50 Years Ago in Hockey – Keon Keeps Leafs In Series

Dave Keon scored after only 4:17 of overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens last night at Maple Leaf Gardens.  The Toronto win cuts Montreal’s lead in their semi-final series to two games to one.

Dave Keon scored the overtime game-winner for the Leafs.

Worsley nullified icing call

Keon’s goal came on a play that looked to be called for icing, until Montreal goalkeeper Gump Worsley played the puck.  Worsley shot the puck up along the boards to defenceman J.C. Tremblay.  Keon picked up the puck from Tremblay as he was being checked by Frank Mahovlich.  Keon skated around Ted Harris and whipped a 30-foot backhand past Worsley to put a sudden and surprising end to the game.

The Maple Leafs, game as ever, fought back twice from one goal deficits.  Jean Beliveau gave the Habs a 1-0 first period lead with a goal at 17:02.  Toronto evened the count at 1-1 with an Eddie Shack goal early in the second.

Only 47 seconds into the third period, Henri Richard put Montreal back in front when he cashed in his own rebound.  But the Leafs fought back once again, with Andy Bathgate, who was booed lustily by the home crowd,  finding the range just before the eight minute mark of the final frame.  That’s how regulation time ended.

Andy Bathgate scored a big third-period goal.

The game featured only one skirmish that could qualify as a fight.  John Ferguson and Kent Douglas dropped the gloves and went toe-to-toe after Ferguson had run over Leaf goalie Johnny Bower.  Claude Larose and Eddie Shack also squared off, but were given only minors for their trouble.

Udvari’s foul mood

Referee Frank Udvari seemed to be in a foul mood right from the start.  He called captains Jean Beliveau and George Armstrong to centre ice before the opening faceoff and told them that no players, including captains and the alternates, were allowed to talk to him.

Armstrong was not impressed,  “It makes you feel like a little schoolboy.  I always try to keep calm and I’ll ask him if it’s all right to ask him something.  If he’s in a bad mood he’ll say ‘No, no, no’ and that’s it.  But if he’s receptive, he’ll say ‘What is it?'”

Udvari issued two 10-minute misconducts, one to each team in the third period.

Allan Stanley who was nicked for the first misconduct early in the third, said he didn’t swear, nor was he at all upset with Udvari during their brief conversation.

Allan Stanley's joke earned him a 10-minute misconduct.
Allan Stanley’s joke earned him a 10-minute misconduct.

“I spoke to him and he said  ‘Don’t talk to me or I’ll be in trouble.’  I said, ‘You must know where the cameras are’  and I was gone for 10.

“I wasn’t mad, he wasn’t mad.  Referees used to be able to enjoy a laugh.”

Former Leaf Dick Duff earned his misconduct after Bathgate’s tying goal,  Duff skated by Udvari and said, “Imlach and Clancy are laughing at you.”  Udvari didn’t think that was very funny either, and sent Duff off for ten minutes, along with a $25 fine, automatic in the circumstances.

Blake doesn’t blame Gump

After the game, Worsley discussed Keon’s tying goal.

“I did not see a linesman signal  an icing call so I had to clear the puck.  If I hadn’t, Mahovlich, who was behind our defencemen, would have had a play on goal.”

Montreal coach Toe Blake agreed with his goaltender.

“”Heck, both our defencemen should have been there to clear the puck.  They had lots of time to get it out of our zone.  It was just one of those things.”

Ted Harris took the blame for Keon's overtime goal.
Ted Harris took the blame for Keon’s overtime goal.

While both Harris and Tremblay tried to take the blame for the miscues that led to Keon’s goal, Keon himself gave this version of the play:

“I came off the bench for Kelly and saw Frank Mahovlich knock the puck loose from Tremblay.  I got it, managed to beat Harris and let go a backhander.  Some nights those kind go in and some nights they don’t.  This was my night.”

Blake was visibly upset with the officiating, although he was careful with his words.

“I want to say this was the best refereed game I saw in my life.”  A note of sarcasm could be detected in the coach’s voice.

When pressed for a more elaborate opinion by the assembled scribes, Blake continued.

“I’m not saying the refereeing was bad, but I hope Udvari sleeps well tonight.”

When asked once more about Udvari’s work, Blake almost lost his temper.

“Don’t ask me that again!  If you got the guts to say the refereeing was bad, you write it!  You write it instead of me getting fined.  I say Udvari refereed a good game and if you don’t believe me, ask Punch Imlach.”

Imlach was also unhappy about Udvari’s officiating, blaming him for the fight between Douglas and Ferguson.  He said that Udvari delayed in calling a minor penalty on Douglas, allowing Ferguson and the Leaf defenceman to engage in their fisticuffs.

Imlach’s moves paid off

Imlach told Red Burnett of the Toronto Star why he kept young Pete Stemkowki on the bench.

“Big Frank (Mahovlich) has said he plays his best hockey with Red Kelly at centre.  I’m trying to get him untracked, so Pete has to sit out.  If we can get the Big M rolling, it will give us the lift we need.  And, I think Kelly can get him scoring.

Punch Imlach thinks Red Kelly is the key to getting Frank Mahovlich going.
Punch Imlach thinks Red Kelly is the key to getting Frank Mahovlich going.

“Dickie Moore didn’t get out there because Eddie Shack played so well.  He was a trifle erratic in the third period but he got us going with a good goal and played his wing well.”

Imlach also commented on sticking with Andy Bathgate despite unmerciful booing by the Gardens crowd.

“They don’t run my hockey team.  I had no intention of lifting Bathgate for someone who isn’t in the same class as a goal-getter. And this was one time patience paid off.  Bathgate belongs on our power play.”