The Ontario Hockey League record for most goals in a season has stood at 87 for three decades now. During the 1980-81 OHL season, Ernie Godden of the Windsor Spitfires scored at a 1.28 goals per game pace over a full 68 game schedule. He added 66 assists for a points total of 153. In addition, he would add 13 goals and 29 points in an 11 game Windsor playoff run.
Why has the record lasted so long? Some will say that the star players in the OHL today don’t get to play a full schedule because of a number of reasons, including the World Juniors and extended NHL camps. Ray Sheppard played five less games in 1985-86 and scored 81 goals. Eric Lindros scored 71 in just 57 games during the 1990-91 season. Other factors would include a longer bench, better trained goaltenders and just an overall change in the game. Regardless, Ernie Godden’s record may stand for some time to come.
Ernie Godden played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 1978-79 to 1980-81, all with the Windsor Spitfires. Over his OHL career, Godden put in 152 regular seasons goals and contributed 290 points over the three seasons. The feisty 5’8″ 160 lb’er also was a tough customer, earning 508 minutes in penalties.
In his second season with the Spitfires, 1979-80, Godden contributed 40 goals and 41 assists for 81 points in 62 regular season games then added to that total at a point per game pace in the playoffs. Windsor made it to the Robertson Cup finals before being swept by the Peterborough Petes.
Surprisingly, his 153 points in that final season in the Ontario Hockey League was not the best in the league. John Goodwin of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds scored 56 goals and assisted on another 110 for 166 points. Just one point behind Godden was Bernie Nicholls of the Kingston Canadians. In an 11 game playoff effort that saw the Spitfires lose out to the Kitchener Rangers in the semi-finals, nine points to one, Ernie did all he could with 13 goals and 29 points. However, his efforts did earn him the Red Tilson Trophy as the league’s most outstanding player.
Godden was taken by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round of the 1981 NHL draft, 55th overall. In 1981-82, Ernie played five games with Harold Ballard’s Leafs and spent the rest of the season with their Central Hockey League affiliate, the Cincinnati Tigers. As a rookie, Ernie fared well in Cincinnati with 32 goals and 69 points in 67 games. He also brought his feistiness, sitting out 178 minutes in penalties.
The following two seasons, Godden spent all his time with Toronto’s AHL affiliate, the St. Catherines Saints. He spent 1984-85 in Austria with Klagenfurter before retiring from hockey.