Game Eight: 
Henderson Has Scored For Canada!

Momentum was clearly on the Canadian side heading into decisive Game 8, yet they still had to win the game in order to claim victory in the series. A tie game would result in a tied series, but the Russians would have claimed victory because they had scored one more goal. That didn't sit well with the Canadians, so Team 50 set out to make sure that would not happen.

It became apparent early on that the Russian bureaucrats were going to do everything they could to see that the Russian hockey would be victorious, including cheating. And cheating is exactly what they did.

On the evening before the concluding game, the Russians switched officials. It was agreed upon earlier that Swedish referee Uve Dahlberg and Czechoslovakian referee Rudy Bata would officiate the final game, but Dahlberg had suspiciously fallen ill -- food poisoning was the story.

The Russians said that West German officials Josef Kompalla and Franz Baader, who both horrendously officiated Game 6, would have to officiate the final game. But Canada wanted no part of that. Those two, Kompalla in particular, proved to be brutally incompetent. The power-play advantages given to the Soviets so outrageously outnumbered the advantages given to Canada in Game 6 that one had to wonder if they were deliberately trying to throw the game.

Canada wanted no part of such an arrangement. Alan Eagleson had threatened to leave without ever playing Game 8, and, at least on the night prior to the big game, he had the support of the players on that issue. By doing so the Soviets would lose out on thousands of dollars of television money.

An agreement was made just hours before game time. The Canadians would stay and play Game 8 and each team would choose one official each. Canada chose Bata, while Russia chose Kompalla.

CBC Radio Coverage Over Referee Dispute Prior to Game Eight - CBC Radio (5:02)

The Soviet's actions may have done more harm to their cause than good. Team Canada was able to redirect some of the pressure facing them because of this distraction. Yet they remained not only focussed on the hockey game itself, but were more intense and angrier than ever before. Canada coupled that intensity with the momentum and confidence they had gained in the previous two victories.

Team Canada's fears about referee Kompalla were quickly realized. Just 2:25 into the game Bill White was given a questionable penalty, followed by another to Peter Mahovlich just 36 seconds later. The game was just three minutes old and already Canada was having to kill off a two-man disadvantage. Thirty-three seconds later Alexander Yakushev opened the scoring.

1972 Summit Game Eight Box Score
 Sept. 28, 1972 -  Canada 6 - USSR 5
First Period 
Yakushev (Liapkin, Maltsev) 3:34 (PP)
2-Canada P. Esposito (Park) 6:45 (PP)
3-USSR Lutchenko (Kharlamov) 13:10 (PP)
4-Canada Park (Ratelle, Hull) 16:59
White (holding) 2:25, P. Mahovlich (holding) 3:01, Petrov (hooking) 3:44, Parise (minor, interference, 10 minute misconduct, game misconduct) 4:10, Tsygankov (interference) 6:28, Ellis (interference) 9;27, Petrov (interference) 9:46, Cournoyer (interference) 12:51

Second Period
Shadrin 0:21
6-Canada White (Gilbert, Ratelle) 10:32
7-USSR Yakushev 11:43
8-USSR Vasiliev 16:44 (PP)
Stapleton (cross checking) 14:58, Kuzkin (elbowing) 18:06

Third Period
9-Canada P. Esposito (P. Mahovlich) 2:27
10-Canada Cournoyer (P. Esposito, Park)
11-Canada Henderson (P. Esposito) 19:26

Gilbert (major, fighting) 3:41, Mishakov (major, fighting) 3:41, Vasiliev (tripping) 4:27, D Hull (high sticking) 15:24, Petrov (elbowing) 15:24

Shots on Goal
Canada           14  8  14  -  36
Soviet Union    12 10   5  -  27

Tretiak (30/36) 60 minutes, 6 goals against
Dryden (22/27) 60 minutes, 5 goals against

Game MVPs:
USSR - Shadrin - Yakushev
Canada - Henderson - Park

15,000 (Moscow)

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

Soviet Union: Gusev, Lutchenko, Kuzkin, Vasiliev, Tsygankov, Blinov, Maltsev, Mishakov, Mikhailov, Yakushev, Petrov, Kharlamov, Vikulov, Shadrin, Anisin, Liapkin, Volchkov

Photo Feature

The scoreboard says it all - Canada scores the go-ahead goal with just 34 seconds left in the game.    | Watch The Goal |

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

Less than a minute later, Kompalla was at it again. At 4:10 J.P. Parise was given a minor penalty that was even more questionable than the others. Parise became enraged, slamming his stick on the ice so that it splintered while he yelled obscenities. Kompalla added a 10-minute misconduct on top of the two-minute minor.

That almost pushed Parise over the top. Parise aggressively skated up to Kompalla, who was positioned along the boards. Parise stopped just shy of doing what would have been one of the blackest marks in hockey history. He pulled his stick well over his head and was about to whack the referee like he was a piņata. Thankfully he stopped himself in time. Kompalla rightfully added a game misconduct on to Parise's penalty total.

Team Canada seemed to settle down after the outburst. And, for whatever reason, the refereeing improved somewhat, too. Canada was still getting penalties, but so were the Soviets. At least the bias wasn't as obviously blatant from that point on in the game.

Phil Esposito scored at 6:45 to tie the game for a few minutes. But by 13:10 Soviet defenseman Vladimir Lutchenko tallied on a power play but Canada left the first period tied at two thanks to a wonderful passing play finished off by Brad Park.

Canada had survived the early moments and appeared to be in good shape heading into the second period. But a fluke goal put the Soviets back in the lead just 21 seconds into the second frame.

Vladimir Shadrin tapped in a crazy rebound behind a surprised Ken Dryden in the Canadian goal. Big Yakushev fired the puck well over the net, hitting the mesh netting that accompanied the boards instead of Plexiglas as in North American rinks. The springy wiring caused the puck to bounce right back into the slot where Shadrin was waiting.

The goal deflated Canada, and the Russians could feel it. They pressured the Canadian zone throughout the second period, feeling that the game could be put away if they could jump on Canada at this point.

Despite the brilliant netminding by Ken Dryden in the period, the Russian's persistent attack paid off with three goals compared to Canada's one. The Russians held a commanding 5-3 lead after two periods of play.

Despite the score, Canada headed into the second intermission very positively. They felt they were playing a good game thus far. And oddly enough, every player on that team will tell you there was an unreal aura of confidence in the room that they were going to comeback. There was not a negative thought among them.

Canada took to the ice led by Phil Esposito. He had an incredible period of hockey. Coach Harry Sinden called period 3 "his finest hour," which is really saying something since he had been Canada's undisputed leader all series.

It was Espo who scored the all important early goal at just 2:27 of the third, narrowing the score to 5-4.

Canada continued to pour it on, and at 12:56 tied up the score, thanks to Esposito once again. Espo refused to be denied as he shook off two defenders and tested Tretiak with a good shot. Tretiak made the stop, but he was unable to stop Yvan Cournoyer's tap in on the rebound.

An interesting melee erupted after that goal was scored, but this didn't involve Team Canada and their on ice opponents, but rather Team Canada and the military policemen in the stands.

The Soviet goal judge did not turn on the red light when Cournoyer tied the score. This enraged Alan Eagleson, who feared the Soviets were going to cry "no goal." Eagleson, who was in the stands, tried to make his way to the public address announcer's booth to make sure that the goal was announced. He pushed his way past several of these military men who did not appreciate Eagleson's actions. They apprehended Eagleson and started to drag him off.

That's when big Peter Mahovlich showed up and poked the militia men with his stick. Mahovlich, who actually hopped the boards and was in the crowd in a scrum with the Russian military men, was quickly followed by his teammates.

Of course now the common joke is that they never should have rescued Eagleson, given his history which was revealed years later. But at the time it was quite something to witness. It was said that Team Canada was at war when they were in Moscow. For a few minutes, they actually did fight Soviet soldiers.

Eagleson was escorted across the ice to the Canadian bench. Embarrassingly, Eagleson shook his fist at the crowd in disgust, while trainer Joe Sgro, dressed in an embarrassing 1970s outfit of red pants, red shirt and red jacket, fingered the crowd.

Somehow, Team Canada was able to remain composed despite this, while the Soviets seemed to be on the ropes and playing for the tie.

For much of the rest of the period it appeared that the Soviets would get that tie, and then they would claim victory on a goals for ratio of 32 to 31.

Then the greatest moment in Canada's sporting history, perhaps in Canadian history period, was delivered by two familiar names.

Yvan Cournoyer intercepted a Soviet clearing attempt and fired a cross ice pass to a streaking Paul Henderson, who had called off the line's usual left winger Peter Mahovlich in order to get on the ice.

The pass was behind Henderson. No. 19 was also tripped up on the play and went crashing into the end boards behind the Soviet defenders.

Fortunately for Canada, Phil Esposito was following up on the play. He was dead tired and probably should have gone to the bench, but he was determined to be out there until the end of the game.

Espo poked the puck towards Tretiak for an easy save, but by this time Henderson had gotten back on his feet and gained the rebound. Henderson shovelled the puck towards the goal line. Tretiak made yet another save, but left another rebound, too. Henderson, unchecked by any Soviet player, was able to flip the final rebound over a sprawled-out Tretiak.

The country erupted as did the Team Canada bench. Henderson jumped into Cournoyer's arms just long enough for Denis Brodeur (Martin Brodeur's father) to snap the most famous photograph in hockey history. Shortly afterwards the duo was mobbed by the entire Canadian roster who vacated their bench.

Canada needed to compose themselves for a final 34 seconds, as the Soviets were more than capable of tying up the game in such a short time frame.

Canada sent out a line of Esposito with Pete Mahovlich and Ron Ellis and shut them down for 34 seconds that must have felt like 34 minutes for Team Canada.

When the final buzzer sounded, 3,000 Canadian fans burst into the sweetest rendition of O Canada ever heard, as the players embraced on the ice. Some openly wept, something rarely seen among NHL professionals, even after capturing the Stanley Cup.