Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Game Report; Boston at Montreal Maroons, Mar. 4, 1926

I often purchase old programs either in person from dealers or on ebay, and during the process of searching for them I come across many old gems. I like to find out what exactly happened during the actual game that these programs were issued for, and what other circumstances surrounded the match. Pictured above is the cover for when Boston visited the Montreal Maroons in early March of 1926 (No, I don't actually have this one).

Coming into the match, Maroons sat in second place and Boston was 7 points in arrears. The Bruins did however hold down the third and final playoff spot by one point over Pittsburgh Pirates with two weeks remaining in the season. The Maroons were led by the legendary Nels Stewart who would end up leading the NHL with 36 goals and winning the Hart Trophy. They also had Hall of Famers Reg Noble, Babe Seibert, Punch Broadbent, and Clint Benedict in goal. Boston boasted two players who would finish second and third in goals behind Stewart in Carson Cooper and Jimmy Herberts. They also had Lionel Hitchman and 35 year old future Hall of Famer Sprague Cleghorn patrolling the blueline. In goal, Boston had relative unkown Charles "Doc" Stewart. This was Stewart's only fulltime year in the NHL and he had played nine of the previous years in the OHA Senior circuit.

The Maroons started the game about as well as they could have hoped with 2 goals before two minutes had elapsed, both short-handed. The Montreal Gazette describes the plays,"Boston's aspirations were shocked early in the game. The Maroons were off with a dash....Babe Seibert hurled by Sprague Cleghorn and flipped the puck behind the Boston goalie...it took the 9,000 spectators a moment to realize the Maroons were away to a lead. Their cheers were reaching a peak when Nelson Stewart took the puck from the faceoff and, eluding Boston's defence, duplicated Seibert's play."

Boston would pull within one with a little more than three minutes left in the first as Carson Cooper banged in a rebound. "Cleghorn and Hitchman took a grip on the defensive end, and 'Sailor' Jim Herberts and Carson Cooper started to take the ofensive play away from the Maroons," described the Gazette. "Halfway through the middle session Herberts climaxed an untiring performance by driving a sizzling shot from outside the defence which Benedict failed to see". The winner was scored by Herberts "tearing between the Maroon defence, which had been split wide, had Benedict at his mercy to count the winning goal."

The Gazette wraps up it's description of the affair with talk of the penalties called in the game. "Sailor Herberts was marked not only for his clever play, but for his rugged tactics...he took matters into his own hands and gave Dinsmore the boards and took a penalty...Reg Noble came in for a flock of minors (he got three, I suppose that's a flock), one for clipping Cooper over the head, a blow which stunned the Boston wing for a moment." Sounds like quite the spirited game.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, their one point lead on Pittsburgh would not hold up by season's end and the Pirates snagged the last playoff spot. Pittsburgh won three of the last four games including a back-breaking 2-1 overtime win over the Bruins in the second to last game of the year.

As feisty as the games were 80-plus years ago, the players were indeed much smaller than today as seen in the program listings below.

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