The Detroit Red Wing rode the stellar goaltending of Roger Crozier to a shocking 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens last night in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final. The game, in Montreal and before a huge North American-wide audience on television, was a great showcase and provided a great preview of what may be to come in this series.
Crozier definitely was the story for the Wings. He stopped 33 of 35 Montreal drives. It wasn’t only the number of saves he made, but that he made them at key points in the game. Detroit coach Sid Abel gave the diminutive netminder all the credit for the win:
“Roger’s great save from J.C. Tremblay early in the game and that one on Bobby Rousseau in the closing minutes made the difference. But we have 18 guys who want to win pretty bad and that’s hard to beat.”
Detroit’s goal scorers were old warhorse Bill Gadsby, veteran Floyd Smith and young Paul Henderson. Henderson’s goal was the game-winner, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead early in the final period.
Ralph Backstrom and Terry Harper were the Montreal goal-getters.
Gadsby, the 38-year-old veteran of 20 National Hockey League campaigns without a Stanley Cup, was tired but happy after one of the better games he has ever played. He kept the front of the Detroit net clear of opposing forwards, blocked shots with reckless abandon and even made a pretty play to score a goal. He steered in an Ab McDonald feed past Montreal goalie Gump Worsley on a three on one break in the second period with the score tied at 1-1.
Montreal coach Toe Blake didn’t sound impressed by the Detroiters or their goalkeeper:
“We had enough chances. Crozier stopped one more than Gump, that’s all.”
Blake was pressed for a more detailed analysis of his team’s play and offered this:
“Don’t blame the layoff, the ice or the lights. We missed too many scoring chances and our defence made stupid mistakes at critical times. I thought the extra lights made it easier for the fans to follow the puck, improved the game as a spectacle.”
Montreal goalie Worsley said that the bright lights and blue-tinted ice were not distractions for him. He wore the same burnt cork under his eyes that Crozier did for the two Sunday afternoon games against Chicago, but like Crozier, he’ll likely discard it for the next afternoon tilt.
Many observers felt that the long layoff between games enjoyed by Canadiens may have contributed to their downfall. General Manager Sam Pollock discounted the idea:
“There’s no room for alibis after a game like that. We lost because Detroit outplayed us, deserved the 3-2 margin. And we’ll have to play much better in the remaining games to retain the Stanley Cup.
“I heard some people blaming the 10-day layoff and the poor quality of the ice. The real reason was the hot goaltending of Crozier and the honest toil of his Red Wing mates.”
Generals Take Game One of Eastern Junior Final
The Shawinigan Bruins skated with the Oshawa Generals for two periods last night. But the roof fell in on them in the final period and Generals skated off with a convincing 7-2 win in the first game of the Memorial Cup Eastern Canada Final played in Oshawa.
The Bruins came out flying to start the game, with Alain Beaule scoring after only 12 seconds of play. Oshawa captain Bobby Orr tied things up about four minutes later. Shawinigan’s Clement Tremblay gave Shawinigan the lead for the last time late in the first.
Danny O’Shea scored the middle frame’s only goal, setting up the 2-2 tie going in to the final 20 minutes.
It didn’t take long for the host club to take the lead in the third. Wayne Cashman tallied at 1:28 to make it 3-2. That was followed in short order by goals from Chris Hayes, Bill White and Bill Heindl to make it 6-2 before the 10-minute mark.
Buffey Hanging Them Up
Veteran NHL referee Vern Buffey says that he is retiring after the current Stanley Cup final series. Her insists that it has nothing to do with the pressure that goes along with officiating the world’s fastest sport, or the criticism that he has had to bear over the years.
“I’ll probably cut my earnings in half by retiring from the refereeing profession, but I’ve had enough and better get out while I’m still doing, in my opinion, a capable job.
I’d like to stay in hockey in some other capacity. I wouldn’t mind a public relations job, radio or even writing. Maybe I’ll even have to dig ditches, but I’m serious. This is my last season.”
Buffey has worn the stripes for 17 years, but like most game officials, he started as a player. He was a goaltender and his last season as a player was with the Toronto Marlboro Junior B team. Stafford Smythe was that team’s manager.
Rochester Bombs Quebec
The Rochester Americans took a three games to two lead in the AHL’s Calder Cup semi-final with a 4-2 decision over the Quebec Aces in Toronto. Tied 2-2 going into the third, Rochester scored twice in the final 20 minutes to claim the victory.
Bronco Horvath led the Amerks attack with a pair of goals. Singles came from Ed Litzenberger and Dick Gamble. Leon Rochefort had both goals for the Aces.
Victoria Forces Seventh Game
The Victoria Maple Leafs forced a seventh and deciding game with the San Francisco Seals with a 5-4 win over the Seals last night in Victoria. Bob Barlow’s goal in the 13th minute of overtime turned the trick for the Leafs.
Barlow had two goals for Victoria. Gord Redahl, Sandy Hucul and Lou Jankowski had the others. Seals goal getters were Wayne Connelly, Ron Harris, Ron Schock and Tom Thurlby.
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.