Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The NCAA Wrestling Championships open today at College Park, but it is unlikely the three days of competition will see a hold the likes of the one which linesman Randy Mitton hogtied Washington defenseman Gord Lane last night at Capital Centre.
Lane, trying to get at Toronto's Tiger Williams, shoved Mitton to the ice, but the linesman hung onto his uniform and flipped Lane on his back. It was a humiliating moment, but hardly the only one for a Washington defense that handed the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-2 victory.
Toronto was limited to 20 shots, 11 during the two periods that ended in a 2-2 tie. The final 20 minutes dragged on, however, for the remnants of 8,062 fans for the way the last day of school sticks around interminably for vacation-hungry kids.
The Mitton-Lane feature was one of several wrestling encounters and the only one that reached a decision. The Capital's never-say-die Yvon Labre took on both Williams and Dan Moloney, while Rick Green also engaged Williams in the game's fading moments.
Lane was not penalized for laying hands on Mitton, referee Bruce Hood probably figuring he had suffered enough. Hood's official explanation was: "Randy was off balance, so we gave him the benefit of the doubt."
"I don't think he shoved me." Mitton added charitably and the other linesman, Kevin Collins, said, "Things look a lot different sometimes when you're up in the stands."
The overall contest looked the same from up high as it did to Coach Tom McVie behind the Washington bench.
"We played according to the plan we set out, but the goals were just awful mistakes," McVie said.
Borje Salming sent the Leafs in front on a shot that deflected into the net off the stick of Washington's Billy Collins.
Bob Sirois's 20th goal of the season, his third since Jan. 4, and Gerry Meehan's 15th goal gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead. Meehan took the puck behind the Toronto goal line, skated out a few strides, then backhanded it past goalie Gord McRae.
The rest of the contest resembled many of the Capitals' other 42 defeats. pat Boutette tied it 37 seconds after Meehan's goal, deflecting Salming's shot while standing unguarded in front of the Washington net.
Lanny McDonald's 41st goal was winner. Maloney, the newest Leaf, broke loose behind Bryan Watson, but goalie Bernie Wolfe blocked his shot. Maloney got the puck back and Wolfe knocked it off his stick. The puck slid Salming and Wolfe blocked his drive, but McDonald netted the rebound. If it sounds as if Wolfe was playing by himself, that's the way it looked, too.
Stan Weir made it 4-2 by carrying the puck from the corner at Wolfe's left across the goal mouth to tuck it behind the netminder. Weir, also, was unimpeded.
For the wrapup, George Ferguson took the puck from Washington defenseman Robert Picard at the Capital's blue line and skated in to score a breakway.
This was the beginning of a five-game home stand for the Capitals, now 7-19-5 at Capital Centre, 12-43-12 overall and contending only for the No. 1 pick in the amateur draft.
For McVie, there seems only one recourse. Cancel today's practice, take the players out to Cole Field House and at least teach them how to wrestle.