Tuesday, March 23, 2010
It was the final day of the 1951-52 season and the two worst teams in the NHL, both already eliminated from the playoffs, were playing just because they had to. Not even the officials seemed interested in the game, as they would fail to call a single penalty during the entire game. But the game was on the schedule and needed to be played, so on a rainy, windy night in Manhattan, just 3,254 fans felt it was worth their time to travel to Madison Square Garden on this day in 1952 to watch their New York Rangers play out the string against the last place Chicago Black Hawks.
They would be rewarded by seeing history made.
By the end of the second period the Rangers were up 5-2 and when New York's lead was extended to 6-2 early in the third period when Ed Slowinski completed a hat trick, the rout was on and some of the sparse crowd in attendance headed for the exits.
When Black Hawks center Gus Bodnar gathered up a loose puck at center ice and fed it to Bill Mosienko at the Ranger blueline no one was prepared for what happened next.
Mosienko headed for the goal and got around the off-balance Ranger defenseman Hy Buller and cut in on goaltender Lorne Anderson, faked to the left and shot low into the right side of the net for a goal at 6:09 of the third period. "It was my 29th goal of the season, so I went into the net to get the puck," Mosienko said.
With the score now still favoring the Rangers 6-3, the puck was dropped at center ice, Bodnar won the faceoff and spotted Mosienko again at the Ranger blueline and fired a pass. Mosienko took the pass and skated through the Ranger defense and fired the puck along the ice once more into the right side of the goal at 6:20, just 11 seconds after the first one.
"I'm sure Anderson was expecting high shots," recalled Mosienko. "Twice before during the game he had stopped high ones and I thought that he'd fall for the low shot. He did - a lucky thing for me."
The goal was Mosienko's 30th of the season, so he retrieved that puck from the net as well. "I guess some of the fans thought it was pretty funny when I got the puck. A bunch of them hooted and laughed."
Still, the Rangers were up 6-4 and it was time for another faceoff at center ice. The Black Hawks coach Ebbie Goodfellow motioned for Mosienko's line to stay on the ice and Bodnar once more captured possession of the puck. Bodnar passed it to left winger George Gee who got the puck to Mosienko moving down the right side near the blueline once more. Mosienko skated halfway toward the goal and then slowed, drawing Anderson out of the net, and as the goalie went down, his catching glove came off.
Already assuming that Anderson would be anticipating yet another low shot, Mosienko fired high to the right and into the goal. Just ten seconds had elapsed off the game clock and Mosienko had just shattered the record held by Carl Liscombe for 14 years at 1:52 for the fastest hat trick in the history of the NHL by completing the feat in just 21 seconds.
Briefly, Madison Square Garden was silent as the Rangers had just given up another goal, but as Mosienko skated toward the Chicago bench, those remaining in the arena rose and gave Mosienko an appreciative ovation. "I wasn't quite sure what to do," said Mosienko, "until one of our forwards, Jimmy Peters, told me to get the puck. 'That's a record, Mosie,' he kept yelling."
Later, the Black Hawks scored again to tie the game at 6-6 before Sid Finney won the game for Chicago with their fifth goal of the period with just 38 seconds remaining in their season to close out the year on a high note.
Lorne Anderson never played in the NHL again.
Mosienko would play 14 seasons in the NHL, all with Chicago, and score 258 goals and 282 assists for a total of 540 points. He was named the winner of the Lady Byng Trophy in 1945 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1965.
Mosienko's stick and the three pucks he retrieved from the Rangers net now reside in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and he was memorialized in his native Winnipeg on a mural depicting him celebrating his famous feat.
Today's featured jersey is a 1945-46 Chicago Black Hawks Bill Mosienko jersey. This jersey was worn by Mosienko and sold at auction for $25,390.
The Black Hawks first wore this style jersey in 1937 and would continue to do so until as recently as 1955. This jersey style would be revived in the 1991-92 season when the Original Six teams all wore a throwback jersey from their past.
Today's first video is a look back at Mosienko's legendary record shattering hat trick.
Next, a look at the origins of the phrase "hat trick" we are certain you will find very educational.