50 Years Ago in Hockey: Leafs Come Back to Tie Habs

It was a busy Wednesday evening in the National Hockey League, as all six clubs saw action. Two of the three games ended in ties, with Toronto and Montreal battling to a 3-3 stalemate, while the Bruins and Rangers sawed one off at 2-2. In the only game to reach a decision, the Chicago Black Hawks downed the Detroit Red Wings 5-2.

Leafs Come From Two Down

At Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, it looked like the Montreal Canadiens were going to have their way with the Maple Leafs, dominating the game for two periods. Then, the Canadiens took the proverbial foot off the throat of the Leafs and let the boys in blue and white back into the game. A crowd of 14, 723 were delighted to see their heroes come all the way back to gain a point against the Stanley Cup champs.

Dick Duff

The Flying Frenchmen were exactly that in the first period – flying – against the Leafs, firing 15 shots at Toronto goaltender John Bower. Bower’s stout play kept the home side in the game, as he surrendered only one goal. That was to Ralph Backstrom, who connected for his third of the year.

Canadiens kept their dominance into the middle frame, scoring twice more. John Ferguson scored just before the five-minute mark to put Montreal up 2-0. About two minutes later, Dave Keon, on one of the rare times he has missed a goal post this season, collected his second of the game to narrow the gap to 2-1.

Montreal responded to Keon’s tally immediately, with former Leaf Dick Duff converting a nice Bobby Rousseau setup past a helpless Bower only 18 seconds later to restore the two-goal difference.

The second period ended with Montreal up 3-1. Outshooting the Leafs 27-18, it certainly looked like the Habs had this one well in hand.

Ellis Sparks Leafs in Third

Orland Kurtenbach
Orland Kurtenbach

Young Toronto right-winger Ron Ellis was the spark the home team needed, as he scored a goal to make it 3-2 and then set up Orland Kurtenbach’s tying score.

Ellis’ goal came on a power play at 6:07 of the final frame. Coach Toe Blake was livid with forward John Ferguson, who was goaded into an extra penalty by Leafs’ Eddie Shack. Both players were assessed minors for roughing, but when Shack continued to chirp at Ferguson, the big Montreal winger took a couple of extra swings at the truculent Toronto forward, and was given an extra two minutes for his trouble.

A little over a minute later, burly Canadiens defender Ted Harris earned a penalty of his own, leaving Montreal two men short. That was the opportunity the Leafs needed and Ellis took a nice pass from Frank Mahovlich to backhand a shot past Habs goalie Gump Worsley.

At that point the Leafs began to exert pressure on the Habs, but almost on cue, referee Vern Buffey sent Ellis off for boarding, giving Montreal the chance to restore the two-goal lead. However, Bower and the Leaf defense withstood a mediocre Montreal power play. As Ellis stepped out of the penalty box, he picked up a loose puck with Jacques Laperriere caught inside the Toronto blue line. Ellis swooped in alone and made a nice move on Worsley, but the rotund Montreal netminder made an even better play with a spectacular, sprawling save. Big Orland Kurtenbach, following up on the play, deposited the rebound over a prone Worsley into the unguarded Montreal cage.

Leafs kept the pressure on the rest of the way, but only the fine work by Worsley kept them from winning the game outright.

Bruins Rally to Tie Rangers

Ed Westfall’s goal early in the third period brought the Boston Bruins all the way back from a 2-0 deficit to give them a 2-2 draw with the Rangers in New York.

Ed Westfall
Ed Westfall

The Rangers had jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the 10-minute mark of the first period on goals by Cowboy McKenzie and Phil Goyette. Goyette’s marker was the 100th of his NHL career.

Parker MacDonald netted his second of the year at 13:17 to cut the Ranger lead in half.

MacDonald’s goal came on a power play after McKenzie fell on the puck during a wild scramble in front of the Ranger goal. In the course of the fray, Boston’s Ted Green attempted to poke a loose puck into the net, and in the process, sliced the forehead of Ranger goalkeeper Ed Giacomin. Giacomin was cut for four stitches.

In accordance with the new NHL rule for goaltenders, Giacomin left the ice for repairs and was replaced by back up goalie Don Simmons for the rest of the first period.

The teams skated through a scoreless middle stanza. Boston rookie goalie Bernie Parent was much busier than his Ranger counterpart Giacomin, who returned from the medical room none the worse for wear and started the second.

At 2:14 of the third, Westfall’s third goal of the season knotted the score at two. Westfall’s goal came on a quick 20-foot wrist shot that caught the corner on Giacomin.

Hawks Unbeaten in Seven

Stan Mikita
Stan Mikita

The Chicago Black Hawks are now unbeaten in seven straight games, thanks to a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings last night at the Chicago Stadium. The Hawks now have sole possession of first place in the NHL standings.

Stan Mikita led the Hawks with two goals. Singles came from Phil Esposito, Len Lunde and Red Hay.

Billy Harris and Gordie Howe were the Red Wings marksmen.

Hannigan Leads Bisons

Pat Hannigan had a goal and two assists to lead the Buffalo Bisons to a 4-2 triumph over the Providence Reds in one of three American Hockey League games last night. In the other two matches, Cleveland Barons dumped the Springfield Indians 5-1, while the Rochester Americans scored four second period goals en route to a 6-4 win over the Hershey Bears.

Pat Hannigan
Pat Hannigan

At Providence, Jim Stanfield, Alain Caron and Billy Dea also connected for the Bisons. Jimmy Bartlett and Willie Marshall had the Reds goals.

Keith McCreary’s two goals paced the Cleveland attack against the Indians. Wayne Schultz, Bob Courcy and Bob Ellett also scored for the Barons. Springfield’s Dave Amadio ruined Cleveland netminder Les Binkley’s shut out bid with a first-period tally.

At Hershey, Jim Pappin was a two-goal scorer for the Amerks. Singles came off the sticks of Brian Conacher, Dick Gamble, Red Armstrong and Wally Boyer. Hershey goal-getters were Gene Ubriaco, Mike Nykoluk, Roger DeJordy and Gary Dornhoefer.


  • Boston sent rookie F Terry Crisp to Oklahoma City of the CPHL.
  • Portland Buckaroos created a first-place tie in the WHL by bouncing the Victoria Maple Leafs 6-0. Dick Van Impe had three goals for the Bucks.
  • Seattle Totems have traded D Moe Mantha to Vancouver Canucks for D Les Hunt in a Western Hockey League deal.
  • San Francisco Seals dropped a 4-0 decision to the visiting Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL.