The Toronto Maple Leafs spotted the Montreal Canadiens an early 2-0 first-period lead, then roared back with three third-period goals in one of the most stirring comebacks in recent memory as they nipped the Habs 3-2 in Toronto last night. The win for the Maple Leafs coupled with Chicago’s 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers, knocked the Montrealers out of first place in the National Hockey League standings.
Leafs Unbeaten in Nine
Toronto now has gone nine games without tasting defeat.
Montreal’s early lead came under strange circumstances. The host club dominated the opening frame, outshooting Canadiens by a 18-8 margin. But Montreal scored the only two goals and Leaf goalie Terry Sawchuk would admit he was entirely capable of stopping both chances.
Former Leaf Dick Duff opened the scoring at 3:25 when he was sent in on a long pass by Bobby Rousseau. Duff was being checked and flipped a weak 15-footer at Sawchuk, who seemed to fan on what looked like a sliding knuckleball.
Jean Beliveau put Montreal up 2-0 about two minutes later on yet another setup by Rousseau. Rousseau fed Beliveau at the side of the Toronto goal and the big Montreal captain had Sawchuk go for a nice deke before he slipped the disk over the goal line.
Sawchuk seemed to settle down after the early rough start and was unbeatable the rest of the way. Montreal took over the edge in play in the scoreless second stanza, but couldn’t get anything by the Toronto netminder.
Rousseau Scores in Own Net
Leafs came out flying in the final period, but needed a little Montreal help to notch their first goal of the game. Bob Pulford fired at shot at Canadiens goalie Charlie Hodge, and the little puckstopper made a fine save. Rousseau attempted to clear the loose puck and accidentally fired it into his own goal. That seemed to break the spell that Hodge had held over the Leafs for the first 41 minutes.
At 5:59, Toronto tied things up when Frank Mahovlich executed a perfect deflection of Larry Hillman’s point shot past Hodge. George Armstrong started the play when he dug the puck out of the corner and delivered it to Hillman at the blue line.
Armstrong’s game-winner came at 13:08. Sawchuk earned an assist on the play by sliding a loose puck to Dave Keon at the Leaf goal. Leafs were killing a penalty at the time and Keon slipped the puck to Armstrong near the Montreal zone. Jacques Laperriere knocked the puck down, but it bounced right to the Toronto captain, who beat Hodge with a wicked wrist shot over the shoulder from well out.
Hodge was upset with himself for missing Armstrong’s drive, especially since he had seen the Chief practising the move earlier.
“I watched Armstrong practise that shoulder-high shot to the short side against Johnny Bower for five minutes in Maple Leafs’ workout Tuesday and was amazed at his accuracy.
“So what happened? Like a dummy, I forgot all about it and he beat me with an identical shot for the winning goal. Next time I’ll freeze to the near post.”
Armstrong described himself as fortunate to score on the play:
“I was lucky. Jacques Laperriere poke-checked the puck, it bounced up, hit me in the chest and fell at my feet as I crossed the blue line. Then I just turned it loose.”
Hall Hot for Hawks
Chicago Black Hawks goalkeeper Glenn Hall earned the 71st shut out of his NHL career last night as he and his mates skated to a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers, despite being thoroughly outplayed by host squad at Madison Square Garden in New York. Chicago moved into first place in the NHL standings with the two points.
New York played well in front of a capacity home town holiday crowd and it was only Hall’s wizardry in the Chicago goal that determined the game’s outcome. Rangers outshot the Hawks 33-15 in the game. Hall had to be at his best, as it seemed the Rangers were able to steal the puck from Chicago defenders at will.
The Black Hawks scored once in each period against Ranger goalie Ed Giacomin. Ken Wharram connected for his 13th of the season in the game’s second minute to open the scoring. Chico Maki’s sixth of the season at 17:09 of the middle frame made it 2-0. Then in the third, rookie Ken Hodge notched his first National Hockey League goal to round out the scoring.
Hodge’s initial pro marker came when he rammed home a rebound from Eric Nesterenko’s shot that Giacomin failed to cover.
Bourbonnais’ Goals Lift Canada
Roger Bourbonnais scored twice in the final half of the third period to lift Canada into a 5-5 tie with Sweden at the international hockey tournament at Colorado Springs in Colorado. The Canadians had to outscore the Swedes 3-1 in that final 20 minutes to gain the tie.
Other Canadian scorers were Ray Cadieux, Billy MacMillan and coach Jackie McLeod. Sweden’s goalgetters were Nygren with two, Palmqvist, Bengtsson and Lindberg with singles.
Horvath Nets Winner for Amerks
Bronco Horvath scored the winning goal in the third period to power the Rochester Americans past the Cleveland Barons in American Hockey League play last night. The other three AHL games all ended in 4-2 scores, with Buffalo over Providence, Hershey beating Quebec and Springfield taking down Pittsburgh.
Gerry Ehman and Jim Pappin also scored for Rochester. Wayne Schultz and Joe Szura replied for Cleveland.
Buffalo got goals from defenseman Ed Van Impe and forwards Gerry Melnyk, Pat Hannigan and Billy Dea for their win over the Reds. Pierre Brillant and Dave Creighton scored for Providence.
Bruce Cline scored twice for Hershey against Quebec. Gene Ubriaco and Roger DeJordy added the others. For Quebec it was Jean Guy Gendron and Gordon Labossiere.
Bill Sweeney led the Springfield attack at Pittsburgh with two markers. Jim Anderson and Howie Menard completed the Indians scoring. The Hornets, who are mired in a slump, managed goals by Duke Harris and Pit Martin.
Nedomansky to Rangers – But Not Until 1968
Jim Proudfoot of the Toronto Star reports that Czechoslovakian hockey officials have made a commitment to allow their fine young forward Vaclav Nedomansky to join the New York Rangers after the 1968 Winter Olympics.
The deal was apparently negotiated with Rangers assistant general manager Jackie Gordon. Gordon was sent to the international hockey tourney at Colorado Springs with the express intent to secure Nedomansky’s services. Rangers placed Nedomansky on their negotiation list a year ago.
The Rangers had hoped to bring the big centre to New York immediately. However, by the time he is available, he will be only 24 and will just be coming into his own.
A Czech spokesman made the following statement:
We are very anxious to see him succeed in professional hockey but our first consideration is the next Olympic championship. After that, he will be available.