USA versus RI

In November 1956 four hockey teams combined to play a game at the R.I. Auditorium before 1700 fans.  What was interesting about this game was that each team was represented by at least one Rhode Islander.  The United States National team faced off against the combined forces of Brown University, Providence College and the R.I. Scarlets each playing one period.  Ed Zifcak, former Burrillville star, scored two goals for the United States in a 11-0 victory.  In the first period, Jackie Hunt, former St. Raphael Academy goalie, turned in an credible showing for the Scarlets (R.I. amateur all-stars) as he kicked out 13 shots and gave up 3 tallies.  Tom Woodcock, then the Red's assistant trainer, came the closest to getting a goal for the combines.  The Scarlet forward fired a hard shot at Willard Ikola from 12 feet out that Ikola barely turned back with his skate.  The visitors added 5 against Providence College in the second period and 3 in the final period against Brown.  

Other Scarlets included Ed Yagnesak, George Keeling, Bill Belisle, Gil Baillargeon, Pete Tutless, Bob Pagliarini, Bill Sepe, John Hobin, Leo Kraunelis and Russ McGuirl.  Rhode Islanders on Providence College were Buzzy Boisvert, Jim Ford, Mike Lovitt, Bernie McCrink, Roland Rabitor and Ray Zifcak.  Brown had Don Hebert and Hugh Mainello.  Former Reds Art Lesieur and Gus Rivers officiated the game.  The United States hockey team were slated to go on to the World Championships in Russia in February 1957.  This was the last World Championships played on natural ice; and the first World Championships held in the USSR and they are remembered for the political circumstances surrounding the games.  As a result of Hungary recently being occupied by the Soviet Amy, the United States and Canada boycotted the World Championships in protest.  Joining them were Norway, West Germany, Italy and Switzerland.