50 Years Ago in Hockey: Bruins No Longer Cellar-Dwellars

The Boston Bruins are enjoying the rarefied air of fifth place in the National Hockey League standings today. The Bruins escaped the NHL basement with a 2-0 shutout win over the Montreal Canadiens last night in Boston. The Bruins now have 31 points, one ahead of the last-place New York Rangers. The Bruins were able to move past the Rangers thanks to a 6-2 win by Detroit over the Blueshirts in the other NHL game on the schedule.

This is the first time the Bruins have been out of last place since last November, when they were briefly in fourth. They have finished last in the past five NHL seasons.

Ed Johnston battles Jean Beliveau in last night's game.
Ed Johnston battles Jean Beliveau in last night’s game.

Johnston Shines for Bruins

Bruins goalie Ed Johnston made 30 saves in blanking the vaunted Montreal offence. He was at his best in a second period that was dominated by the Habs. Mobbed by his team mates at the end of the game, Johnston received a standing ovation from the 10,306 Bruins faithful that were on hand. The shutout was Johnston’s first of the season and 11th of his career.

Johnny Bucyk scored the only goal Johnston would need just shy of the 16-minute mark of the opening frame. Bob Dillabough added an insurance marker with just over seven minutes left in the contest.

The game was a mild-mannered affair. Referee Bill Friday called only one minor penalty, a crosschecking infraction by Jean Beliveau in the first period.

Big Three Pace Wings

Norm Ullman notched his 25th of the season for Detroit.
Norm Ullman notched his 25th of the season for Detroit.

The big three of the Detroit Red Wings, Norm Ullman, Alex Delvecchio and Gordie Howe, each scored a goal as the Wings shellacked the New York Rangers 6-2 last night in Detroit. The loss dropped New York into the NHL basement, a point behind the Boston Bruins.

The Red Wings led only 2-1 at the end of the first period. But two unanswered goals in the middle frame put the game out of reach of the New Yorkers.

Other Detroit marksmen were Floyd Smith, Bryan Watson and Ron Murphy. Vic Hadfield and Rod Seiling connected for the Rangers.

Ullman’s goal was his 25th of the season and broke a goal-less streak of 10 games.

The Red Wings dominated the game against the listless Rangers. The Wings outshot New York 35-20.  The win for Detroit moved them back into a first-place tie with the idle Chicago Black Hawks.

Quebec Prepares for Invasion

Quebec City is preparing for an invasion this week – and it should be a fun time. Over 1,500 boys ages 11 and 12 will descend on the capital city of the province of Quebec to participate in the International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament. The event is a huge part of the city’s winter carnival.

Seventy-eight teams from across Canada, the United States, and for the first time, Mexico will play in the week-long tourney.

One of the main attractions of the week will be an appearance by Detroit Red Wings superstar Gordie Howe. But Howe isn’t attending the tournament simply by invitation. Gordie’s two sons, Mark and Marty, will be suiting up for the Detroit Roostertails.

Orr Seeks Third Record

Bobby Orr is about to set another Jr. A scoring record.
Bobby Orr is about to set another Jr. A scoring record.

Bobby Orr, the Great White Hope of the Boston Bruins, will turn 18 next month and that will likely spell the end of the teenage phenom’s junior career, if not immediately, then certainly by next season.

But before he departs the amateur ranks, the Oshawa Generals captain has his sights trained directly on setting a goal-scoring record for defenseman  for the third straight year.

Orr has 32 goals with nine games remaining on schedule. Having set the record of 34 last season, he is certain to eclipse that mark, possible as early as this Saturday when the Generals meet the Kitchener Rangers.

Bruins general manager Hap Emms says he is considering turning Orr professional when he reaches his 18th birthday. But Emms also claims he is in no  particular hurry to rush the youngster to the big league, especially if the Bruins are too far out of the playoff race.

If Orr doesn’t make his NHL debut this year, he is a virtual lock to start the 1966-67 season with the Bruins.

Hamilton Upsets Petes

The Hamilton Red Wings pulled a huge upset last night with a 7-4 win over the first-place Peterborough Petes in Ontario Hockey Association Junior A play. The win moved Hamilton to within three points of third-place Oshawa Generals.

Seven players shared in the Hamilton scoring with Bart Crashley, Don Giesebrecht, Kevin Petit, Jim Young, Nick Libett, Sandy Snow and Fred Speck netting one each. League-leading scorer Andre Lacroix led the Petes attack with two goals. John Vanderberg and Mickey Redmond added singles.

The Red Wings have had the Petes number this year, taking three of four games from the league leaders.

Goalie Wetzel Quits Quebec Aces

Carl Wetzel - his retirement leaves Quebec Aces high and dry.
Carl Wetzel – his retirement leaves Quebec Aces high and dry.

The Quebec Aces goaltending situation went from bad to worse yesterday when goalie Carl Wetzel informed the team he is quitting hockey.

The Aces goaltending situation, which had been a team strength for most of this season, started to deteriorate on the weekend. Regular netminder Gary Bauman came down with a back problem and he could be lost for one to three months. Then on Tuesday,  backup goalie Gilles Banville took a puck in the face in practice and suffered a broken jaw.

Aces coach Bernie Geoffrion put a call in to the parent Montreal Canadiens, who dispatched Wetzel to Quebec City from where he had been playing at Houston in the Central Professional Hockey League.  Wetzel tended goal for the Aces Tuesday night in a loss against the Pittsburgh Hornets. Then yesterday after practice, Wetzel told coach Geoffrion that he was quitting pro hockey.

Rogatien Vachon was brought in from Thetford Mines.
Jr. goalie Rogatien Vachon was brought in from Thetford Mines.

The American-born goalkeeper gave no reason for his abrupt retirement other than citing “personal troubles.” He said his decision had nothing to do with the loss on Tuesday evening.  He told coach Geoffrion that he should have come to this decision long before now and that he shouldn’t have reported to Quebec in the first place.

Quebec team manager Frank Carlin tried everything he could to dissuade Wetzel from leaving, including offering him a significant raise in pay. But Wetzel would not relent, and he left the Aces with no goaltender for last night’s game against the Pittsburgh Hornets.

The Aces put in a quick call to the Thetford Mines Aces of the Quebec Provincial Junior League. They brought up the Junior Aces number one goalie Rogatien Vachon for last night’s game. The 20-year-old netminder faced 28 shots in his first professional game as the Aces dropped a 5-4 decision to the visiting Hornets.