Saturday, June 30, 2018

1941/42 Pacific Coast Senior Hockey Association, Part 6

Ex-NHLer Jack Riley
The addition of Jack Riley, who had recently been reinstated as an amateur, continued to pay off for the Vancouver Norvans Shipyard squad;The Vancouver Sun headline blared;"NORVANS ALONE ON TOP, Jack Riley Spearhead Of Shipyard Offense Before 4000 at Forum." The Daily Colonist exclaimed, "Norvans Register Over Clippers to Take First Berth Vancouver Hockey Squad, Paced by Jack Riley, Scores 7-3 Victory Over Nanaimo in Coast Ice League - Breaks First-Place Tie With Victoria Bapcos - Second Period Rough." The headline and byline said it all, The Daily Colonist went on to describe the rough match; "Jack Riley, recently reinstated pro, paced Norvans with two goals while Frank Pietrosky, Ken Barker, Johnny Ursaki, Bill Nelson and Norm McQuade supplied the others. Jackie Mann was the only Nanaimo scorer, netting all three of his team's goals." The Vancouver Sun wrote; "Sticks were high and so were Nanaimo tempers...there was a spot of incidental entertainment as Jimmy Kilburn, Nanaimo's chunky defenseman, and Pete Bonneville came to fighting. Most of the action in this scrap, however, centred around a promenade fan who reached over and clouted Kilburn during the scuffle."
Tickets available for the Feb. 6 match
Three nights later, in Victoria, the Norvans were delivered a very rude wake-up call. The Vancouver Sun posted the headline;"BAPCOS SWAMP CHEEKY NORVAN ICEMEN". The Daily Colonist described the debacle thusly, "Piling up the season's largest score, Victoria Bapcos last night snowed the Vancouver Norvans under an avalanche of goals for a 15-2 victory in a puckchasing fixture played before another packed house at Willows Arena. The locals flashed championship form and turned in what was by far their best team effort since the lifting of the curtain on the Coast's new hockey setup. They outskated the Norvans, backchecked them to death and turned in a grand all-round performance that left the Mainland sextette entirely out in the cold...even with Tio O'Neill and Jack Riley on the line-up the visitors had little to offer in the way of opposition to the speedy, fast-breaking paintmen...they ripped the Norvan's defence wide open and skated right in on top of young Tommy Horne, Vancouver goalie, for telling markers, and there was nothing Mr. Horne could do about it. Every member of the Victoria team picked up scoring points, with Bus Algar pacing the attack with a quartette of goals (and two helpers). The Bapcos looked like champions, and the sound whipping they administered the Norvans will probably throw a scare into the other clubs in the circuit." The Sun added further post-game analysis;"Don't blame (Norvan goalie) Tommy Horne for last night's debacle. After Victoria got a few goals up the Norvan rearguard forgot all about defense-which is not much of a trick for them at any time. In the Norvans dressing room after the game the boys were hot,  but Johnny Ursaki philosophically said, 'Well, this will probably bring us down to earth again'. When Norm McQuade said,'We shoulda missed the boat,' Ken Barker came back with,'Should of, we did!'".
Even defenders Sutherland and McIntyre chipped in goals in the rout of the Norvans
Back home at the Forum on Feb. 9, 1942, the Norvans answered the demolishing they took at the hands of Victoria by administering one of their own. They trounced Mainland rivals New Westminster by a score of 14-3 to jump back into top spot in the Coast league and clinch a playoff spot in the process; "Norvans Run Wild Against Spitfires To Score 14-3 Win Norvans were predominant throughout and went through to score almost at will, almost duplicating the 15-2 beating they absorbed from Victoria Bapcos last Friday at Victoria. Pete Bonneville paced Norvans with four goals and Ken Barker, Norm McQuade and Bill Nelson each contributed two."
The victory assured that the Norvans would not finish in fourth spot, therefore clinching a playoff berth even though they had a -12 goal scoring differential overall.
The Norvans however would continue their pendulum-like performance between good and bad the following night in New West as the Spitfires bested them by a score of 8-4. The Vancouver Sun reported on the affair; "New Westminster Spitfires made their 14-3 beating of Monday night in Vancouver look like a myth...it was one of those loose games where players are left dangling like sheep all over the ice, especially Norvan players who didn't seem able to keep up. Jack Riley, Red Beattie and Tip O'Neill, the purified trio, looked like three other guys just out for the ride. Riley couldn't get his smooth passes away; O'Neill didn't seem very anxious to strain himself, and Beattie was ganged up on early." The result concluded Norvans regular schedule after collecting 29 points in 28 games. 
As the Norvans waited for the other teams to complete their schedule over the next few days, they would play a highly anticipated exhibition match. Since the new year, there was talk of the Victoria Navy hockey team playing an exhibition game against one of the Coast League teams. The Navy boys were dominating the military circuit on the Island and had eyes on a run at the Allan Cup. They were indeed a quality team, as they bested the Norvans 3-0 on Feb. 13, 1942 at a packed Vancouver Forum. Nanaimo defeated Victoria in their next match to tie them for top spot in the league. Victoria would beat New West in their final game of the season, which gave the Bapcos first place in the final standings. This set up a semi-final matchup between Norvans and Nanaimo for the right to play Victoria in the final.
The Clippers late surge was partly attributed to the addition of ex-NHL defender Dave MacKay who had spent the previous season with Chicago. He would play the final four games for Nanaimo before leading the way in the playoffs. 
Final standings for the Coast league in 1941/42









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