The Toronto Maple Leafs won their first game of the young National Hockey League season last night in one of two scheduled league games. The Leafs edged the struggling Detroit Red Wings 3-2 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The other game saw the Chicago Black Hawks invade the Forum in Montreal and upset the Canadiens 5-3.
Shack Nets the Winner
Eddie Shack’s first goal of the season at 8:49 of the final frame proved to be the game winner for the Leafs. Shack yelled loudly for a pass which line mate Larry Jeffrey delivered and cut in from the left side to beat Detroit goalie Roger Crozier. Shack’s 30-foot drive got through Crozier’s legs.
Toronto’s fourth line of Pete Stemkowski, George Armstrong and John Brenneman was responsible for their other two goals. After a scoreless initial 20 minutes, Brenneman scored his first at 9:51 of the second on a nice setup by Stemkowski. Defenceman Kent Douglas then scored to make it 2-0 seven minutes later, converting another Stemkowski pass.
Paul Henderson scored both Detroit goals in the third period. He now leads the Wings with four on the year.
Terry Sawchuk was outstanding in goal for Toronto. He made 35 saves and was kept busy as the Wings were buzzing around the Leaf zone all night. After the game, Sawchuk looked exhausted and said so to Lou Cauz of the Toronto Globe & Mail:
I have days like this. Days when I am so bushed I can hardly move.
Sawchuk talked about the goal he gave up to Henderson early in the period. He refused to use an upsetting telephone call he got during the second intermission as an excuse. The Leaf netminder had received a call from home that his mother-in-law was seriously ill, but he wouldn’t use that as a perfectly acceptable alibi:
Both goals went between my legs. Paul had no angle on that first one. All I had to do was keep my legs closed. On the second Gord Howe’s rebound got away from me and Paul jammed it between my legs.
But the big thing was we won, and the news from home wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be.
The loss for the Red Wings was their fourth straight.
Peter Mahovlich Sr. watched the game with mixed emotions. It was the first time his sons, Frank and Peter Jr. had faced off against each other in a NHL regular season game.
Hull Brothers Push Hawks Past Habs
The Hull brothers, Bobby and Dennis, continued their own family scoring race last night at the Montreal Forum as the Chicago Black Hawks got by the Montreal Canadiens 5-3. The brothers each scored his fourth goal of the season to provide the two-goal margin for the Hawks.
The Hull goals were part of the three-goal outburst within two minutes and 17 seconds of the second period that gave Chicago a 4-1 lead. Ed Van Impe had the third second period marker. Chico Maki and Ken Wharram had the other Black Hawks goals.
Ralph Backstrom, Yvan Cournoyer and Bobby Rousseau replied for Canadiens.
Denis DeJordy put in a fine performance in goal for the Hawks, making 27 saves. It was Chicago’s fourth straight win to open the season.
Montreal had a big chance to blow the game wide open early in the first period. Chicago took three successive penalties, including a five-minute major to Ed Van Impe for putting Habs defencemen J.C. Tremblay nearly through the glass. Canadiens failed to score with their man advantages.
Montreal goalie Gump Worsley admitted after that game that he had not played well. That didn’t sit well with Canadiens coach Toe Blake:
Don’t blame Gump for this one. Some of these fellows haven’t done a thing in three games. It looks like they’re trying to get by on last year’s laurels.
Most NHL goalies must be worrying how much worse it can get with two Hull brothers blasting puck their way this year. The answer is – a lot worse. Bobby Hull says he is not yet at full strength this season. Hull has pulled muscles in his lower back. The injury is slowing both his vaunted slap shot and his skating. Hull says he was lucky to even score:
I felt that I was just walking around out there tonight and I was fortunate to score.
Gulls Tie Victoria in WHL’s Only Game
The only game in the Western Hockey League last night saw the San Diego Gulls and Victoria Maple Leafs skate to a 4-4 draw.
John MacMillan scored twice to pace the San Diego attack. Len Ronson and Len (Comet) Haley added singles. For Victoria, it was Larry Keenan, Dick Lamoureux, Bruce Carmichael and Fred Hucul.
Seals Home Nears Completion
The Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, which will serve as home ice this season for the Western Hockey League California Seals, will be ready for action for the Seals home opening game on November 9. The rink will also be home to the Seals National Hockey League expansion team a year from now.
While finishing touches will need to be added, the rink will be fully functional. Ample parking is available with the football stadium next door.
The only major problem facing the building is the lack of access to the Nimitz Freeway. Necessary ramps enabling freeway traffic to access and leave the area have not been completed. The State has told Seals management that it will be at least 18 months before the situation can be rectified.
The arena will seat 12,000 for hockey this season. Seven hundred more seats will be added before the start of the NHL season in 1967-68.
Nashville Wins EHL Opener
The Nashville Dixie Flyers took their home opener last night by a 5-4 count over the Knoxville Knights. A crowd of over 3500 was on hand to see veteran Ted McCaskill score a pair for the home side. Flyers goalie Marv Edwards rose to the occasion to deny a late charge by the Knights to preserve the victory.