'56 MANITOBA FALLS TO ONTARIO IN MINTO CUP SEMI'S
After the successes of 1954 and 1955 Minto Cup play downs, confidence is high in the Manitoba camp. This is even so with the loss of a number of players from the '55 team due to graduation and with three members of the '56 team Ted Harris, Brian Derrett, and Dick Paulley not being available for this year's Minto Cup semi's. The key loss to graduation will be goalie Mike Tymtychsyn whose spectacular play carried Manitoba to the Minto cup finals. Goal tending duties will be carried by John Campbell and Lorne Panagrot.
The depleted squad will be built around the high scoring "kid line", Jerry Kline, Harry Nightingale, and Lorne Kenyon, and the rock solid defence of Ralph Lyndon. Rounding out the All Star line up will be Bob Currie, Bill Whicklow, Ross fargey, Garry Murray. Joe hunt, Bill Friessen, George Barnes, and Bill Douglas.
Playing without the benefit of a couple of exhibition games, the Manitoba All Stars will be facing the perennial powerhouse Brampton Excelsior. There will be a number of familiar faces in the Excelsior's line up as the Brampton team has bolstered its provincial championship team with three pick ups from the 1955 Minto Cup Champion Long Branch Monarchs.
Facing such strong opposition, Ron Henley, coach of the All Stars, was confident that the weakened local side would give the victors from the east all they could handle.
Game one went to form with highly skill Excelsiors jumping out to leads of 3-0 after the first period and 5-1 after he second frame over the hastily assembled local side. Goalie, John Panarot, was outstanding in the net keeping the "Toba team in the game until All Stars found their team game. Carried by the cheers of over 800 spectators at the Olympic Rink, Manitoba outscored the Brampton team 4-2 in the third period. Brampton got the only goal of the final period- final score Brampton 8- Manitoba 6. Manitoba Scorers Ralph Lyndon (3), Kline (1), Nightingale (1), and Kenyon (1). Coach Henley described Brampton as "the best team we seen yet", while warning the visitors that the they will see a more physical ball control style of the game from his charges.
In game two of the best of three series, the Excelsiors came out flying jumping out to an early lead, but by the end of three periods Manitoba Battled back to hold a 7-6 lead. A questionable penalty call ended Manitoba's hopes as Brampton scored on the power play to tie the game and then followed with three more markers. Manitoba battled right to the end with Harry Nightingale scoring in the final frame. With the 10-8 victory, Brampton will travel to Vancouver to play PNE Legion for the Minto Cup. Manitoba scorers were Lyndon (2), Kenyon, Murray, Wicklow, Currie, and Nightingale (2). Strong goal tending by Panagot keep the local squad in the game right to the end.
Brampton coach, George Thompson, belittled the Manitoba effort with this backhand compliment at the end of the series: "they a lot tougher than we expected". Manitoba's streak of the reaching the Minto Cup finals had come to an end.
One thing that came out of this series was a need to speed up the game. Lacrosse, billed as the fastest fame on two feet, had been slowed down to a snail pace when weaker teams held possession of the ball for long periods of time as a way to reduce the offence of a stronger opponent. While the strategy allowed Manitoba to keep the game close, the game lacked the pace and excitement that fans came to expect. Rumblings in the crowd suggested the lacrosse should adopt a 24 second shot clock, similar to the one used by pro basketball.