Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Minnesota Fighting Saints vs The Houston Aero's ** PLAYOFF **

The Minnesota Fighting Saints vs  the Houston Aero's

 In the playoffs the Saints would waste little time in getting past the Edmonton Oilers, as they won their first round series in five games to set up a showdown with the Houston Aeros in the WHA Semifinals.

Looking for extra toughness the Saints signed notorious enforcer Bill "Goldie" Goldthorpe.  Goldthorpe was widely regarded as one of the most infamous hockey goons in minor league hockey, a man once dubbed him the "wildest, meanest, most unpredictable player in hockey." Goldthorpe racked up an amazing 1,132 penalty minutes in just 194 professional games. Bill Goldthrope would rack up 25 penalty minutes over three games against the Aeros, but it would not help the Saints win the series, as the Aeros won the Western Division Championship in six games on the way to winning the AVCO Cup.

In the 1974 WHA semifinals against Houston, controversial forward Bill "Goldie" Goldthorpe played three games for the Fighting Saints, compiling no points and 25 penalty minutes. 

Division Finals (4-2):Houston Aeros over Minnesota Fighting Saints
Game 1April 18Minnesota Fighting Saints5Houston Aeros4(OT)
Game 2April 20Minnesota Fighting Saints2Houston Aeros5
Game 3April 21Houston Aeros1Minnesota Fighting Saints4
Game 4April 28Houston Aeros4Minnesota Fighting Saints1
Game 5April 29Minnesota Fighting Saints4Houston Aeros9
Game 6May 1Houston Aeros3Minnesota Fighting Saints1


Game 6

First Period - 1. Houston, J. Schella 1:08.
Penalties: T. Ball, Min 1:59; T. Taylor, Hou 1:59; L. Lund, Hou 5:32; T. Taylor, Hou (misconduct) 9:29; T. Taylor, Hou (misconduct) 9:29; J. Arbour, Min (major) 9:29; L. Lund, Hou (major) 9:29; B. Goldthorpe, Min (major) 9:29; B. Goldthorpe, Min (game misconduct) 9:29; T. Taylor, Hou (major) 9:29; T. Taylor, Hou (major) 9:29; T. Taylor, Hou 9:29; B. Prentice, Hou 9:29; G. Gallant, Min 9:29; G. Gallant, Min (major) 9:29; G. Gallant, Min (major) 9:29; G. Gallant, Min (misconduct) 9:29; T. Taylor, Hou 9:29.
Second Period - 2. Houston, G. Howe (P. Popiel) 5:28. 3. Minnesota, W. Connelly (M. Walton, M. McMahon) 13:43.
Penalties: J. Johnson, Min 4:20; P. Popiel, Hou 12:02.
Third Period - 4. Houston, G. Labossiere (T. Taylor, M. Hall) 8:31. 5. Houston, F. Hughes (Marty Howe, L. Lund) 10:08.
Penalties: L. Hale, Hou 1:44.
Goaltending: D. McLeod, Hou (60:00 34 shots, 33 saves W). M. Curran, Min (60:00 32 shots, 28 saves L).
Attendance: 17,211.
Houston Coach: Bill Dineen.
Minnesota Coach: Harry Neale.

During the playoffs the Saints' Gord Gallant and Houston's Ted Taylor engaged in one of the longest, bitterest hockey fights in WHA history with Gallant winning a unanimous decision. After the series ended Gallant was the first player in the lineup to shake hands and the first player he met was Taylor, the Aero captain, who still was sporting a black eye.

read all about it

Sunday, February 16, 2014





Henry Boucha

Monday, February 10, 2014




On April 11, 1975, the New England Whalers and Minnesota Fighting Saints met in Hartford for a first round play-off game. What the fans got instead was a 32 minute second period brawl so intense that players were fighting whoever they could reach, however they could reach them, including on the team benches and in the penalty box.
There is no known footage of the game, but the audio has been preserved as the B side of the Brass Bonanza "Second Edition" 45 LP. The disbelief as the fight explodes is palpable in the voices of the commentators for the game, Bob Neumeier and Bill Rasmussen.
Coach Harry Neale later told Liam McGuire " It was early in the second period (1:10) and we had nothing going. I put out the BBC Line, (Bill Butters, Curt Brackenbury and Jack Carlson) and they, well,  they got something going. Butters was regularly a defenseman but on this occasion I used him up front. It took Larry Pleau about two years to forgive me, but he finally did."
Butters started matters by throwing a few punches at Larry Pleau as they left the penalty box. The Saints' Curt Brackenbury and Whalers' Brad Selwood then dropped the gloves. When Butters sucker-punched Pleau from behind, the benches emptied. Jack Carlson decided to suckerpunch Nick Fotiu, and the donnybrook was on. The fight lineup in just the first five minutes consisted of (Saints players listed first):
Butters - Pleau
Brackenbury - Selwood;
McCartan - French;
Garrett - Smith;
Gambucci - Hurley;
Busnick - Ley;
McCartan - Landon;
Carlson - Fotiu;
Hampson - French;
Butters - Swain;
Carlson - Fotiu (round 2);
Butters - Smith;
Butters - Fotiu;
Brackenbury - Smith;
Brackenbury - Fotiu;
Carlson - Fotiu (round 3)
The commentators can actually be heard calling the fight "the good guys in white, and the bad guys in blue." Moments later they can be heard splitting up the view of the ice: "Bob you you watch the left-hand boards, I'll watch the right, and we'll just kind of override each other." The goalies Al Smith and John Garrett were fighting at center ice, even though Garrett wouldn't take off his mask. Even team trainers Glenn Gostick and Joe Altott were chirping each other.
Fotiu ended up jumping onto the Saints' bench to fight Carlson a second time. As he later recalled for Liam McGuire, "It was one wild brawl, one of the wildest I had been in or would be in no question about it. One thing though that scared me more than anything else. If I could have, during that second fight with Jack Carlson, I would have killed him. I was that mad. We had gone through the door at the Minnesota players bench and I was fighting him in there and I wanted to kill him, seriously."
The brawl went on so long that fans began throwing things on the ice to get it to stop. In the end, a WHA penalty record was set: 41 penalties, amounting to 217 PIMs. Unbelievably, the teams shared a charter plane back to St. Paul after the game.
Although the Whalers went on to win this game, they ultimately lost the series in six games. The Saints were eliminated in the next round, 4-2, by the Nordiques.

Guess the Carlson brothers weren't the only reason to call them the Fighting Saints.