league would actually consider shifting the franchise after just one season and that’s because of the CBS television contract. A provision of the deal that’s very important to the American network is that there be two NHL teams located in California.
- Detroit Red Wings have recalled defenceman Irv Spencer from the Fort Worth Wings of the Central Professional Hockey League to replace the injured Bart Crashley. Wings also said that with forwards Paul Henderson and Dean Prentice set to return to active duty from the injury list, young Peter Mahovlich and Gary Marsh will be returned to Fort Worth.
- Paul Henderson of the Red Wings had been having trouble getting any power behind his shots due to the injured shoulder that has kept him sidelined for the past couple of weeks. In practice this week Henderson tried out one of Gordie Howe’s sticks, significantly shorter than the cue Henderson normally employs. He found it gave him more leverage on his shot with less stress on the injured shoulder. He’s going to keep using Howe’s model.
- Jacques Plante, the former goaltending great with the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, will be holding a series of goalkeeping clinics for young netminders in several sports districts in the city of Montreal.
- Philadelphia Flyers defenceman John Hanna has reason to be especially happy with his recall this week from the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League. His next game played will give him enough to qualify for an NHL pension.
- The London Nationals and Peterborough Petes skated to a 2-2 tie last night in Peterborough. Rick MacLeish and Craig Ramsay netted the Petes goals. Brian Murphy and Guy Allen replied for the Nationals.
- The Hamilton Red Wings downed the first-place Niagara Falls Flyers at the Hamilton Forum last night. Danny Lawson was the big gun for the Wings with a pair of goals. Ron Climie also scored for the home side. Steve Atkinson lit the lamp for the Flyers.
- Here are the NHL standings going into the weekend: