Flashback: 50 years ago in Powell River

Powell River Regals face Val D’Or Olympic in Hardy Cup intermediate ‘A’ Canadian hockey championship

The photo above and article below were published in the Powell River Town Crier on April 20, 1970. Coverage includes results from the first three games of a best-of-five hockey series between Powell River Regals and Val D’Or Olympic to determine the Hardy Cup intermediate ‘A’ champion of Canada. All games were played in the now demolished Civic Arena near Willingdon Beach in Powell River.

Rene Lafreniere la difference

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Rene Lafreniere, pint-sized goalie for the Val D’Or Olympic, led his club to a 3-2 squeaker over the Powell River Rodmay Regals on Sunday, April 19. The chunky goaltender from the Quebec mining city played standout hockey as his club was outshot for the second time in two consecutive games by a wide margin. The series now stands at 2-1 for the Flying Frenchmen.

Friday, April 17, Regals combined well to take a 6-4 win but on Saturday, April 18, a temper-stricken game went 6-2 for the visitors. On Sunday, April 19, Lafreniere gave the packed house a clue to the third game outcome as Regals dominated for most of the game, outshooting the Quebec club 45-15. He continued his acrobatics and robbed the Powell River club blind.

The winner came at 5:20 in the third period as Jeannot Marenger’s slow roller crept over the line with players from both sides awestruck.

The Regals couldn’t buy a goal for the remainder of the frame. They threw everything into the fray. Like the thieves who broke into the referee’s changing room and robbed the officials during the game, the Olympic robbed the Regals.

Friday, April 17; Regals 6 - Olympic 4

After an impressive opening ceremony at centre ice involving mayor Sabourin from Val D’Or and Powell River’s own Jimmy Court, plus the presentation of the Edmonton Journal Trophy [Western Canada championship] to the Regals, the game got underway at a fast clip.

Both clubs were overanxious for the first 10 minutes or so. Jim McNeil put the locals ahead at 8:26 from close range on a Dave Parenteau setup, then penalties slowed the action. Rangy Luc Sigouin tied the count for the Olympic at 18:57. The period ended with Regals holding a distinct edge.

In the sandwich session the Regals vaulted to a 3-1 lead on goals by Parenteau and Rob Carmen in the first four minutes of play.

Yves Caouette pulled one back for the Olympic at 4:20 and the game started to open up a bit during the middle stages. Something lit a fire under both clubs and they started to hit like linemen.

Referee Jim Johannsen had his hands full trying to control the play and the penalty bug hit with a vengeance. Regals came out best on the exchange as far as the scoreboard was concerned. Carmen lit the light again at 15:39.

Powell River kept up the pressure as the final stanza started with both sides a man short. At the end of the second Gary Begg (Regals) and Fred Nolet (Olympic) were tagged for two and five for fighting.

54 seconds into the period the Regals were set with their fifth goal when Schultz’s point drive found the mesh. Marenger and Dunc McDonald put the Frenchmen back into the game with goals at 5:25 and 16:00.

Barry Lang thought he had a big goal at 17:13 and so did everyone in the house, including the goal judge, but the referee disallowed the effort and from that moment on Johannsen was a boogeyman to the fans. 36 seconds later, however, fate turned its hand again, this time for the locals. There was no doubt as Carmen collected his hat-trick for the night. Final score 6-4.

Val D’Or collected eight minutes in penalties plus a five. Regals had 16 minutes and a five.

Saturday, April 18; Regals 2 - Olympic 6

It was a frustrating night all round for the Regals. They outplayed the visitors for most of the game but couldn’t pull the trigger. When their big guns did go off, Lafreniere took all the best shots.

Regals started off well and Al McLean gave the club its only lead of the night at 55 seconds. Val D’Or came on after the midway point and by the end of the frame had a 2-1 edge on goals by Gatien Higgins and Norm Furlong.

In the middle of the session the Olympic climbed into the driving seat with a great display of skating and passing and notched themselves another three big tallies. Penalties led to a riot with the players and the fans. Fights erupted on the ice and in the stands. McLean and Sigouin had the first bout at 7:49 and the parade to the sin box started. Some questionable calls by officials had the crowd in an uproar. While all this was going on Fern Harvey, Yves Cauoutte and Jean Paul Veilleux gave the Olympic breathing space needed with their goals coming during short-handed situations.

Val D’ Or made it 6-1 at 9:47 of the third and Regals had an uphill battle with little chance of a break. Jean Noel Parent gave the blue and white their half dozen.

Regals kept Val D’Or pretty well in check throughout the period but couldn’t find the handle themselves. Alan Small finally made the score a little more respectable with less than five minutes to go.

Schultz and Sigouin closed for more fisticuffs with five seconds on the clock, and it was the end of a frustrating evening.

45 shots were fired at Lafreniere plus several goal-mouth collisions but he still managed to hold Regals off. Ed Hyland faced just 15 for the Regals.

Val D’Or collected seven minors and three majors plus a game while Regals had four minors, five majors and a game.

Sunday, April 19; Regals 2 - Olympic 3

Referee Bob Zedic took over the officiating for this contest and he reacted well to the tense situation brought on by the night before.

The teams exchanged goals in the first period. Al Nolet (Olympic) and George Chambers (Regals) were the marksmen. Both clubs stuck to hockey. It was even-steven throughout most of the first half of the game but Regals had a decided edge overall. Fantastic netminding by Lafreniere was the difference.

In the second period the clubs exchanged goals again. At 11:31 for the Regals off Carmen and at 16:10 off Luc Sigouin for the visitors. Lafreniere had unbelievable stops on McLean, Chambers, Parenteau and Begg with countless others in-between.

Hyland’s big play came at 16:35 when he stopped Norm Furlong on a break. It was fast skating, end-to-end rushes that finished the frame and both clubs started to weary a little.

In the finale, Marenger’s agonizing slow roller at 5:20 stood up for the balance of the game, a real tough one to lose for the Regals. They’ve figured out a way to stop almost everything over the past 24 playoff games, now Mr. Lafreniere is their biggest problem.

The series resumes again tonight and it’s a do or die situation for the Green and Gold.

Playing coach Bob Crawford pulled Hyland with 40 seconds to go Sunday and almost put the game into overtime himself with a 40-footer that Lafreniere miraculously got his skate on. Regals have to win tonight to force a final fifth game.

Lafreniere had 38 stops to Hyland’s 23. Penalties were scarce with Zedic at the helm. Val D’ Or had eight minutes and Regals six.

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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