Twins: 1972-73

Thunder Bay Twins 42 34 7 1 69
Marquette Iron Rangers 42 21 20 1 43
Sault Canadians 42 13 28 1 27
Calumet Copper Chiefs 42 6 36 0 12
Chicago Warriors 42 27 15 0 54
Green Bay Bobcats 42 25 15 2 52
Waterloo Black Hawks 42 23 18 1 47
Sioux City Musketeers 42 16 26 0 32

North Division semifinal
Thunder Bay Twins vs. Marquette Iron Rangers

Game 1: Twins 14 Iron Rangers 2 (@ Thunder Bay)
Game 2: Twins 11 Iron Rangers 0 (@ Thunder Bay)

Thunder Bay wins two-game, total-goal, series 25-2

South Division semifinal
Chicago Warriors vs. Green Bay Bobcats

Game 1: Warriors 6 Bobcats 4 (@ Waterloo, Iowa)
Game 2: Warriors 6 Bobcats 4 (@ Waterloo, Iowa)

Chicago wins two-game, total-goal, series 12-8

USHL Final
Thunder Bay Twins vs. Chicago Warriors

Game 1: Warriors 4 Twins 2 (@ Chicago)
Game 2: Twins 6 Warriors 3 (@ Chicago)
Game 3: Twins 7 Warriors 1 (@ Thunder Bay)
Game 4: Warriors 4 Twins 2 (@ Thunder Bay)
Game 5: Twins 6 Warriors 2 (@ Thunder Bay)

Thunder Bay wins best-of-five final 3-2

USHL Award Winners

MVP: Jack Byerley, Twins
Leading scorer: Jack Byerley, Twins
Best defenceman: John Ferguson, Twins
Top goaltender (Best goals-against average): Doug Long, Twins

USHL North Division 1st Team All-Stars

Goaltender: Joe Bamford, Twins
Defence: John Ferguson, Twins
Defence: Jack Owchar, Twins
Forward: Jack Byerley, Twins
Forward: Chuck Kelner, Twins
Forward: Brian Depiero, Twins

USHL All-Star Team
Defence: John Ferguson, Twins
Forward: Jack Byerley, Twins
Forward: Chuck Kelner, Twins

Allan Cup Eastern semifinal
Thunder Bay Twins vs. St. John’s Capitals
(All games played in St. John’s, Nfld.)

Game 1: Twins 6 Capitals 4
Game 2: Capitals 6 Twins 3
Game 3: Twins 6 Capitals 2
Game 4: Twins 9 Capitals 0

Thunder Bay wins best-of-five series 3-1

Allan Cup Eastern Final
Thunder Bay Twins vs. Orillia Terriers
(All games played at Fort William Gardens)

Game 1: Terriers 8 Twins 2
Game 2: Twins 7 Terriers 5
Game 3: Twins 3 Terriers 1
Game 4: Terriers 4 Twins 2
Game 5: Terriers 7 Twins 0

Orillia wins best-of-five series 3-2

NOTE: Orillia went on the defeat the St. Boniface Mohawks, four games to one, to win the 1973 Allan Cup.
Big win; tough loss for Twins in ’73

THE storied Thunder Bay Twins featured many memorable moments over their years of competition.

One such run was their United States Hockey League championship a half century ago.

Led by coach Lee Fogolin Sr., the Twins were the envy of the eight-team USHL during the 1972-73 campaign.

While the club finished middle of the pack before coming on strong to win it all a year earlier, this version of the squad set the tone early on and never looked back.

Rolling along in the regular season, Thunder Bay topped the USHL table with a league-best record of 34-7-1 while comfortably winning its North Division.

Taking on the Marquette Iron Rangers in divisional playoff action, the Twins’ foes from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula were no match for Fogolin’s high-scoring contingent.

A two-game total goal series played at the Fort William Gardens saw Thunder Bay demolish Marquette by scores of 14-2 and 11-0 to take the set in convincing fashion.

It would however be a much tougher test in the USHL final against an equally skilled Chicago Warriors squad, coached by future Pittsburgh Penguins NHL skipper Gene Ubriaco.

The best-of-five affair would see the Twins begin on the road where the Warriors would surprise them in the opener with a 4-2 victory.

Answering with a 6-3 result in Game 2, Thunder Bay headed home looking to close out the series.
It appeared that would be the case in Game 3 as the hosts swamped Chicago by a 7-1 count.

Ubriaco, who went on to garner coach of the year laurels in four different leagues during his time behind the bench, had different ideas however as his team next won 4-2 to send it to a fifth and deciding game at the Gardens.

There, despite a 23-shot barrage in the opening period, the Twins saw themselves down 1-0.

However, they roared back with a trio of unanswered tallies in the final frame to win going away, 6-2.

Barry Hogan paced them offensively with a pair of goals, while Chuck Kelner, Mike (Tinker) Mithrush, Murray McLeod and Brian DePiero supplied singles en route to a second straight USHL crown.

A plethora of league accolades were also bestowed to Thunder Bay players in recognition of their on-ice achievements.

They were led by 105-point man Jack Byerley, the USHL’s leading scorer, who was named the Most Valuable Player and a 1st Team All-Star.

He along with Kelner and Hogan finished one-two-three respectively in league offensive numbers with a combined 275 points between them.

Also honoured was John Ferguson as its top defenceman.

The Twins also dominated the North Division all-star selections, taking all six choices.

This included Byerley, Kelner and DePiero at forward, Ferguson and Jack Owchar on defence along with Joe Bamford in net.

Meanwhile Byerley, Kelner and Ferguson were further bestowed with All-USHL acknowledgement.

Setting their sights next on an elusive Allan Cup Canadian senior hockey title, which had not resided in the Lakehead since back in 1939, the Twins looked to put an end to that lengthy drought.

Heading to Newfoundland for an eastern semifinal against the St. John’s Capitals, Thunder Bay won the opener 6-4, but were then doubled up 6-3 to even the best-of-five.

The Twins were all business after that, thumping the Caps 6-2 and 9-0 to advance to the east final against a resilient Orillia Terriers side.

Despite having home ice advantage for the series, inclement weather in St John’s resulted in a late arrival home for many of the players in the opener, and it showed as the Terriers took a bite out of the Twins, winning 8-2.

Finding their legs, Thunder Bay won the next two outings (7-5 / 3-1) and were on the verge of heading punching their ticket to play for a national championship.

However, Orillia showed their mettle and disappointed the local fans by taking Game 4 (4-2) then cruising to a convincing 7-0 romp to close things out.

The Terriers went on to defeat the St. Boniface Mohawks four games to one to capture the Allan Cup and left Thunder Bay, along with the hometown faithful to ponder, what could have been?

The Twins in turn had to wait two more years before eventually earning national senior hockey supremacy in 1975 with the first of their record-setting five titles.

Twins USHL 1972-73 regular season statistics

Jack Byerley 14 F 40 42 63 105
Chuck Kelner 15 F 42 39 56 95
Barry Hogan 7 F 35 36 39 75
Brian DePiero 19 F 37 34 36 70
Murray McLeod 16 F 42 25 33 58
Dave Nuttall 20 F 39 27 27 54
Dave Vaillant 9 D 39 24 30 54
Gary Linquist 12 F 40 18 28 46
Mike Mitrush 10 F 30 18 28 46
John Ferguson 6 D 32 6 37 43
Dave Bragnalo 18 F 33 13 29 42
Drew Trapp 3 D 33 4 22 26
Jack Owchar 5 D 42 5 17 22
Dwight Stirrett 8 F 9 9 10 19
Dave Siciliano 17 F 17 7 11 18
Lou Marcon 2 D 22 1 5 6
Gary Mork 11 F 1 0 0 0
Steve Rubenick 4 D N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rod Manty
Joe Bamford
Doug Long