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Friday, January 23, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on JANUARY 23rd

42 years ago tonight (1973) – Craig Cameron became the first Islander to record a hat trick at the Coliseum as the expansion Isles pounded the California Golden Seals 8-1.

Cameron died in 2012

The Isles had already built a 4-0 lead when Cameron began his natural hat trick with goals 1:19 apart late in the second period.  We would complete the trick at 17:03 of the third period – the first of three Isles goals in the final three minutes of the contest.

Two other Islanders, Ralph Stewart and Richard Grenier, each scored their first NHL goals.  For Stewart, it was the first of 49 goals in an Isles uniform (he also had three assists) but for Grenier it was his only NHL goal.  Bob Cook, who had been acquired from Detroit with Stewart earlier in the month, scored his first goal as an Islander 24 seconds into play.
The game was played the night that a cease fire was announced to end the war in Vietnam, drawing a loud cheer from the crowd.

It was only the sixth win on the season for the Isles (6-38-4) but their second in five days (fifteen days closer together than any Islander wins to that point). While California only had eight wins to that point (8-27-11), they were still 11 points ahead of the Isles.

Newsday’s John Jeansonne asked Bill Torrey about the possibility of catching the Seals, which would have cost the Isles a chance to draft a highly rated junior named Denis Potvin.  Torrey noted “There’s more than one good junior player out there.  And I think it is a good assumption for the moment to say that it we don’t get the first pick, we’re going to get #2”.    

In the end, the Isles got #1, which became #5..and within a decade became Stanley Cups 1, 2,3, and 4.

For Phil Goyette, it was his final win as an Islander coach – he was replaced by Earl Ingarfeld less than a week later.  Ingarfeld would also win six games behind the Isles bench; the guy that followed him would win a lot more.

Also on this date: (1993) – Scott Lachance broke a 4-4 tie late in the second period and the Isles went on to an 8-4 win over Philadelphia, stretching their unbeaten streak to 4.  Tom Kurvers had two goals and two assists. (The Isles did not score more than 6 goals in any game against the Flyers again, until they beat Philly 7-4 this past Monday.)

All-time, the Isles have played nine January 23rd games at the Coliseum and finish with a 4-5-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

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