NOTE: This story first appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press on May 15, 1973
31-YEAR HOCKEY DROUGHT IS OVER
If Murray (Muzz) MacPherson has said it once, he’s said it a thousand times – “A goaltender in the playoffs is like a pitcher in the world series. If
you’ve got a hot one, you are a winner.”
Portage la Prairie Terriers had a hot one in Ty Langton Monday night at Winnipeg Arena and today they are the ruling monarchs of Junior A hockey in Canada.
Langton, 19, turned the eastern champion Pembroke Lumber Kings inside out with brilliant goaltending, especially in the second period, and his teammates
did the rest as the Terriers downed the Ontario club 4-2.
The win, before 4,192 fans, gave the Terriers the best-of-seven Centennial Cup final in five games and provided Portage with its first national title since
another edition of the Terriers won the Memorial Cup back in 1941-42.
Once again, Randy Penner was the scoring hero for the Terriers, who held period leads of 1-0 and 2-1. The 200-pound left winger from Steinbach scored three
goals, which gave him 11 for the series and 34 in 25 playoff games.
Al Hilton, who along with Bill Robertson, Warren Remple, Scott Heatherington and Bob Miller was outstanding in a penalty-killing role, scored Portage’s
Pat Hahn, from a scramble in the second period, and Terry Woermke, on a quick break and good wrist shot in the dying minutes, replied for Pembroke.
Penner, whom losing coach Mac MacLean said “has the quickest release I’ve seen in a long time,” scored once in each period, all with the wrist shot.
Right-winger Frank Leswick was the playmaker on Penner’s first two. On the first, Leswick hit Penner with a perfect pass at the red line. The big winger
skated over the Pembroke blueline, then, after shifting into position, fired his long wrist shot into the top left-hand corner.
It was Dean Magnus to Leswick in the corner and out to Penner at the side of the net for goal No. 2 by the “Big Man” early in the second period as the play
opened up after a close-checking first period.
The rest of the period was all Langton’s except for some heroics by the penalty-killing specialists as the Terriers took five minor penalties and twice
were forced to play two men short. The nimble pickup from the Dauphin Kings had the Lumber Kings, and in particular Bob Wright, talking to themselves.
Twice he made three back-to-back saves as the Pembroke club swarmed the net. Wright, on one occasion, saw Langton rob him with a pad save, and then kick
out two consecutive rebounds off the big winger’s stick.
On another occasion, Gord Barratt, Wright and Tim Young unloaded rapid-fire shots his way, only to see Langton equal to the occasion.
“No, I’m not surprised by Ty’s play,” said MacPherson, the victorious coach. “I knew he was great with Dauphin, a last-place team, and I knew he’d be even
greater with a good team in front of him.
“It’s like I told you before,” he added, “with the Memmer (John Memryk) and Langton I felt we had we had the best goaltending outside of the WCHL (Western
Canada) and OHA (Ontario Hockey Association). They proved me right.”
Hilton’s long shot, which deflected off Pembroke defenceman Terry Bozak, and Penner’s third goal of the night, a quick wrist shot from 10 feet out, salted
the game away in the final period, even though Woermke was to add to the Lumber Kings’ total.
Langton kicked out 31 shots, 15 in the second period, combated to 25 by Pembroke’s Terry Dennison.
Portage took eight minor penalties and one major compared to five minor penalties and a major by Pembroke.
BENCH BITS: Earl Dawson, past president of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, presented the Centennial Cup to captain Grant Farncombe … It’s the
first time a Manitoba team has won the trophy in its three-year existence … The trophy was donated by the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association … Norm
Beaudin of Winnipeg Jets took in the game, along with Danny Johnson, and won the attendance pool … Plans were to block off a couple streets in Portage last
night to allow “dancing” and celebrating … Joe Sponarski, Terriers’ president, shouted loud and clear – “We’re No. 1. Bring on the Marlies, we’ll beat them
too.” Said MacPherson, “You know, with the heart these kids have they probably would, too.”
‘PLAYED OUR GAME’
“Our fans, the greatest in the world, have been saying it all year and the players proved it tonight … we’re No. 1.”
This was Murray (Muzz) MacPherson holding court moments after Portage la Prairie Terriers captured the Centennial Cup at Winnipeg Arena Monday night.
“We let them down last night (Sunday) but tonight we played our game, forechecking and hitting, and left no doubt that we are champions,” he said in a
voice choked with emotion. “Not bad for a team which hasn’t had any goaltending or penalty killers, not bad at all,” he added in obvious reference to
pre-series remarks by Pembroke coach Mac MacLean.
Across the rink, MacLean, pointing out that the loss was only the Lumber Kings’ 13th in 91 games this season, said “The difference was goaltending and that
big number 14 Randy Penner, who has the fastest release I’ve seen in junior hockey. But, we’ll be back next year. We only lose five players through
MacPherson agreed with the Pembroke coach that goaltending played a major role in the outcome, but added, “it wasn’t all goaltending.
“The forwards complemented the defence with their backchecking and the defence cleared the front of the net, giving Ty the opportunity to do what he does
best – stop the puck.”
Referring to the Pembroke club, MacPherson said, “They are a fine club but their problem was they couldn’t take advantage of penalties, which we were led
to believe was their strength.”
Meanwhile, in the Portage dressing room, it was pandemonium at its best as the fans chanted for the various players outside the door.
“What a wedding present,” said Ty Langton, who will marry Donna King of Dauphin on June 30. “This has to be my biggest thrill and no, there wasn’t any one
big stop, they were all big.”
“Where’s Muzz?” shouted captain Grant Farncombe, “if he were a girl I’d kiss him. Aw, to hell with it, I’m going to anyhow. He’s the reason we are here. He
put us together and made us believe. He’s the greatest thing that ever happened to Portage.”
“What a way to end my junior hockey,” bubbled John Hewitt, Portage’s senior citizen of four years service. “I only wish I had played better. I let the team
down in the last two games but that’s why we are here … when someone has a bad game the others pick up the slack.”
“I told you, I told you, I told you before the game,” rambled Randy Penner. “I told you we’d be going both ways tonight and when it was over we’d be
champions. Now you know. Never doubt me again.”
“This is only one of many I hope,” chimed in Dan Bonar, who was picked up from the Portage midgets and with his hustling play earned a spot with the
Enter MacPherson, briefly because “There’s no way they are going to shower me tonight.”
“Look at them,” he pointed proudly and ducked back out the door. “They are the greatest … they’re champions. Other clubs may have a few better individuals
but no club has the heart these guys have. Every one of them is a champion.
“No, I’m not going to single out anybody. This has been a team effort right from game one to game 78 … this one … and that really has been our key. We’ve
done it as a team.”
Then, with a grin, he concluded, “Excuse me, I forgot to tell the players that tonight there is no curfew.”
A CIVIC HOLIDAY IN TERRIERVILLE
A civic holiday has been added to the calendar in “Terrier Country” – Portage la Prairie.
Mayor H.L. (Lloyd) Henderson of Portage Monday, minutes after Portage la Prairie Terriers captured the Centennial Cup, declared today a civic holiday for
Portage’s 12,392 residents.
“We’re proud of our Terriers and we’re going to show them just how proud tomorrow,” said Mayor Henderson.
“Tomorrow is hereby declared a civic holiday and we’ll honor the team with a civic dinner and presentations at the Portage Hotel at 2 p.m.”