50 Years Ago in Hockey: Bruins Upend Listless Leafs

The Boston Bruins ended any hopes the Toronto Maple Leafs had of finishing higher than third in the National Hockey League standings last night at the Boston Garden. The Bruins upset the Leafs 3-1 in a game in which neither squad distinguished themselves with stellar play. In the only other NHL game, Detroit got past New York by a 5-3 score.

Marotte Escapes Injury

The Toronto – Boston match was generally devoid of sustained action. The play was so uninspired that the main topic of conversation after the final whistle was a bizarre incident which could have had tragic consequences. The strange accident took place late in the third period.

Gilles Marotte
Gilles Marotte

Rookie Boston defenseman Gilles Marotte was defending against a charging Eddie Shack of Toronto. Shack was leading a rush and as he bore down on the Boston goal, Marotte stepped in front of Shack has he prepared to unleash a slap shot.

As Shack let fly with his drive, his stick shattered. The jagged end flew up and a six-inch splinter lodged into Marotte’s neck. Realizing something was seriously wrong, Marotte took off his glove and grabbed at his neck. With the Toronto rush continuing, however, Marotte put the glove  back on and stayed out there to rejoin the play. It was a good 30 seconds before he finally left the ice and went to the bench for first aid.

The Boston trainer examined the injury and took a pair of scissors and clipped off the largest part of the splinter, still protruding from Marotte’s neck. He then took the rookie to the dressing room and extricated the rest of the sliver of wood.

Fortunately for Marotte, the splinter did not penetrate his neck in a manner that would have done serious damage. And the young Boston blueliner, game as ever, returned to the bench in time for his next shift.

After the game, Marotte described his close call”

I saw the broken piece of stick coming at my face. I deflected the blade with my glove but that small piece detached itself and lodged in my throat. I guess I was lucky.

Marotte said the injury wasn’t painful, it felt to him like a minor scratch.

Power-play Does Leafs In

Bruins Al Langlois and Bernie Parent foil a chance by Leafs Orland Kurtenbach.
Bruins Al Langlois and Bernie Parent foil a chance by Leafs Orland Kurtenbach.

Once again the Toronto penalty killing unit was their downfall. Boston scored twice on the man advantage and that was the difference in the game.

After a scoreless first period, Murray Oliver opened the scoring for the home side at 5:37 of the second. Kent Douglas of Toronto tied it up about 10 minutes later.

Tommy Williams of the Bruins gave them the lead they would not surrender just over five minutes into the final frame. With just more than two minutes left in the game, Ron Stewart added an insurance goal to make the final 3-1 for Boston.

Toronto coach Punch Imlach used a novel approach with his goaltenders in this one. He alternated goalies Johnny Bower and Terry Sawchuk every five minutes. The tactic appeared to have no detrimental effect on their play. In fact, they were the only Toronto players to earn any praise from Imlach.

Boston’s first-year goalie Bernie Parent was the star for Boston. He stopped 37 of 38 Toronto drives and was solid throughout.

Bassen Lifts Wings

Hank Bassen
Hank Bassen

Backup goalie Hank Bassen came up big for the Detroit Red Wings in their victory over the New York Rangers at the Olympia. Bassen stopped 26 of 29 Ranger drives, including 12 in the final 20 minutes when the Rangers tried to take the game from the Wings.

Detroit’s Gordie Howe celebrated his 38th birthday by setting up two goals for the Wings. Alex Delvecchio and Norm Ullman each reached the 30-goal mark as well.

Detroit started quickly as Ab McDonald gave them a 1-0 lead after only 21 seconds of play. Rangers came back before the end of the first period to tie it up on a goal by Billy Hicke.

The teams each scored twice in the second stanza. Delvecchio put the Wings up 2-1 before Phil Goyette and Bob Nevin enabled New York to surge in front 3-2. Delvecchio then tied it with his 31st of the season with 20 seconds left in the period.

Bruce MacGregor popped in the winner at 8:27 of the third. Norm Ullman added Detroit’s fifth of the game with about 1:44 left on the clock.

Veteran defenseman Bill Gadsby may have given Red Wing fans a glimpse of the future. Out of the lineup with an injury, Gadsby took over behind the bench for Detroit while manager-coach Sid Abel viewed the match from high in the stands. There has been much speculation that Gadsby is in line to take over the Wings’ coaching reins next season.

The Rangers’ loss dropped them into a fifth-place tie with Boston.

Kitchener Rangers Force Eighth Game

Walter Tkaczuk
Walter Tkaczuk

Goalie Gary Kurt was spectacular for the Kitchener Rangers as they defeated the Toronto Marlboros last night at Maple Leaf Gardens in the seventh game of their Ontario Hockey Association semi-final playoff series. The Rangers took the game by a 4-2 count, giving both teams seven points for the series. The eighth and final game will be played in Kitchener Saturday afternoon.

Kurt’s performance for Kitchener was nothing short of brilliant. He stopped 38 of 40 Toronto shots. His best work came in the opening frame when three key saves seemed to sap the Marlies of all their zip.

Rangers scored the only goal of the first. Billy Hway was set up by Walter Tkaczuk in the game’s second minute. The teams then went through a scoreless middle frame, thanks again to the heroics of Kurt.

Kitchener made it 2-0 on John Beechey’s goal at 1:31 of the third. Marlies got on the board a little over a minute later when Mike Byers was finally able to get one past Kurt.

Jack McCreary scored what would prove to be the winner just before the nine-minute mark. Marlies again climbed to within one with Byers once again doing the honours.

Marlie coach Gus Bodnar lifted goalie Al Smith for an extra attacker in the final minute. The move didn’t pay off this time, however. Bob Jones found the unguarded cage for Kitchener’s fourth goal, making game eight a reality.


Joe Daley
Joe Daley
  • Quebec Aces scored three second period goals on the way to a 6-1 pasting of the Providence Reds in AHL play. Quebec scorers were Cleland Mortson, Bill Sutherland, Don Johns, Don Blackburn, Leon Rochefort and Ed Hoekstra.
  • The first two nationally televised Stanley Cup playoff games in the United States will take place at the Chicago Stadium. They will be the first Stanley Cup games to be played in the afternoon.
  • Doug Barkley of the Detroit Red Wings told former team-mate Marcel Pronovost that he will have a definitive answer on his future in hockey in about three months. Barkley suffered an eye injury that threatens to end his NHL career.
  • The San Francisco Seals have finally found a goaltender. Left with no one to man their net after regular netminder Jack McCartan went down with an injury, the Seals have borrowed 23-year-old Joe Daley from Memphis of the CPHL.
  • The 14-year-old son of former NHL star Doug Bentley got into the final game of the season with Knoxville of the EHL.