After a short holiday hiatus, we’re back to report action in the National Hockey League over the past couple of days. Two matches were played last night, with Chicago bombing Boston 6-2 before over 16,500 at home, while Detroit downed New York 3-1.
There were three Boxing Day games. Montreal took advantage of a rookie goaltender to whip Detroit 6-3, Chicago defeated Toronto 5-3 and the Bruins blanked the Rangers 2-0.
Mikita leads Hawks
Last night before that packed house in Chicago (there were definitely many more than the announced crowd of 16,593) Stan Mikita was the hero for the Hawks, as he scored two goals. Both of Mikita’s markers came in the first 9:03 of the opening period and set the tone for the rest of the contest. Other Chicago scorers were Dennis Hull, Fred Stanfield, Doug Robinson and Johnny McKenzie. Forbes Kennedy and Dean Prentice replied for Boston. Prentice’s tally came on a penalty shot, awarded by referee Frank Udvari when the Bruin left winger was tripped by Mikita when he was on a breakaway.
Plante stars in losing cause
At Detroit, Floyd Smith’s power play goal with 34 seconds left in the second period proved to be the winner for the Wings over the Rangers. Ron Murphy had the first Detroit goal, with Norm Ullman getting the other into an empty New York net, after Jacques Plante had been pulled in favour of an extra attacker. Vic Hadfield was the only Ranger to beat Detroit goalkeeper Roger Crozier.
Detroit dominated the Rangers right from the opening fa faceoff Only the superior netminding of Jacques Plante for the visitors kept the score respectable. He made 41 saves, many of the spectacular variety, and was easily the star of the game.
Rookie goaler bombed
On Saturday evening, Detroit Red Wings coach Sid Abel decided to give regular goalie Roger Crozier a night off, naming 28-year-old rookie Carl Wetzel, a Detroit native, as the starter. Unfortunately for Wetzel, his opponent, the Montreal Canadiens, are one of the hottest teams in the NHL and they showed no mercy for the first-time big league starter.
The Habs stormed the Detroit goal incessantly in the first period and had built a 4-0 lead over the Wings before Abel did the humane thing and lifted Wetzel in favour of Crozier just past the half-way mark of the second period. Henri Richard, Claude Larose, Claude Provost and Dick Duff, with his first as a Canadien, were the early Montreal marksmen.
After Crozier came into the game, the Red Wings rallied and narrowed the gap to 4-2 on goals by Ted Lindsay and Norm Ullman, before the second stanza had come to a close. In the final frame, Dave Balon and Bobby Rousseau upped the Montreal total to six, while Ed Joyal netted Detroit’s third and final score.
DeJordy solid for Chicago
In Toronto the Black Hawks rode the stellar netminding of Denis DeJordy to their win over Toronto. Dejordy stopped 28 Maple Leaf shots, compared to 19 saves by Leafs’ Johnny Bower to down Toronto. Chico Maki, Red Hay, Stan Mikita, Phil Esposito and Bobby Hull all shared in the Chicago scoring parade with a goal each. George Armstrong, Ron Stewart and Eddie Shack replied for the Leafs.
The Leafs had a fourth goal taken away when goal judge Eddie Mepham ruled the puck did not enter the net off a Bob Pulford shot in the first period. Mepham said that the puck hit the post and the crossbar, but ricocheted away from the goal, a version of the story supported (naturally) by DeJordy. Pulford felt that the puck hit the inside curved frame at the top of the goal in the back and bounced out. Television replays supported Pulford’s account. Goal judges, however, do not have the benefit of looking at the film before making a decision.
‘EJ’ big for Bruins
In the other Boxing Day match-up, the Bruins got a big game from goalkeeper Eddie Johnston to claim their 2-0 victory over the Rangers. Dean Prentice and Tommy Williams gave Boston the offence they needed, with Johnston slamming the door on the Rangers at every turn.
Busiest man on the ice was referee John Ashley. He called 15 penalties, including four majors and a misconduct.
OHA Marlies win wild one
The Toronto Marlboros won a wild OHA Junior A game yesterday at Maple Leafs Gardens, outscoring the St. Catharines Black Hawks 10-7. The win enabled league-leading Toronto to maintain a one-point lead over second place Niagara Falls.
Brit Selby had a memorable game for the Marlies with six points, on three goals and three assists. The Marlies played without three regulars, Wayne Carleton, Barry Watson and goalie Gerry Desjardins. Carleton underwent knee surgery on the weekend and will be lost for five weeks. Watson has a injured shoulder, while Desjardins was benched in favour of young Al Smith, who hadn’t played since the first week of the season.
Other Marlboro scorers were Paul Laurent with two, Mike Corrigan, Jim Davidson, Al Osborne, Mike Byers and Gerry Meehan with singles. Brian McDonald fired three for the Black Hawks. Ken Laidlaw and Mickey Cherevaty added the others.
Retired police detective, involved in hockey at all levels for over 50 years. Member of Society for International Hockey Research and presently a video analyst for the leader in advanced hockey analytics (we work exclusively for 2 NHL clubs, and provide advice on an ad hoc basis to many other clients). Currently the Assistant General Manager for the Pelham Pirates of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Previously owned the Faceoff computer hockey simulation and also provided all player ratings for the EA Sports series of NHL computer games from the late 90’s into the mid 2000’s.