The Niagara Falls Flyers and Edmonton Oil Kings stuck to hockey last night in a game four that was so gentlemanly it was described as a Sunday School Picnic by one scribe. The Flyer dominated the play en route to an 8-2 drubbing of the host team. The Flyers are now one victory away from claiming the Memorial Cup.
Brian Bradley was the hero for the Flyers, scoring five goals. Bradley, 20, is in his final year of junior hockey and seems intent on leaving a lasting impression before he graduates to the pros. Bill Goldsworthy, who was a doubtful starter after being injured by Oil King captain Bob Falkenberg in game three, scored two goals for Niagara Falls. Jean Pronovost, back in the lineup after sitting out game three, had the other Flyer goal.
Reid Simpson and Graham Longmuir replied for the Oil Kings. Over 5,300 fans jammed the Edmonton Gardens to take in the one-sided contest. Game five goes this Friday.
Niagara Falls was without Ricky Ley and Derek Sanderson, both of whom were suspended for the match. Ron Anderson of the Oil Kings also sat out the game under suspension. Edmonton captain Bob Falkenberg missed the game, still feeling the effects of injuries he suffered when knocked unconscious by Sanderson late in game three.
Edmonton police doubled their presence at the game, assigning 50 officers to provide security. In addition, the tunnel leading from the players benches to the dressing rooms was sealed off from the public.
The game was played in an orderly fashion, with none of the nastiness that marked the first three games of the series. It was a dull, lifeless affair that provided little drama or entertainment value. Frank Orr of the Toronto Star called the game “the Sunday school picnic after World War Three.”
The issue was basically decided by the 13:30 mark of the first period when Niagara jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Goldsworthy opened the scoring before Bradley struck for a pair just three minutes apart. Simpson get Edmonton on the board three minutes later, but that was as close as the Oil Kings would get.
The second period was scoreless, thanks to the heroics of Flyer goalie Bernie Parent. He made several spectacular saves, especially on Oil King forward Fran Huck. Huck was the only Edmonton player to generate any offence.
Parent had 25 saves for the Flyers, while Wayne Stephenson, still filling in for regular Oil Kings netminder Gary Simmons, stopped 21 for Edmonton. He could not be faulted for the inflated Niagara goal total.
The back-breaking goal came at 45 seconds of the final frame. Bradley hit for his third of the night while the Flyers were killing one of the 11 minor penalties they were assessed by referee Jim McCauley.
- Harold Ballard, executive vice-president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, says that the team will operate their Western Hockey League farm club in Victoria, B.C. once again next season. There was talk the team might be moved to Phoenix, Arizona.
- Rudy Pilous is expected to return to Victoria as coach next season
- The Leafs plan to add 1,000 seats to the south end of Maple Leaf Gardens. Cost is $150,000.
- The NHL has received so many applications to replace president Clarence Campbell, it may have to retain a professional management consultant to narrow the field of candidates.
- The Western and American Hockey Leagues are meeting this week in Seattle to discuss an interlocking schedule. The teams are considering joining forces with thoughts of acquiring a national television contract. Some observers feel that a merger between the two leagues would form a circuit that might challenge the NHL for major-league status.