Tiger defenseman Joe Matte was an important asset to the Tigers,
and scored his share of goals. Photo courtesy of the Hamilton
Aside from his duties playing with the Montreal Canadiens,
Newsy Lalonde, shown here about 1910 in a cigarette company
giveaway card, helped the Tigers during this period as team
hunter. Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Spectator.
The Hamilton Tigers and the 1919 Allan Cup - Part 2
The Bengals take the fillings out of the Toronto Dentals
By February of 1919, the Hamilton Tigers were showing the world
their fierceness in the OHA Senior Ranks. Long thought an also-ran,
the Tigers met up with the Toronto Dentals in the first round of
the OHA playoffs.
In their best-of-six total goal series, the teams were tied at
two games a piece going into the third week of February. Hamilton
won the opener 7-5, and Toronto responded with a 4-3 decision. The
third game, played in the Barton Street Arena, went to Hamilton
4-3, while the Dentals, who won the 1917 Allan Cup, came back with
a 4-2 victory to tie things up.
In a newspaper report before the fifth game said both teams were
practicing vigorously and that the Tigers must avoid penalties at
all costs. The report also mentions that NHL star Newsy Lalonde,
the Tigers trainer, would miss the game as he was also playing for
the Montreal Canadiens as well as helping the Tigers.
And for those wishing to support their hometown heroes, the Tigers
were to leave on the 2:50 GTR (Grand Trunk Railway, precursor to
the Canadian National) train to Toronto.
And although the Bengals lost 2-1 to the "tooth pullers,"
accounts said the game could have gone either way:
"Saturday's game but further illustrated the evenness of the
Tigers and Dentals, as shown in preceding contests, for a closer
hockey match would well nigh border on the impossible," noted
"Green (Shorty) played fearlessly all the time, scrambled
in and out of the Dental defense, and in every way possible tried
to make life a very busy one for Stewart," (the Toronto goalie),
said the Toronto Mail and Empire.
The Spec's writer, known only as "Backcheck," felt the
team was on the right track with Lalonde as trainer.
"The injection of Newsy Lalonde's hockey knowledge into the
Tiger play was the right dope," he mentioned. "The yellow
and black squad showed improved combination work."
So the Dentals, named because the team was filled with dentistry
students, were ahead 18 goals to 17 heading into the final game,
which was to be played in Hamilton.
With no commercial radio at the time, the only way news traveled
was by newspaper, or by word of mouth. By the time the afternoon
edition of the dailies made their way to subscribers' homes, most
in Hamilton knew the Tigers had won the final game 5-3, and won
the series with a one-goal advantage, 22 goals to 21 for the Dentals.
The "official" report in the Spectator was full of superlatives:
"All hail to the Tigers.
"Because Hamilton's striped warriors, by battling their way
to a 5 to 3 count at the local arena last night, won the 'crooshul'
game, the round and the hoarsely-shouted plaudits of the wildest,
noisiest, shriekiest crowd that even jammed into the Barton street
The Dentals took an early lead with a goal by center Hudson. Hamilton
responded in the first with markers by Shorty Green and Tommy McCarthy.
Toronto tied it up with the only second-period goal, then added
to their margin as defenseman Bill Box gave his team a 3-2 lead,
and a two-goal lead in the series.
But in a storybook finish, Green scored in the third, and then
McCarthy shot a pair past Dentals goalie Stewart to not only win
the game but the series.
It must have been an interesting night at the old arena.
"From the first bell it was evident that it was going to be
'some' battle," continued the Spectator account. "Up and
down the silver sheet the little disk traveled, with first one team
and then the other threatening, and both goalies being peppered
at long ranges."
The Spec's "Backcheck" thought a little poetry was in
Dentals have been downed.
Cantcha see-see? Holy Mackinaw!
Tigers won the round.
The Toronto press was a little more sedate.
"Reaume, in goal, was a wizard," stated the Toronto Star.
"He was cool as a cucumber and had an eye like a hawk.
"Big Leo Reise and Little Joe Matte, the Tiger defense, both
excelled themselves on the defense."
From the Toronto News:
"The Dents' downfall last night at Hamilton was a bitter blow.
It was a grand finale to a series without compare in the history
of the association."
The name of the Toronto team just begged itself to some wild and
off-beat nicknames. Some of the less-than-complimentary tags include
"tooth-pullers," "gnashers," and a real favorite,
The Hamilton team was not without other names, such as "the
Bengals," "the striped warriors," and the "Terrors
of the Jungle."
While the Tigers put away their opponent, they had some time to
sharpen their claws while Kitchener and Toronto's St. Patricks played
their semi-final. And early in March of 1919, the Tigers would face
another Toronto team.
Next: The Bengals meet up with the Fighting Irish.