the 1972 Summit Series
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Storm Rising - Soviets Do It Again
MONTREAL – From the Maritimes, to the Prairies, to the Pacific Coast, tonight was heralded as Canada’s coming-out party in the world of international hockey. But in the aftermath of a 6-4 upset at the Montreal Forum, the taste of defeat was as sour as celebratory champagne turned to vinegar.
Vladimir Vikulov scored a goal and added an assist during a second period Soviet four-goal eruption, and then chipped in an empty netter to clinch the game.
The Soviet Union takes a 1-0 lead in the Summit Series.
Contributing in large part to Canada’s defeat, however, was its inability to avoid penalties and the Soviets’ ability to cash in power-play goals. Unused to the tightly officiated games, the Canadians took numerous hooking and tripping calls.
The Soviets special teams had a field day, going 3-for-9 on the man-advantage and scoring twice in the second period.
Phil Esposito fired the first shot of the series, and scored, beating Vladislav Tretiak glove-side at :48 of the first period. Canada managed to make its 1-0 stand through the first period.
The Canadian defense managed to shut down the Soviets’ big line of Vladimir Petrov-Valery Kharmalov-Boris Mikhailov, limiting Petrov to just one assist for the entire game. Yet the other forwards on the remaining lines – and the defensemen – were able to step up and provide the offense.
Vladimir Shadrin tied the game at 1:13 of the second period, taking a pass from Aleksandr Yakushev and firing a wrist shot from a bad angle that caromed off of goalie Ken Dryden’s pads and into the net.
Two minutes later, the Soviets seized the lead, 2-1, when Vikulov scored on a 3-on-2 break. The Canadian defenders, used to forwards staying in their lanes, had trouble covering the shifting forwards, Aleksandr Bodunov and Yuri Lebedev.
Brad Park and Gary Bergman were caught off-guard on the same side of the ice, leaving a wide-open path to the net for Vikulov, who fired a slap shot through Dryden’s five-hole.
The Soviets extended their lead to 3-1 at 8:44 on the power play. Defenseman Aleksandr Ragulin, not known for his passing, let alone goal scoring, hammed a slap shot from the blue line that floated through a screen and beat Dryden stick-side to the top corner.
Canada cut the deficit to 3-2 at 11:32 when Tretiak allowed a long rebound off a slap shot by Dennis Hull. The puck came to Jean Ratelle’s blade as he crashed the net and he flipped it past the goalie.
Penalties continued to hamper Team Canada, but it managed to tie the game at 16:51 while Bobby Clarke was serving a two-minute penalty for holding. While covering the point, Dennis Hull managed to anticipate and intercept a lateral pass from Yuri Liapkin intended for Aleksandr Gusev.
With a good jump on the surprised Soviets, Hull rambled untouched into the Soviet end, then beat the sprawling Tretiak with a crisp backhand shot for a short-handed goal.
Yet the swing in momentum was brief. When Phil Esposito was whistled at 18:14 for interference, the Soviets received their fourth power play attempt. Victor Kuzkin one-timed a slap shot from the point that deflected off of Guy Lapointe’s skate and was redirected past Dryden at 19:07. The power play goal was the turning of the game, giving the Soviets a 4-3 lead their would not relinquish.
Viacheslav Anisin scored a power-play goal 9:16 of the third period to give the Soviets a two-goal cushion. Vikulov’s wrist shot clanged off the post and deflected off of Anisin’s skate into the goal. Team Canada protested the call, claiming that the Soviet forward had kicked the puck into the net. The officials allowed the goal to stand.
Team Canada rallied one last time to pull within a goal, at 5-4 when Peter Mahovlich worked a give-and-go with Ratelle and scored on a 2-on-1 break at 16:02.
The Soviets fell back into a defensive shell for the final three minutes. Tretiak made key saves in that time span on quality shots by Paul Henderson, Esposito, and Clarke.
With 1:15 remaining, Sinden gambled by pulling Dryden for a sixth skater, but the move backfired. Yuri Liapkin intercepted an errant pass by Frank Mahovlich in the neutral zone, then sent the puck up ice to a streaking Vikulov who drilled it into the empty net at 19:43.
Both goalies were put through the wringer. Tretiak improved as the game wore on, stopping 29 of 33 shots. Dryden turned back 31 of 36 shots faced. Despite the allowing four-goals in the second, he managed to regain his composure in the third.
During the post-game press conference, Team Canada coach Harry Sinden admitted he and his coaching staff had underestimated the resiliency of the Soviet bench and that the whole team shares responsibility for the defeat.
Team Canada looks to regroup in Game 2 in two days in Toronto at the Maple Leaf Gardens.
Please Note: While the above result and box score are supplied by incredible re-enactment game Classic Hockey by Decisive-Action Sports,, the game write up is fictional