Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Memorial Cup: A history . . . 1965

Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Niagara Falls Flyers
at Edmonton (Gardens)

When the Edmonton Oil Kings bounced the Winnipeg Braves 6-3 on May 2 to win the Abbott Cup, they earned their sixth consecutive berth in the Memorial Cup final.
It was an incredible streak of success, matched perhaps only by the futility they had run into in the final. The Oil Kings went into this final, with all games played in the Edmonton Gardens, with but one championship in those five previous trips.
Edmonton's opposition this time would be the Niagara Falls Flyers, managed by Hap Emms, coached by Bill Long and starring Gilles Marotte, captain Dave Woodley, Don Marcotte, Steve Atkinson, 15-year-old defenceman Rick Ley, Bill Goldsworthy, Jim Lorentz, Rosaire Paiement, goaltender Bernie Parent, Jean Pronovost and Derek Sanderson.
This was a rematch of the 1963 final, which Edmonton had won in six games.
By the western final, the Oil Kings were without coach Buster Brayshaw, who had been ordered by doctors to rest. Harry Allen took over as coach and, while Brayshaw was back with the team for the Memorial Cup, Allen would run the bench.
The Oil Kings went into the final with their goaltending situation uncertain. Gary Simmons had suffered an eight-stitch cut on his right kneecap late in the regular season. It never healed properly and he was on crutches on the eve of Game 1.
Edmonton added goaltender Wayne Stephenson from the Braves and he went the distance in the series. The Oil Kings also added centre Fran Huck (Regina Pats) and defenceman Jim Cardiff (Weyburn Red Wings) but neither dressed for Game 1.
The Flyers opened with a 3-2 victory on May 4 with some of the fans at times chanting, "We want Huck.”
Paiement, Bud Debrody and Sanderson scored for Niagara Falls, which never trailed. The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period and the Flyers led 3-1 after the second. Rookies Ross Perkins and Red Simpson scored for the Oil Kings.
Stephenson was strong, finishing with 20 saves, two more than Parent.
"If we'd played that badly all year, we'd have wound up on the bottom of our league,” Long said.
The Oil Kings came out of Game 1 quite banged up. All three members of their highest-scoring line were injured -- Ron Anderson (knee), Graham Longmuir (back) and Greg Tomalty (shoulder).
Huck was in the lineup for Game 2 on May 6 and scored once, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Flyers skated to a 5-1 victory.
Debrody led the charge with two goals. Singles came from Goldsworthy, Sanderson and defenceman John Arbour.
Niagara Falls led 2-0 and 3-1 by periods in front of 4,957 fans.
The Flyers were by far the most aggressive team, three times playing two men short as they took 14 of 25 penalties.
Parent stopped 22 shots, four fewer than Stephenson.
The series was forced into a three-day layoff because of an evangelical meeting in the Gardens. Emms was upset about that and the officiating.
"That guy is worse than the one we had two years ago,” Emms said of referee Jim McAuley of Montreal. "We play just as hard in the OHA but the penalty box isn't always full.”
By now, the flu bug was making its way through the Oil Kings' roster. That, combined with the injuries to Tomalty and Anderson, had the Edmonton brass concerned.
"However, this cannot be considered a reason why we have looked so bad on the ice,” manager Leo LeClerc said. "We're planning to throw the boys into two-hour practices each day until the next game . . . in an attempt to get rid of their fuzziness.
"After all, we may be inexperienced but we are the western champions and we have to go out there and play like champions.”
Edmonton, which now had lost six straight Memorial Cup games, finally ended that streak on May 10 with a 5-1 victory before 3,403 fans.
But this wasn't a pretty one.
McAuley called a halt to the game with 3:30 left to play in the third period after Edmonton policemen came on to the ice to stop a brawl.
Art Potter, the Edmonton-based past-president of the CAHA, ordered McAuley to stop the game. McAuley dished out 33 penalties, including three match penalties, nine majors and three misconducts.
Edmonton captain Bob Falkenberg was carried from the ice on a stretcher. He was pummeled into unconsciousness by Sanderson and was left with a cut over one eye and a concussion.
Sanderson received a match penalty for that. The other match penalties went to Ley and Anderson for a stick-swinging duel early in the third period.
"The series could easily be over,” Potter said. "I've been told the Gardens is closed until this is settled.”
The first period ended in a near riot after Goldsworthy was thumped by Falkenberg at the final whistle. Sanderson tangled with Edmonton's Brian Bennett and Flyers' goaltender Doug Favell became involved. It took police to restore order. Falkenberg was given a spearing major. Goldsworthy returned for one shift in the second period, was hit with a crushing check by defenceman Al Hamilton and didn't return.
At 16:30 of the third period, Hamilton tangled with Paiement at the Niagara Falls blueline. That started it. The police ended it.
Edmonton got goals from Huck, Cardiff, Perkins, Dave Rogers and Simpson. Sanderson scored for the Flyers.
Favell stopped 14 shots in the first period before Parent came on for the second and third and blocked 16. Stephenson stopped 22.
Following the game, it was later revealed, Sanderson was hauled into a room (believed to be a broom closet) while en route to his team's dressing room and beaten up. He was left with facial lacerations and body bruises. Police investigated the incident but no arrests were made.
CAHA secretary-manager Gordon Juckes announced the next day that Anderson and Ley had been handed one-game suspensions for their stick-swinging episode, and that Sanderson had been suspended indefinitely for deliberate injury of a player.
The Flyers roared back on May 12 and posted an 8-2 victory before 5,326 fans.
Brian Bradley, an 18-year-old left winger, struck for five goals, two in the first period and three in the third.
Goldsworthy, who wasn't expected to play, scored twice, opening and closing the scoring on breakaways. Stephenson stopped Goldsworthy on one other breakaway and again on a penalty shot at 5:11 of the second period. Pronovost also scored for Niagara Falls.
Simpson and Longmuir replied for Edmonton.
The game was cleanly played with no hint of what had happened in Game 3. The Flyers took 11 of 17 penalties with each team picking up a misconduct.
Niagara Falls wrapped it up with an 8-1 victory in front of 2,477 fans on May 14.
Woodley and Marcotte scored twice each for the Flyers, with singles coming from Paiement, Debrody, Goldsworthy and Marotte. Bradley followed up his five-goal game with a one-assist outing.
Cardiff scored for Edmonton. It was the game's first goal and gave the Oil Kings a lead for only the second time in the series. It lasted less than four minutes.
Debrody's goal at 12:28 of the first period stood up as the winner.
Niagara Falls held period leads of 2-1 and 5-1 as the east won its 28th Memorial Cup since 1919. The west had 19 victories.
It was the third time Emms had won the Memorial Cup, the others coming in 1951 and '53 with the Barrie Flyers.
"I hope that some day the Oil Kings will come to Niagara Falls and play in our rink,” Emms said.

NEXT: 1966 (Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Oshawa Generals)

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