SI Vault
 
Only fans were a myth
Ron Reid
October 07, 1974
The Griffins were real high-flying cats as Rochester soared past Philly to the title. Their next aerial act may be a flight to Pittsburgh
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
October 07, 1974

Only Fans Were A Myth

The Griffins were real high-flying cats as Rochester soared past Philly to the title. Their next aerial act may be a flight to Pittsburgh

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3

Neither side looked tired when the series returned to Rochester for game six. If anything, the Wings played with more zest than the Griffins, taking a 6-2 lead after 14� minutes before Rochester closed to 6-4 at the end of the first period. The teams combined for six goals during a 2:27 span of the second period, and in the third the Griffs edged to a 13-11 lead that set the stage for Kells' most devious gambit—or the worst officiating call—of the series.

With 4:35 left to play in the final period, Wing John Grant's second goal cut the Rochester lead to one, and 29 seconds later the Griffs lost Rick Bisson on a roughing penalty. Philadelphia was on the verge of bouncing back into a tie game—and perhaps a tied series that would have meant the home-floor advantage for the Wings in the seventh game.

Among its numerous peculiarities the War Memorial includes bench areas that were built, says Kells, "by some idiot." There is only a single gate through the boards in front of each bench, instead of the usual two. Changing lines invariably results in a jam-up of players entering and leaving the floor. When Rochester's Len Powers happened to mingle with the traffic at the Philly gate during those critical moments of game six, the Wings became snarled up, got caught with too many men on the floor, drew a bench penalty and lost their man advantage.

"In this arena and in this game, that was the most ridiculous call of the year," said a Philly player. For the Wings it was even worse than that. At 2:06 Bisson swooped out of the box at the conclusion of his penalty, stole the ball and fired a quick pass to Brian Bowman, who beat Piatt on a drive to seal the championship for Rochester.

Few though they were, the Rochester fans were ecstatic. They mobbed Marshall in a communal check against the board as he tried to escape to the cramped, steamy basement locker room that Rochester's minor league hockey team had forced the Griffins to use. The place turned even more humid than usual as a shower of champagne doused everyone. It was the kind of celebration Rochester probably will not see again.

1 2 3