Don Metz

Don Metz is chiefly remembered for his heroics in the 1942 Stanley Cup final in which the Toronto Maple Leafs staged the greatest comeback in hockey history. After losing the first three games to the Detroit Red Wings, the Leafs improbably won the next four games and the Stanley Cup.

It was Don Metz who replaced benched sharpshooter Gordie Drillon on right wing on the top line with Syl Apps and brother Nick Metz. Coach Hap Day decided to bench Drillon and defenseman Bucko McDonald in favor of Don and defenseman Ernie Dickens after their indifferent play in the first three losses to Detroit.

Don had played in the 1939 playoffs and played parts of the next three seasons before this opportunity to shine. He never was a scorer before, but Hap Day decided that he had nothing to lose by trying him out at this point, since Drillon had been totally ineffective in this series.

Toronto looked finished at first, but then tied the score 2-2 in game four going into the third period. The Detroit Olympia rocked as Carl Liscombe put Detroit ahead 3-2. But then, the Leafs reawakened. Syl Apps, who hadn't scored in the finals, scored to tie it and then Nick Metz took a pass from Apps to win the game, Don also assisting on the goal. The Leafs would live to fight another day.

Game 5 Don's turn to shine. He had a hat trick and assisted on both of Apps 2 goals as Toronto walloped Detroit 9-3.

Detroit made changes for game 6, but none of the Wings could contain Don Metz. Fourteen seconds after the second period began, he intercepted a pass near the Detroit goal and beat goalie Johnny Mowers with a quick shot. It was his fourth goal in three games. Toronto got two more goals for a 3-0 victory and a 3-3 tie in the series.

Don Metz's heroics weren't needed in the seventh and deciding game. Before the largest crowd to see a hockey game in Canada at that time, Toronto won the Cup with a 3-1 victory.

This was Don Metz's 15 minutes of fame. He would soon join the armed forces and missed the next two seasons. He did happen to return to the Leafs in time for the 1945 playoffs. Toronto again won the Cup, though Don did not play a notable role.

Strangely, Don Metz never really played regularly in the NHL, often shuttling between the Leafs and their AHL farm team the Pittsburgh Hornet. But he was always to be found in the playoffs. In 1946-47, he had 2 goals and 3 assists in the playoffs as Toronto won its first of three straight Stanley Cups. Metz was on all of those teams, giving him 5 Stanley Cup championships in his 7 year career.

Don Metz played in 172 NHL games, scoring 20 goals and 35 assists for 55 points during the regular season


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