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Impossible you say, read on. The NHL record books show the fastest three goals scored were by Bill Mosienko, the pint-sized right winger on Chicago Black Hawks famed Pony Line. He accomplished the feat by blinking the red light three times in 21 seconds, in a 1952 game against the New York Rangers. This has come to be considered the standard for natural hat tricks in an officially organized hockey game. Compared to Connie MacNeil, Mosienko might be accused of dragging his feet. The night was February 27, 1950, in a drafty old barn that served as the home rink for Acadia University Axemen of the Annapolis Valley Senior B Hockey League. Thats the night the man who was to become Conrad MacNeil, distinguished Western District supervisor of schools for Kings County, Nova Scotia was to set a scoring record that is unlikely to be broken. On that night, however, he was still just Connie MacNeil, a quick-stepping Acadia left winger, a rookie with a reputation for coming through in the clutch.

Impossible you say, read on. The NHL record books show the fastest three goals scored were by Bill Mosienko, the pint-sized right winger on Chicago Black Hawks famed Pony Line. He accomplished the feat by blinking the red light three times in 21 seconds, in a 1952 game against the New York Rangers. This has come to be considered the standard for natural hat tricks in an officially organized hockey game. Compared to Connie MacNeil, Mosienko might be accused of dragging his feet.

The night was February 27, 1950, in a drafty old barn that served as the home rink for Acadia University Axemen of the Annapolis Valley Senior B Hockey League. Thats the night the man who was to become Conrad MacNeil, distinguished Western District supervisor of schools for Kings County, Nova Scotia was to set a scoring record that is unlikely to be broken. On that night, however, he was still just Connie MacNeil, a quick-stepping Acadia left winger, a rookie with a reputation for coming through in the clutch.

The stage was set just before the midway point in the first period of the clinching game of the best -of-seven semi-finals between Axemen and Kentville Wildcats. With the old Export A scoreboard reading 1-1, MacNeil performed a goal scoring feat for the ages. Faster than you could say one, two, three, red-light, the product of the Glace Bay area athlete factory made the scoreboard read Acadia 4 - Kentville 1.

In six seconds MacNeil had done what seemed to be impossible he had snapped three goals past Kentville goaltender Al Tomori, a well-traveled goaltender who had once attended training camp with the fabled Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League. The achievement almost boggled the mind and, as expected, there were some questions and controversy about the accuracy of the clock.

How could anyone score three goals in six seconds? Even the British United Press got into the act, quoting then NHL president Clarence Campbell as saying such a possibility was fantastic. But Major Fred Kelly, the highly respected Acadia coach, a man of recognized integrity, squelched the controversy when he told reporters, Im not surprised by Campbells disbelief. I wouldnt have believed it myself if I hadnt seen it. But he had total confidence in the integrity of the clock and the official timer. League timers and reporters echoed the Majors comments.

The thought of anyone scoring three goals in six seconds IS fantastic, but, by the same token, the NHL record for the two fastest goals by one player is only four seconds set by the legendary Nels Stewart and tied by defenseman Deron Quint in the 1995-96 season. (Minnesota Wild scored two goals in three seconds in 2004 but with different shooters.) So, theoretically, as fast as a player can shoot, a scoring play is possible.

Before I run out of space, lets have a look at how the feat was accomplished:

At the 7:35 mark of the first period, and playing four skaters aside, MacNeil broke away with the puck from his own end. As a rookie he wasnt used to carrying the rubber, he now says, and he looked for someone to pass to - he was really looking for his centre, Bob MacKenzie. When some ice opened up, though, he was off to the races; instead of passing he took a wrist shot and beat Tomori to make the score read Acadia 2 - Kentville 1.

Going back to the face-off he took a bit of good-natured ribbing from defenseman Bruce Dunlop, who chided him for lugging the puck coast to coast rather than passing. Because of that he had to hustle back to the face-off circle, skating through it actually, just before referee-in-chief Reg Beazley dropped the puck. The centre. MacKenzie, a heckuvva hockey player, MacNeil says, put the puck right on Connies stick off the face-off and he took a stride or two and shot pass (or through) the legs of the Kentville defenseman. Tomori was screened on the play and didnt see the shot.

Goal No. 2. The clock read 7:38.

Well, MacNeil says, that play worked so well he even talked to Dunlop again on his way back to the face-off circle. Lo and behold, MacKenzie got the draw again and put the puck right on the tape for MacNeil a second straight time. Same play... a couple of strides and a screened shot at Tomori who again didnt see it... for a 4-1 Acadia lead. The only difference was that the third goal beat Tomori on the short side. The clock read 7:41.

Thanks to Liam Maguire, HNL Trivia Expert for his assistance in affording me this story. There is a lot more that could be written to verify the game and the feat that was accomplished, but space will not permit. Anyone who would like additional info, just make contact and I shall fill you in.

Thats 30 for this week. Remember, Its easier to build a child than mend an adult and an ounce of pluck is worth a ton of luck! Until next week.



dwinsor@persona.ca

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