Game Six: The Slash

After the Soviet come-from-behind victory in Game 5 to take a commanding 3-1-1 series lead, you would have expected Team Canada to be demoralized and dejected and Russia would have gone for the kill.

Things didn't exactly unfold that way, however. Canada kept positive and felt that they could still win, while Russia, admittedly in hindsight, became overconfident and ultimately allowed the Canadians back into the series.

Canada had felt like they were finally coming into form. Remember this was the beginning of the professionals' seasons, and unlike the Soviets who trained almost year round, the Canadians were just coming into game shape. And remember also that while the Russians knew all about the Canadian game, the Canadian knowledge of the Soviet strategy was nonexistent entering the series. Now, after five games, Canada felt they were prepared to play the Soviets.

The first period wasn't dominated by Esposito or Mahovlich, or by Yakushev or Kharlamov, but rather by two guys named Kompalla and Bata. They were the two referees from West Germany that were so brutally bad that it was charged that they were blatantly biased against the Canadian players. Canadian players were repeatedly sent to the penalty box for questionable and phantom penalties. Phantom offsides were being called as well. Somehow the Soviets were rarely being called for penalties, though. You can chalk it up to cultural differences in the differing styles of hockey. By the end of the game, the penalty minutes were 31 for Canada, just four for Russia.

Fortunately Team Canada's penalty killing was in top shape for this game, as the Soviets possessed a lethal power play.

After a scoreless first period, a flurry of scoring filled the second stanza. The Soviets opened the scoring as a low shot from the blue line by Yuri Liapkin.

The Canadians would not deflate after falling behind yet again. Instead they responded with several strong minutes of sustained attacks. The pressure paid off when they shocked the Soviets with three goals in a short span of just 1 minute and 23 seconds.

Dennis Hull flipped a Rod Gilbert rebound over a fallen Vladislav Tretiak for Canada's first goal at 5:13. Then at 6:31 Red Berenson was able to center the puck to an open Yvan Cournoyer. The Roadrunner buried the shot from the slot. And then just 15 seconds later, Paul Henderson scored what proved to be the game winning goal. He intercepted a pass by a Soviet defender and wired a slapshot past the unprepared Tretiak.

One penalty that was issued to Canada was definitely well deserved. Bobby Clarke, at the encouragement of assistant coach John Ferguson, controversially attacked the Soviet's flashiest player. Clarke cracked the ankle of Valeri Kharlamov. Kharlamov didn't lose his footing and actually turned around to say a word or two to Clarke - this made the play seem less harmful than it truly was. Kharlamov would miss the next game and was ineffective in the final game.

Team Canada's penalty killing played a huge roll in the outcome. The Soviets awesome powerplay was held to just one goal. That goal came late in the game as Alexander Yakushev made it 3-2 with a little over 2 minutes left.

1972 Summit Game Six Box Score
 Sept. 24, 1972 -  Canada 3 - USSR 2
First Period
No Scoring
Bergman (tripping) 10:21, P. Esposito (double minor, charging) 13:11

Second Period 
Liapkin (Yakushev, Shadrin) 1:12
2-Canada Hull (Gilbert) 5:13
3-Canada Cournoyer (Berenson) 6:21
4-Canada Henderson 6:36
5-USSR Yakushev (Shadrin, Liapkin) 17:11 (PP)
Penalties: Ragulin (interference) 2:09,
Lapointe (roughing) 8:29, Vasiliev (roughing) 8:29, Clarke (minor slashing, and 10 minute misconduct) 10:12, D Hull (slashing) 17:02, P. Esposito (major, high-sticking) 17:46, Team Canada bench minor (served by Cournoyer) 17:46

Third Period
No Scoring
Penalties: Ellis (holding) 17:39

Shots on Goal:
Canada            7  8  7  -  22
Soviet Union   12  8  9  -  29 

Tretiak (19/22) 60 minutes, 3 goals against
Dryden (27/29) 60 minutes, 2 goals against

Game MVPs:
USSR - Lutchenko - Yakushev
Canada - Dryden - Bergman

15,000 (Moscow)

Players on ice:
Bergman, Stapleton, Park, Ellis, P. Esposito, Gilbert, D. Hull, Cournoyer, Berenson, White, Ratelle, Henderson, P. Mahovlich, Parise, Savard, Lapointe, Clarke

Soviet Union: Lutchenko, Ragulin, Vasiliev, Tsygankov, Maltsev, Mikhailov, Shatalov, Yakushev, Petrov, Kharlamov, Vikulov, Shadrin, Anisin, Lebedev, Bodunov, Liapkin, Volchkov

Photo Feature

Perhaps the most controversial moment of the series came in game six when he deliberately attacked Valery Kharlamov's ankle by wielding his stick. It was perhaps never so controversial as during the 30th anniversary celebrations. (Photo courtesy of 


1972 Summit Series Games

Game One
Game Two
Game Three
Game Four
Game Five
Game Six
Game Seven
Game Eight

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Canada's Team of the Century

The Soviets were actually unlucky to not have tied the game. Late in the second period, some people felt that the Soviets had scored a goal, but the officials never noticed and the Soviets never protested. Valeri Kharlamov was able to flip a light shot over Ken Dryden, but the puck seemed to be stopped by the old-style netting that hung down from the crossbar. The idea of the netting was to keep the puck in the net once it zoomed in there. But in this case, it slowed the puck down, and Dryden was able to reach back and glove it. The call by announcers was that the puck hit the goalpost.