Saturday, April 29, 2017


As the countdown begins to the 50th anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leafs last Stanley Cup championship on May 2, 1967, here is a look back to game three of the Cup Final. The contest was played on April 25, 1967, at Maple Leaf Gardens. It was the only contest in the Final where overtime was required. Going into game three, the Leafs and Montreal Canadiens split the first two games with Montreal gaining first blood in a lopsided 6-2 victory. The Leafs bounced back two nights later with a 3-0 shutout.

This set the scene for game three and the opportunity for one club to take the series lead. After twenty-minutes of action the score was knotted at a goal-apiece. Jean Beliveau opened the scoring on a power play and the Leafs responded with a power play goal of their own before the first period came to a close. The goal scorer for Toronto was Pete Stemkowski.

In the middle frame, Toronto and Montreal once again exchanged goals. Jim Pappin gave the Buds a 2-1 lead at 10:34 with Tim Horton and Bob Pulford earning assists. Late in the period, Montreal enforcer, John Ferguson, pulled the Habs even with his first tally in the Final. His equalizer came at the 19:10 mark.

The final period of regulation didn't produce any scoring and a lone penalty was called on John Ferguson for hooking. In the first period of overtime, Johnny Bower and Rogatien Vachon made certain that a second sudden death overtime period was going to take place. The best scoring chance came when Montreal's Gilles Tremblay hit the goal-post.

At the 8:26 mark of the second overtime session, Maple Leafs winger, Bob Pulford, brought the fans at the Gardens out of their seats. Lou Cauz, Leaf beat writer for The Globe and Mail, wrote: "Pulford said he had been behind the net and had cut out in front and across to the left side." Then, Pulford described what happened next. "Just as I turned around the puck came over and all I had to do was steer it in."

After coming off the ice, Pulford watched a Hockey Night in Canada replay of his game-winning goal. "As he stood and watched the rerun he could see Stemkowski pass the puck to Jim Pappin, who fired a shot towards the goal," noted Cauz. "The puck never reached the 21-year old goalie, Rogatien Vachon, as Pulford steered it into the open side."

"That's probably the most thrilling goal I've ever scored," stated Pulford. "It's the first overtime one I've ever had."

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