It was a fairly light exhibition schedule last night around the NHL with only three games involving NHL teams taking on minor league clubs. Toronto skated to a 6-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks of the Western Hockey League, Chicago defeated Buffalo of the American League 4-1 at Welland, Ontario, while Detroit handled their Pittsburgh Hornets American League team by the same 4-1 score in Goderich, Ontario. In Theford Mines, PQ, the Montreal Canadiens put on an intra-squad game.
Leafs look strong
Toronto has been looking extremely strong on this western swing, and followed up previous wins with a convincing victory over the Canucks in Vancouver. Former NHL defenseman Babe Pratt, who played for the Leafs and now lives in Vancouver, was very impressed. “They’re a powerhouse, but for Marcel (goalie Paille) it would have been 15-2. I have never seen better play patterns or puck control. They seldom let our guys have the puck.”
Leafs’ Eddie Shack, a crowd favourite all night, put on an energetic performance and managed to contribute a goal and an assist. Bob Pulford, Ron Stewart, Gerry Ehman, Kent Douglas and Frank Mahovlich also counted for Toronto. Bob McCusker scored the first Canucks’ goal on Johnny Bower, while Jim Baird netted the second one on Terry Sawchuk.
The Leafs peppered Paille with 17 third period shots, none of which beat the veteran netminder.
Hay leads Hawks
Bill (Red) Hay was the man for Chicago last night as the Black Hawks had no trouble with the Buffalo Bisons before a packed house in Welland. Hay scored a pair of goals en route to the Hawks’ 4-1 decision over the Herd. Doug Robinson and Alain Caron had the other Chicago goals, while Gerry Melnyk replied for the Bisons. Caron is the current record holder for most goals in a season in both the Eastern Professional Hockey League and the Central Professional Hockey League.
“Fats” fires two for Wings
Alex Delvecchio, known as “Fats” to his mates, led the Red Wings to their win over the Hornets in Goderich with a two-goal performance. Defenseman Doug Barkley and forward Bruce MacGregor rounded out the scoring for Detroit, while NHL veteran Parker MacDonald was the only Hornet to get on the board for Pittsburgh.
Newcomers impress for Habs
Charlie Hodge played a strong game for the first time this fall in the win over the Aces, but was on the losing end of a 5-3 score in Montreal’s intra-squad game last night. Meanwhile, his main competition for the Habs’ net, Gump Worsley, was outstanding. However, the situation that has Habs front office folks smiling these days is the fine showing by a couple of rookies.
Yvan Cournoyer continues to draw attention with his scoring prowess in the exhibition games. He’s been beating goaltenders regularly, playing right wing on a line with Jean Beliveau and Gilles Tremblay. Over the past couple of days, Tremblay has been replaced by tough-guy John Ferguson on the left side, a possible indication that the Habs are considering Cournoyer for major league work. As Ferguson puts it, ” They’ll be going for Cournoyer in the first few games. I’d like to be on the line to keep the opposition honest.” With Ferguson on the ice, there is no doubt that very few liberties will be taken with the Montreal rookie right-winger.
The other newcomer who has apparently won a job is big Teddy Harris, an AHL all-star defenseman with the Cleveland Barons last season. It looks right now like Harris will grab the fifth defense spot, edging out Bryan Watson. Harris is another tough guy, and has no trouble clearing the front of the net. He’s also not adverse to dropping the mitts when the occasion arises.