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Blasts from the Past

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A guy who spent a year out of hockey recovering from an arm injury suffered in a fight with his father, leaped over the boards Sunday night to tackle Bobby Hull from behind while 10,363 horrified witnesses watched.

Steve Durbano, a player who has popularized, if not epitomized, the word goon, precipitated the second bench-clearing brawl in Winnipeg this season involving the Birmingham Bulls and the Jets.

For 23 minutes, players fought with each other while fans chanted "Birmingham stinks" as two of the three policemen at the Bulls' bench chased a chair thrower who missed the coach, Glen Sonmor, and hit the stickboy.

The Jets won the game, 3-2, thanks to a pair of goals by Peter Sullivan and Anders Hedberg early in the third period. Sparked by the brilliant defensive play of Barry Long, the Jets held on to win their 44th game, moving them 16 points ahead of second-place New England Whalers and Houston Aeros.

The teams were tied 1-1 heading into the third period. Long scored the Jets' first goal while Pat Westrum and Steve Alley replied for Birmingham.

The fighting started with two minutes and 18 seconds left in regulation play.

Three persons - Ken Linseman, Phil Roberto and Durbano, all of them Bulls - were responsible for the brawl in the opinion of Bob Frampton, the World Hockey Association's director of officials who praised the work of referee Ron Harris.

"Ken Linseman started it when he turned around on his way to the penalty box and became involved in a fight," said Frampton. "Then Phil Roberto joined the fight, becoming the third man, and finally Durbano came off the bench."

Frampton said the referee's report of the game would be on the desk of Larry Gordon, the WHA's executive director, by 10 a.m. today.

Suspensions and fines are expected to follow. Durbano has been suspended on two other occasions this season. He was a central figure in the first Winnipeg-Birmingham bench-clearing, then, later, shot a puck at referee Bill Friday, hitting him.

The betting is that Durbano will be suspended for the balance of the season.

Linseman, only 19, has ignited at least three brawls this season.

This time the 5-9, 167 pound rookie went after 6-1 210-pound Dave Dunn and, to no one's surprise and the crowd's pleasure, ended up on the bottom.

Roberto tried to pull Dunn off Linseman when Bobby Hull grabbed Roberto. Harris, the referee, started pulling Roberto, too, when all three fell backward.

Peter Marrin, who led the Bulls off the bench in the last Winnipeg incident, dangled his leg over the boards as if eager to leave.

Then suddenly, Durbano, who had been standing behind the bench in the walkway, lunged over the boards and headed directly toward Hull, driving him low in the back.

Hull, who had scored his 1,000th goal in the 1,600th game of his career on Saturday night in Quebec City, was not injured.

Following the game, Sonmor fumed into the microphones of radio reporters, lacing his comments with profanities.

"We'll see what kind of hero Dunn is when he's looking down the barrel of (Dave) Hanson and (Gilles) Bilodeau in Birmingham," he said.

Later, Sonmor said he was provoked by the sight of seeing "your guys throwing the linesman around".

Birmingham 2 at Winnipeg 3

First Period

1. Birmingham, Alley 1 (Henderson, Marrin) 14:38

2. Winnipeg, Long 5 (Kryskow) 17:50

Penalties - Stewart Bir 3:56, Winnipeg bench (served by Moffat), Sullivan Wpg misconduct, 4:32, Beaton Bir, Linseman Bir, U. Nilsson 5:38, Beaton Bir 12:16, Roberto Bir, Sjoberg Wpg misconducts, Beaton Bir double minor, Dunn Wpg 16:25.

Second Period

No scoring.

Penalties - Hughes Bir 0:48, Linseman Bir 2:33, Baird Wpg 9:05, Hughes Bir 11:18.

Third Period

3. Winnipeg, Hedberg 55 (Lesuk, U. Nilsson) 1:20

4. Winnipeg, Sullivan 15 (Green, Hull) 3:44

5. Birmingham, Westrum 2 (Marrin) 16:07

Penalties - Beaton Bir 2:19, Turkiewicz Bir 9:05, Baird Wpg 9:55, Dunn Wpg 12:43, Linseman Bir minor, major, misconduct, Durbano, Bir double minor, game misconduct, Roberto Bir double minor, game misconduct, Hughes Bir misconduct, Napier Bir misconduct, Garrett Bir, Beaudoin Bir minor, game misconduct, Birmingham bench, U. Nilsson Wpg minor, game misconduct, Hedberg Wpg misconduct, Hull Wpg misconduct, Sjoberg Wpg misconduct, Dunn Wpg minor, major, Bromley Wpg, Winnipeg bench 17:42.

Shots on goal by

Birmingham 7 6 8 - 21
Winnipeg 8 11 10 - 29
Goal - Garrett, Wood, Birmingham; Bromley, Winnipeg.

Attendance - 10,363.