Seven: Canada Forces Game 8
Game 6 was Canada's first victory since Game 2. This sparked an
outpouring of excitement back home, as some 50,000 rejuvenated fans sent
telegrams and best wishes to the team. This helped motivate Team Canada,
who were all but alone in the powerful, undemocratic country.
Somehow the victory in Game 6 provided a great sense of confidence in
the team. No matter how unlikely it may have seemed to an outsider, the
team truly believed that they would win Game 7, and then Game 8.
Russia would have to play the game without their flashiest superstar in
Valeri Kharlamov, who was sitting out this game with a badly bruised ankle
thanks to the dastardly Bobby Clarke in Game 6. At the urging of Team
Canada co-coach John Ferguson, Clarke wielded his stick in axe like
fashion to chop down the flashy star. Clarke would later admit he had
every intention of breaking the ankle he was aiming for.
Canada got off to a strong start in what might have been the best
played game of the series. At just 4:09 of the game Phil Esposito opened
the scoring thanks to a Ron Ellis centering pass.
Six minutes later the Soviets tied it up. Alexander Yakushev took
advantage of a stumbling Brad Park to break in alone on Tony Esposito,
slipping the puck between the goaltender's pads.
Park was victimized again for the 2-1 goal late in the period. While
killing a penalty the puck bounced off of Park's skate directly to
Vladimir Petrov's stick. Petrov easily converted.
Before the period was over Phil Esposito somehow managed to get the
puck through a maze of players in front of the Soviet net and past the
screened Vladislav Tretiak.
Goaltending was the story of the second period, particularly by Tony
Esposito. Russia outshot Canada 13-7 in the frame, but no one was able to
beat either puck stopper.
The tie was finally broken early in the third period when Rod Gilbert
emerged from behind the net to stuff a backhand shot behind Tretiak.
The lead would be short lived as Yakushev scored his second of the game
to tie the score at 3. Those Soviet teams were so amazing. Whenever the
opposition thought they finally got a break against them, the Russians
would seemingly always respond quickly and emphatically.
After the tying goal Russia seemed to put their offensive attack into a
higher gear, but Tony Esposito was up to the task. He made half a dozen
spectacular saves. However the Soviet momentum soon subsided, and the
teams played tight, defensive hockey for the rest of the game. Neither
team wanted to make a mistake.
At 16:26 of that final period, one of the most disturbing scenes in
hockey history occurred. Soviet captain Boris Mikhailov and Canadian
defenseman Gary Bergman collided along the side boards and began to push
and shove. That's when the overmatched Mikhailov committed hockey's
cardinal sin and used his skates as a weapon. He kicked at Bergman's shins
Bergman, who was cut but not seriously injured on the play, responded
by ramming Mikhailov's head into the chicken wire that was used in
Luzhniki Ice Palace instead of Plexiglas.
Summit Series.com Game Seven Box Score
26, 1972 - Canada 4 - USSR 3
P. Esposito (Ellis, Park) 4:09
2-USSR Yakushev (Shadrin, Liapkin) 10:17
3-USSR Petrov (Vikulov, Tsygankov) 16:27 (PP)
P. Esposito (Parise, Savard) 17:34
Penalties: Mikhailov (tripping) 2:00, P.
Mahovlich (roughing) 5:16,
Mishakov (holding) 5:16, Mishakov (holding) 11:09, P.
Esposito (cross checking) 12:39, White (interference) 15:45
Penalties: Gilbert (hooking)
00:59, Parise (slashing) 6:04,
Anisin (hooking) 6:11, P.
Esposito (roughing) 12:44,
Kuzkin (roughing) 12:44, Parise
(roughing) 15:14, Kuzkin
(roughing) 15:14, Stapleton
Gilbert (Ratelle, Hull) 2:13
6-USSR Yakushev (Maltsev, Lutchenko) 5:15 (PP)
Henderson (Savard) 17:54
Penalties: Bergman (holding)
3:26, Gilbert (charging) 7:25, Bergman (major, roughing) 16:26,
Mikhailov (major, roughing) 16:26
Shots on goal:
9 7 9 - 25
Soviet Union 6 13 12 - 31
Tretiak (21/25) 60 minutes, 4 goals against
T. Esposito (28/31) 60
minutes, 3 goals against
USSR - Mikhailov - Yakushev
Canada - P. Esposito - White
Attendance 15,000 (Moscow)
Players on ice:
Bergman, Stapleton, Park, Ellis, P. Esposito, Gilbert, Goldsworthy, D. Hull,
Cournoyer, White, Ratelle, Henderson, P. Mahovlich, Parise, Savard, Lapointe,
Soviet Union: Gusev,
Lutchenko, Kuzkin, Ragulin, Vasiliev, Tsygankov, Blinov, Maltsev, Mishakov,
Mikhailov, Yakushev, Petrov, Vikulov, Shadrin, Anisin, Liapkin, Volchkov
Henderson scored the tournament's most exciting goal in
game 7 to ensure Canada would have a chance to pull out
a series victory in a decisive game 8. It was just a
hint of what was to come.
The melee could have turned into an all-out brawl, as both team benches
emptied. Fortunately the two sides were out there to break up the fight
and restore calm. A brawl would have been a major disaster for the
participants and the sport in general.
The players settled down but it was Canada who seemed to find an edge
of momentum once play resumed. And that enabled Paul Henderson to score
his second consecutive game-winning goal.
With less than three minutes left to play, Henderson was sprung lose
thanks to a nice pass from Serge Savard. Henderson was in alone on two
Soviet defenseman -- normally an impossible scoring chance. He crossed so
that the two defensemen were forced to cross positions as well, resulting
in a moment of confusion between the two comrades. Henderson slid the puck
through the defenseman's legs and went around. Instead of playing the man,
defenseman Evgeny Tsygankov tried to play the puck. He failed to stop the
puck and Henderson was in alone. He scored just under the crossbar while
falling down as the defenders tackled him.
Henderson seemed as surprised as anyone that he was able to score that
goal. Henderson was a role player, not a superstar, yet that was a
superstar's goal. It is one of the prettiest goals ever caught on film.
Yet it was just a hint of what was to come for Canada's newest hero.
"I sat there after the game and said: 'I will never score a bigger goal
than this in my life and I can die a happy man,'" Henderson remembered 30
Of course he would be even happier a couple of nights later.