Among the 14,692 spectators in Montreal's hockey arena one night last week sat a 21-year-old youngster named Charlie Hodge. Charlie was a goalie in the Montreal farm system, but he was just in the stands to watch, wearing street clothes. Then things began to happen. Down on the ice, the blazing Toronto Maple Leafs—unbeaten in their last nine games—began to score on Montreal's goalie, Claude Evans, who was subbing for the injured regular, Jacques Plante. Before the evening was over, Montreal fans had seen one of the most exciting games of the year—and 21-year-old Charlie Hodge was down on the ice, making a brilliant debut. The story in pictures.
Montreal Trouble begins as Toronto shot whizzes past Goalie Claude Evans, suffering an off-night as a Montreal sub.
Montreal Ace Bernie (Boom Boom) Geoffrion commiserates with Evans after Toronto scores on him again minutes later.
November 29, 1954
Confident Toronto Coach King Clancy tells his team—leading 2-1 after first period—that they are a cinch to beat the Canadiens if they keep up the good work. Victory will put Toronto in first place in the roaring National Hockey League race.
But Montreal has been busy during the intermission, too. The team's general manager, Frank Selke, has found Rookie Charlie Hodge in the stands, hustled the youngster to the dressing room and had him suited up in a Canadiens uniform. When the two teams take the ice for the second period, the rookie is in the net for Montreal.
Toronto assaults but Rookie Hodge comes out of the net to make a fine tumbling stop. Montreal's highly partisan fans raised the roof with cheers on this one, applauding the 21-year-old youngster who spent last year playing in an amateur league.
Rookie Hodge braces for another defense, and a moment later blocks the shot—one of nine saves he makes during the period. Before the period is over, furthermore, the Canadiens have managed to tie the score, 2-2, on a shot by Jim MacPherson.
This is a period Montreal fans expect to remember for a while. The Canadiens have gone ahead 4-2 on goals by Geoffrion and Maurice (The Rocket) Richard—only to see the Toronto Maple Leafs come back to tie 4-4. With time running out, Goalie Hodge has stopped the last Toronto rush. Now, with only seconds left, it is Montreal's turn.
Montreal does it with only 14 seconds left to play The winning goal, shown here, is scored by the Canadiens' Jean Beliveau (partly visible behind the Toronto goalie), as Canadiens' Richard (left) and Geoffrion (right) joyously raise their sticks.
Exultant Richard shouts with glee, embraces teammate Geoffrion as game ends in favor of Montreal's Canadiens, 5-4.
In Dressing Room, Beliveau and Rookie Hodge (right), happy heroes, relaxed. Hodge helped team win the next game.