It was 71 years ago this week…
When the Chicago Black Hawks visited the New York Rangers on March 23, 1952, the final NHL game of the season for both teams had little meaning.
Only 3,254 fans were in the 15,000 seats at Madison Square Garden. Neither team had made the playoffs in the six-team league, so the Manitobans on both teams were looking forward to returning home to their summer jobs and the baseball diamond or golf course.
Defence was not a priority, as the home team jumped into a 3-2 lead after the first period. Frank Eddolls and Winnipeg’s Don (Bones) Raleigh and Ed Slowinski scored for the Rangers, while Gus Bodnar with help from Winnipeg’s Bill Mosienko, and Pete Horeck replied for the visitors. New York added two more in the second and Slowinski’s second made it 6-2 Rangers early in the third period. Not long after, the game became one for the history books.
At the 6:09 mark, Mosienko took a pass from Bodnar, beat Rangers defenseman Hy Buller, and scored on goalie Lorne Anderson. Eleven seconds later, he duplicated the play and dug the puck out the Rangers net because it was his 30th goal of the season. Then, at 6:30, Mosienko, again with help from Bodnar, got by Buller and beat Anderson for his third goal in 21 seconds. Sid Finney scored twice later in the period to give the Hawks a 7-6 victory. No penalties were called in the game.
That NHL record – for the fastest three goals by one player – has never been broken. The previous record set in 1938 by Carl Liscombe of the Detroit Red Wings was one minute, 24 seconds. Bodnar’s three helpers also was a record. Raleigh held the previous record of 81 seconds against Chicago in 1947.
To be fair to Buller, he was not a statue. The second-team all-star that season was dealing with an injured leg. Anderson had played almost all season with the Atlantic City Sea Gulls of the Eastern Hockey League. Owing to a knee injury, future Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame goalie Chuck Rayner’s season had ended in late February. His regular replacement for the Rangers was Emile (The Cat) Francis, who returned to the Cincinnati Mohawks for the AHL playoffs. The 20-year-old Anderson got into three Ranger games late that season.
Black Jack Stewart, the rugged defenceman from Pilot Mound, who was a three-time first team all-star with Detroit in the 1940s, had joined Chicago for the 1950-51 season and was named team captain. He missed part of that season with a back injury and was forced to retire in Feb. 11, 1952 with recurring back problems. That partially explains why Mosienko was wearing a captain’s C on his sweater in the famous photo of him holding three pucks after his scoring accomplishment. Black Hawk team records indicate that no player was officially named captain for the balance of the 1951-52 season.
The Hawks finished last with 43 points while the Rangers were fifth with 59. Despite the final standings, several Manitobans had good seasons. Raleigh had his best NHL year with 61 points and was fourth in the scoring race behind Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay of Detroit and Elmer Lach of the Montreal Canadiens. Mosie’s 31 goals and 22 assists earned him seventh place. Rookie Wally Hergesheimer was the Rangers top goal scorer with 26, and Slowinski notched 43 points for his best NHL season. Eddie Kullman and Nick Mickoski also played for the Blueshirts that season while Miami’s Jimmy McFadden, Steve Witiuk and Harry Taylor played for the Hawks.
Mosienko and Raleigh didn’t make the season-ending first and second all-star teams. At right wing, Mosienko lost to Howe and Montreal’s Maurice (Rocket) Richard while Lach and Boston’s Milt Schmidt were the centres ahead of Raleigh. The first-team goalie was Detroit’s Terry Sawchuk, who was named Manitoba professional athlete of the century in 2000. Manitoba was represented on the second team by defenceman Jimmy Thomson of the Toronto Maple Leafs and goalie Sugar Jim Henry of the Bruins. All the Manitoba players mentioned have been inducted into the provincial hockey hall of fame.
T. Kent Morgan
Memories of Sport
Memories of Sport appears every second week in the Canstar Community News weeklies. Kent Morgan can be contacted at 204-489-6641 or email: email@example.com