Canadians Thrill Border Throng With Dazzling Display of Hockey To Take Series From Stratford
Triumphantly winning the Allan Cup, the Fort Frances Canadians on Friday night entered the national limelight as senior amateur hockey champions of all Canada for 1952.
The Canadians showed a jubilant border throng a dazzling brand of play that completely outshone Stratford’s Indians and cut short the best of seven Dominion finals with a 4-1 conquest in the sixth game. The entirely hometown Canucks outclassed the eastern champions with a convincing victory that made up for their six years if blood-and-thunder campaigning.
Captain Sambo Fedoruk accepted the gleaming Allan Cup from James Dun, of Winnipeg, vice-president of the Canadian Ameteur Hockey Association in centre ice ceremonies following the game. Mayor J. T. Livingstone paid tribute to the “best team in the world” and District Judge H. J. M. Donley complimented the Stratford Indians on their sportsmanlike performance, wishing the easterners better luck next season.
Then is was to border fandom’s night to howl. Over-joyed fans piled into the Canadians dressing room and youngsters were given hockey sticks with which their idols had established national supremacy. Said the boys: “It’s been a wonderful season — but were glad it’s all over.”
Nobody worked harder to write a blazing finish to the series than Arthur “Doc” Johnson, a star of the team since it was organized following the Second War. The heady little centerman was a valuable spark to the team, scoring once himself, assisting on another and forechecking brilliantly.
Richard Ricard, Sambo Federuk, Vern O’Donnell and Johnson got the goalsm with Johnson, Percy Robertson, Ricard, Gudge Gosselinm Alex Kurceba and Frank Eisenzoph supplying the auxillaries. Behind the scorers, Federuk, Du Sampson, and Kerceba kept up a masterly defence that the visitors seldom penetrated effectively.
Blond Bill Cleaverly, who many time this spring spelled the difference between victory and elimination for Fort Frances, found himself on the easier end of action for a change, but was never in better form. Cleaverly kicked out 20 scoring attempts by Stratford while Goalie Bruce Dale, the Indians’ net-minder, came up with 28 saves.
The Canadians won the title to their first Allan Cup championship with a goal in each of the early periods plus a pair of clinchers in the third. Straford’s lone tally came off the stick of Bruce Burdett, aided by Jack White and Larry Lemenchick, late in the second round.
Coach-defenseman Pat Wilson, handicapped by injuries to two regular rearguards, Bill Walsh, who dressed but did not appear, and Do Henbuch, who saw action briefly, along with forward George Aitkin and rookie Tommy Walker, gave Dale great protection as Canadians maintained the initiative from the starting bell. But it seemed that the effort it took for Indians to win Wednesday had sapped the Easterner’s strength.
The Canadians threw a long, feler shot at Dale almost from the opening faceoff and rarely were hard-pressed afterwards. Four penalties were counted in the exceptionally fast, clean contest, including three to Straford, and three coming in the first period. But short-handedness had no part in the scoring.
Dinny Flanagan was waved off for high sticking at 1:44, but Eisenzoph’s shot was the only one Canadian got during the advantage. And when Eisenzoph was penalized for cross-checking, at 6:39, the Indians similarly didn’t get a single crack at Cleaverly, in fact were almost unable to cross the Fort Frances blueline.
The first period was more cautiously played than the later rounds, both teams forechecking nicely and their rear guards being outstanding.
It was Johnson, whose heady leadership recalled his art in the Allan Cup finals at Owen Sound last spring, who cracked the scoring ice for the Canadians, although Ricard got the goal, Johnson, although hit and falling, swept his stick in a flat arc that sent a 15-foot pass into position for Ricard to pepper Dale from close in and the score went up and 12:34.
Dale made a toenail stop on Kilner’s drive with O’Donnell standing ready to pop on immediatly afterwards, and Kurceba driving up centre, came within a hairs-breadth of another. Cleaverley made three stops and Dale, four, in the first 20 minutes.
Canadians served notice this was “the game” when the cameout fast and Fedoruk posted no. 2 after only 39 seconds in the second period. Taking a relay from Ricard, Sambo skated in deliberately and bounced a hard drive off Dale’s knee-pad that was deflected into the left-hand corner.
The second period showed Fort Frances commanding practically every inch of action, setting up power plays and featuring a lot of individual starring that kept the fans breathless.
O’Donnell was right in, but decided to slip the disc to Kliner who couldn’t get his sot steered right. Hupchuck was ridden off by Aitken in a solo break, before Stratford’s starry Roth-Flick-Flanagan combination burst out with the puck and had a short lived chance at Cleaveley. Then Hupchuck got spectators out of their seats with a twirling demonstration of stick-handling that ended in a shot smothered by Dale. Fedoruk contributed a powerful rush to the Canadians’ onslaught.
Robertson overook the speedy Flanagan just as the Indians’ forward got set for a shot, and then Eisenzoph and Hupchuk got around Wilson but their briliant effort ended in a shot that was inches off the target. Christainsen found himself in the clear on a long pass through the entire Stratford team by Eisenzoph but Christy couldn’t get going in time. Flick’s set shot, aimed calculatingly, was handled by Cleveley, who won applause for his sprawling save.
Then a three man attack paid off for Stratford at 17:24, with Burdett as triggerman for the Indians’ only goal of the evening.
The Canadians outplayed Stratford by a wide margin in the second period, only Stratford’s defense keeping Dale down to 14 saves while Cleveley had nine stops.
Fort Frances kept pouring it on in the third, Johnson’s line going greatguns before being replaced by O’Donnell-Kliner-Gosselin, this trio giving Canadians a third goal.
O’Donnell went into Stratford’s zone on a thrilling rush, was spilled, but got his pass onto Kurececa’s stick. Alex relayed to Gosselin and O’Donnell was in position by that time to tip in a rebound, at 43:10.
Johnson was struck in the face by a high stick but the game cetreman nevertheless got away a 10-foot back-hand shot from the Left of Dale that gave the Canadians their fourth goal at 46:56. Eisenzoph was credited with assisting.
Canadians kept swarming in on Dale, but the Stratford goalie was having one of the best nights and lose-checking by the Indians spoiled many Fort Frances attacks. Heinbuch, making one of his rare appearences, was penalized for interference at 48:22 after tripping up Fedoruk who had been all set to shoot.
Christiansen, masterminding his line superbly all night, got a pass away to Hupchuk and round Walker, that ended in another close save for Dale, and then Wilson sent out four farwards, Ducharme plus Roth’s lie, in an attempt to retrieve the issue, but Christy’s boys held command command until the last bell sounded. Cleaveley made eight saves, Dale, 10, in the last period of the last hockey game of the season.For a brief minute, stuned fans couldn’t believe the evidence on the scoreboard — its been so long since the Canadians first lined their sights on teh Allan Cup. Then a pandemonium of cheering almost raised the roof, a hat and programs sailed onto the ice and the ceremonies began.
A celebration is shaping up in Fort Frances where the Allan Cup will be held on display until next spring — and who knows, maybe later than that. The Canadians on Friday night, even the veterans among them, weren’t saying much about next year, but none of them were talking about hanging up their skates, either.
A group of Stratford citizens arrived in Fort Frances, planning to see two games, Friday night and Saturday.
Included in the party were Dr. J. G. McDermott, Mr. and Mrs. “Red” Scott, Charlie Dyke and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Easton.
The Indians and their accompanying radio and press representatives departed for home aboard the 2 a.m. train following the game.