Crowd of 5,000 Hails New Seven-Man Indoor Game With Generous Acclaim
Maroon Take Four-Goal Lead in First Period, But Are Forced to Rally at Finish to Win
By MARC T. McNEIL
To an accompaniment of generous acclaim, seven-man indoor lacrosse became a reality at the Forum last night. Those famed rivals of hockey, Maroons and Canadiens, met in the inaugural combat of the International Professional Lacrosse League, and made complete the successful and auspicious debut of the new game with a superb display. Maroons earned triumph only in the later stages of the final period, with a three-goal rally that brought them the verdict, 9-7.
Over five thousand curious spectators wended their way to the big west-end amphitheatre, eager to view this novel pastime, and they were straight-away captured by its magnetic allure as an exciting game and an intriguing spectacle. First, the Forum buzzed with animated gossip as the fans viewed the cushioned playing floor, glimmering emerald green under the lights.
Then out trotted the team for preliminary drill, bearing the familiar sweaters of the Maroon and Canadien clubs. There followed the referees, immaculate in white. The start of the game was close at hand, and the crowd’s anticipation bubbled over in resounding cheers as A.L. Caron, president of the league, stepped to the centre of the arena where both teams and the officials were gathered. Mr. Caron made a short speech, after introductions to the players, and then officially opened the schedule by facing the first ball. The National Anthem was played, the actual face-off made and the season had started.
The first period was not long under way before all circumstances surrounding the game, save the weather, were distinctly reminiscent of a winter night in the Forum at the height of the National Hockey League season. The fans roared and shrieked their excitement and approval of the indoor pastime, until the tilt whirled its way to a brilliant conclusion as a hard-earned triumph for Maroons.
MAROONS OPEN STRONGLY.
Paddy Brennan’s big red machine started out in the first period in a manner that forecasted a simple victory for the maroon colors. Three minutes after the first face-off a crushing attack was set in motion that ripped the Canadien defence to shreds for the remainder of the session. The net result was four cleverly-executed goals without a response from Newsy Lalonde’s speedy aggregation.
Maroons returned to their dire work immediately after the intermission and, with two fast goals, ran their lead to 6-0. The outlook was decidedly black for Canadiens, by Lalonde’s laborers did not for a moment lose heart. Buffeted by a rock-bound Maroon defence in the early stages and foiled by the wizardry of Al Coutie, in the Montreal nets, Canadiens still flashed back, trying harder all the while. Then the tide of battle changed, and, with a remarkable recovery, the Flying Frenchmen stormed the Maroon citadel. The Montreal defence was pierced by darting solo attacks, and even the stellar Coutie could not hold Canadiens in check.
Five goals catapulted into the Maroon citadel, and the Lalonde septette was within one tally of a tie.
Canadiens duplicated Maroons’ feat of continuing their effective work after the interval, scoring twice to knot the score, and then to move into the lead for the first time. But once again the formidable Maroon attack swung into action, and once again battered its way through the Canadien defence that had held solidly during the previous twenty minutes. Big Nelson Stewart, Maroon scoring ace in the N.H.L., whipped home the tying tally, and Roddy Clark, down from Ottawa, sniped the winning goal four minutes later, six minutes and 20 second from the finish. The mighty Lionel Conacher made it sure in the last seconds of play with Montreal’s ninth counter.
The most attractive figures for Maroons were Conacher, who was the pivot man for the Montreal attack; Nelson Stewart, as brainy, clever and deadly as he is in hockey, and Teddy Reeves, the large amateur football and lacrosse star, who has just turned professional, and last night turned in a valuable game in his pro debut on the Maroon defence.
Nate Penny, the veteran, also shone with two goals and an assist. And in Al Coutie, Maroons are possessed of an able, reliable and sensational goal-keeper.
Boulliane, who wears number seven for Canadiens, Howie Morenz’ famous sweater, bids fair to be a veritable Morenz in lacrosse. Of the same build, he is fast and tricky and sniped two of the Flying Frenchmen’s goals. The two Langevins, on the defence, with Paul Thomas, Williams and Dussault also stood out.
His worship the Mayor and Mrs. Houde were spectators, occupying a box seat on the west side of the rink.
Winning programme numbers for last night’s game were: First, 2,346; second, 781.
At a meeting, held late yesterday afternoon, it was finally decided to return to the original plan of playing seven men a side. Two days previously it was announced that eight-men teams would be used, but it was considered that the two extra men in action would congest the playing field. Yesterday’s final decision resulted.
(Montreal Gazette, June 24, 1931)