50 Years Ago in Hockey: Esposito, Hall Lead Hawks

Phil Esposito scored two goals and Glenn Hall’s goaltending was brilliant as they led the Chicago Black Hawks to a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens in one of two National Hockey League games played last night. In the other contest, Jean Ratelle’s late tally lifted the New York Rangers to a 4-3 upset victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

Habs Drop to Third

The home-ice loss dropped Montreal to third place in the NHL standings, with Chicago sliding into second. The Hawks took the game despite a lineup that was without centre Stan Mikita and big rookie winger Ken Hodge.

Lou Angotti and Art Stratton were in from St. Louis of the Central Professional Hockey League to fill in. Both acquitted themselves quite well.

Lou Angotti
Lou Angotti

Angotti, in fact, wasted no time in making his debut for the Black Hawks memorable. He garnered an assist on Red Hay’s goal late in the first period, which gave Chicago a 1-0 lead. Hay converted a rebound off a long shot by Bobby Hull, who had taken a nice pass from Angotti. Montreal netminder Charley Hodge had no chance on the play.

Goalie Hall Great for Hawks

The initial frame was fairly wide-open, but the goaltenders, especially Glenn Hall of Chicago, were standouts. Hall’s best was a spectacular save on Jean Beliveau on a breakaway late in the period.

Chicago upped the lead to 3-0 before five minutes had passed in the middle stanza. Bobby Hull connected for his 39th at 1:09 as he beat Hodge with a high 40-footer that fooled the Montreal goalkeeper.

Phil Esposito
Phil Esposito

Esposito netted his 14th at 4:20. The big centre was the beneficiary of a fine stickhandling exhibition by Chico Maki, who walked through the entire Montreal team before feeding Esposito.

J.C. Tremblay scored five minutes later for Montreal to end any thoughts Hall had of a shutout.  With one minute left in the period, Esposito made it 4-1 with his 15th of the year and second of the night and for all intents and purposes this one was over.

Hodge was the goat on that goal, as he left his net to try to retrieve the rebound of a long shot by Doug Jarrett that had missed the net. Hodge missed his try and the puck ended up on Esposito’s stick. Faced with the unattended yawning cage, the big Chicago centre made no mistake.

Claude Provost did manage a goal for Montreal in the third, but 4-2 was as close as Canadiens would come, and on their play, they deserved nothing more. Gump Worsley replaced Hodge for the final 20 minutes. He kept the Hawks from adding to their lead with some good stops.

Ratelle Wins It For Rangers

Jean Ratelle
Jean Ratelle

Jean Ratelle scored with just under two minutes left in the game to power the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the league-leading Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Rangers ended their three-game losing streak with the upset. For Detroit, it was their first loss in 10 games.

The two teams started out cautiously in this one. The only goal of the first period was scored by Detroit’s Alex Delvecchio. It was his 17th of the season. Each team had nine shots on goal.

The second period was wide open, with each team scoring twice. Floyd Smith scored at the 26-second mark to put the Red Wings up by two. The Rangers roared back with a pair in just over two minutes. Vic Hadfield scored at 8:36, followed by Bob Nevin at 10:53.

However, the Wings went back up by one two minutes after that on Bill Gadsby’s third score of the season.

Detroit’s Defensive Shell Doesn’t Pay Off

The third period was a tense affair. The Red Wings opted to go into a defensive shell and protect the lead. That left the Rangers little choice but to go on the attack. Don Marshall finally broke through with the tying goal at 9:29. That set the stage for Ratelle’s winner.

Vic Hadfield
Vic Hadfield

Ratelle was set up by none other than tough guy Reg Fleming. Fleming, who has surprised with his efficiency since being picked up from Boston, slipped a pretty pass to Ratelle in front of the Red wing goal. The Rangers centre was somehow left uncovered and shoveled Fleming’s pass under Red Wing goalie Roger Crozier. Crozier had scrambled across the net to thwart the scoring opportunity but was just too late.

Ranger goalie Ed Giacomin, who recently returned from a stint in the American Hockey League, was superb.

An ugly incident took place in the third period when Hadfield and Gadsby squared off. Gadsby had caught Hadfield above the eye with his stick, opening a five-stitch gash. The two players were given five-minute majors for fighting. Gadsby was tagged with an additional five minutes for high-sticking. He was still in the penalty box when Ratelle netted the game-winner.