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Frontenacs 50th

April 6, 2013

Frontenacs logoToday’s installment in a daily series that recalls the story of the 1962-63 Kingston Frontenacs, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their Eastern Professional Hockey League championship season:

Fifty years ago today, Saturday, April 6, 1963

In the four-year history of the Eastern Professional Hockey League, the powerful Hull-Ottawa Canadiens have won the Tom Foley Memorial Trophy twice. Twice they were eliminated in the in the semifinals — both times by the Sudbury Wolves.

The Wolves complete a stunning upset of Hull-Ottawa with a 5-3 victory before a crowd of nearly 3,300 at the Auditorium. The Wolves, who finished 20 points behind the second-place Canadiens in the regular year, complete a 3-0 sweep of the best-of-five semifinal series.

They will now face the Kingston Frontenacs, who, by virtue of their first-place finish, earned a first-round bye.

“Although the Canadiens jumped into a 1-0 lead … the Wolves came back with five straight markers and took the game in fairly easy fashion,” Ron Covell wrote in the Ottawa Citizen.

The Canadian Press wrote that the player most responsible for the series victory is Wolves goaltender Gerry Cheevers, “an ambitious goaltender who hopes some day to play in the National League with Toronto Maple Leafs.”

“The Leafs loaned the sophomore pro to the Wolves this season and Cheevers, a former St. Michael’s College junior star, has been a sensation in the playoffs. The Wolves won the first two games, 3-2 and 1-0, thanks to Cheevers, and he was the star again (tonight).”

Claude Larose scored the first goal of the game for Hull-Ottawa and Mike McMahon scored for Sudbury in the second period to tie the game. “McMahon’s goal and Cheevers’ sparkling play inspired the Wolves and they capitalized on every scoring chance from that point on,” CP reported.

Gord Labossiere, the league scoring champ, and rookie Billy Collins, with his first professional goal, scored to make it 3-1 before the second period ended. The Wolves made it 5-1 in the first five minutes of the third period on goals by Dave Richardson and Marc Dufour.

The Canadiens fought back with goals by rookie defenceman Brian Watson and Norm Beaudin. Hull-Ottawa pulled goaltender Cesare Maniago with a minute and 20 seconds remaining, but “Cheevers made a series of brilliant saves to hold the score,” the Citizen reported, and the Wolves prevailed though they were outshot 14-5 in the third period, 39-14 overall.

Jacques Laperriere, who had spent the last month of the season in the NHL with the parent club in Montreal — and whose return had been eagerly awaited by the shorthanded Hull-Ottawa club — played only 13 minutes before returning to the dressing room. Laperriere suffered a badly bruised ankle on his first turn on the ice in Sudbury Friday and it wouldn’t stand up under game conditions.

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