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The Hockey Hall Of Fame

We Saw it Happen, But Did It Really?

By Bud Gallmeier

Muskegon, Mich. The land of Make Believe has lost its fascination. Fantasy-has faded intooblivion. Fact has become more unbelievable than fiction. All because of 13 courageous guys who just won't be beaten.

 

We saw it happen, but are not yet. fully convinced it did. A five goal deficit in a hockeygame represents an insurmountable obstacle something akin to trailing in a football game by five touchdowns. Or like climbing Pike's Peak with skates.

How can you score six straight goals against a hockey club with the weapons Muskegon has without retaliation? You can't. But the Komets did.This may not be the best Komet team but it'll do. It doesn't have the finesse and skills maybe of the 1959-60 powerhouse but it has more heart even without an Art Hart in the lineup.

Regardless of what happens in the next series with Minneapolis, Tuesday's clinching victory here can't be topped for drama, thrills, moments of frustration or exultation. It has to be the greatest comeback in the history of the International Hockey League.

As you re-live the games exciting moments in your mind pictures come into view. You recall Lennie Thornsons first goal, set up by passes from Gary Sharp and Eddie Long at 13:17 of the second period which pulled the Komets to within three goals at 6-3. You begin to think then that maybe they could still do it. But you had more doubts than optimism.

Then you see Lennie skating in from his own blue line, rolling off Joe Kiss and Pat Kelly to beat Dennis Jordan with the fourth Komet goal. It was at this point that cracks in the Muskegon armor became apparent. Their confidence, once. as the Rock of Gibraltar, was now shaken.

Now it's Long and Jumbo Goodwin racing in on Jordan, splitting the defense for a good shot. Jordan makes the save but little Bobby Rivard is the trailer and slams in the rebound. Now it's 6-5 and Muskegon has got a tiger the tail and can't let go.

Norm Waslowski and Reggie Primeau are next. The Chief steals a loose puck at center ice and heads for the Zephyr end. He feeds Whiz a short pass about 25 feet out The Whizzer takes a it in andthen peals away from the net like a fighter plane leaving formation for a strafing run. Then comes asharp back-hand. Jordan, reaches but his outstretched glove Just misses the flying puck. It's abrand new hockey game.

The game is now in overtime. The Zephyrs are fighting back strongly. Larry Lund has the puck. He slips by Nellie Bulloch for a shot from about 10 feet out. Chuck Adamson makes the save, But the puck trickles through his legs and slides slowly towrards the goal, now left vacant. It enters the crease. Its half way in. But it never makes it. Steady Eddie Long pops into view from nowhere and slaps the puck aside.

Adamson, who made stops which defy description inthe third period, still had some work to do before Roger Maisonneuve was to end this historic battle. Joe Kiss rifled a shot from the blue line which Chuck just gloved in time. The force of the shot knocked Chuck down like a bowling pin. But he hung onto the puck.

Next came Joe Kastelic, the Old Lamp LighterJoe had Chuck cold about six feet out. He shot but Chuck made the right move, he dropped and smothered the puck with his pads. It was muskegons last bid.

The winning coal came hard. Waslowski got three straight faceoffs while the Komets had the advantage got his penalty at 4:53 of the overtime.) The third faceoff went to Roger who drifted to the right of the net and fired and fired a back hand shot from about 25 feet away. I had two holes to hit one on each side, Roger commented. He went for the far side and hit.

That's how it happened. Unbelievable? Yes, but it did happen -- we think so anyway.