Kid to the Rescue
It bordered on fiction but 3002 people saw it so you must believe it. In November 1953, the Providence Reds beat the defending Calder Cup Champions, Cleveland Barons, with a 17-year-old kid in goal just out of high school at the R.I. Auditorium. With the game only 8 minutes old, the Reds starting goaltender, Harvey Bennett, took a deflected puck to the right eye off teammate Ed Kyrzanowski's stick on a shot by the Barons' Glen Sonmer. After being stitched up by team physician, Dr. James McKendry, Bennett was retired for the night. Norm Desaulniers was called into action to save the Reds. Desaulniers was a 1953 First Team All-State goalie from La Salle Academy and served as the Reds practice goalie all season. He walked into the dressing room with a cut and a mouse under his left eye received playing in a pick-up scrimmage two nights earlier.
The Reds gave a masterful display of forechecking and backchecking in providing the kid goalie with strong support. Besides letting in a shorthanded goal in the second period by the Barons' Cal Stevens, a 65-footer outside the Reds blueline, Desaulniers got stronger as the game went on. His Reds mates tallied three times to go up 3-1. Chuck Blair scored a second goal for the Barons but that didn't matter, for Zelio Toppazzini scored ahead of him to seal the 4-2 victory. The ovation for Desaulniers was said to be one of the warmest given to any athlete in years at the Arena. The Reds joined in and the kid, lost among his men, almost toppled to the ice each time one of the players struck him on the back. But weary as he was, his face was wreathed with the big smile of a kid who just couldn't believe that it all was real.