Goalie Jim Shaw Stars as Komets Beat Flags, 2-1
Jim Shaw, who he?
That appeared to be the question on everybody's mind as the lights went down low and Bob Chase announced the Fort Wayne Komets' starting lineup for their opening 1968-69 International Hockey League game last night at Memorial Coliseum and listed Jim Shaw as the starting goaltender. It isn't likely though that the puzzled 7,203 will forget Jim Shaw in a hurry as the K's started on the right foot beating the Port Huron Flags 2-1.
Most of the paying people in the stands expected to see Gerry Randall in the nets last night. But player-coach Lennie Thornson pulled off his first master-mind of the season when he selected Shaw as the starting puckstopper just prior to the start of the team's pre-game drill.
Shaw made Thornson look like a prophet from way back as he kept the Komets from being run out of their own rink and opening night with many timely saves. He kicked out 39 shots and most of them had the label "goa"l all over them.
Veteran defenseman Ted Wright and rookie Brian Playfoot made the difference as far as the K's were concerned on the offensive side, scoring in the second and third period respectively.
Shaw, who was as cool as the winters in his native Saskatoon, Sask., talked quietly in the dressing room following the game saying " I sure was hoping for a shutout-it was my birthday yesterday."
Actually when you look at things real close Shaw should have had his zero because the only Port Huron goal which came with five minutes 13 seconds left in the game was a little on the tainted side. Port Huron defensemsn Jack Criel had gained possession of the puck at the Fort Wayne blueline and fired a seemingly harmless shot at the Komet cage. Cal Purinton attempted to grab the puck with his stick but didn't get enough of it and the disc glanced into the net behind an amazed Shaw.
Purinton said afterwards, " I should have let it go, it was going to miss the net."
Randall came into the dressing room walked over to the 22-year-old Shaw and congratulated him for his fine performance.