the 1972 Summit Series
Brought to you by Decisive-Action Sports
Game 3: Canada
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Within a 20-minute span of the Summit Series’ third game here in the Winnipeg Arena, the Canadian hockey community teetered along the razor-sharp line that separates the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Soviet Goalie Vladislav Tretiak misplayed a desperation shot by Canadian forward Rod Gilbert at 18:31 of the third period that allowed Team Canada to salvage a 4-4 tie.
The series remains deadlocked 1-1-1 as the teams fly to Vancouver to complete the Canadian tour.
Team Canada saw a splendid effort turn into a near disaster in the final 22 minutes of the game, letting a 3-0 lead evaporate. Coach Harry Sinden said he was disappointed with the team’s let down, but praised their resiliency in pulling out the draw.
“I really think we were over-confident [after the win in Toronto],” he said. “It didn’t take long for the Soviets to bring us down from the clouds, but I’m happy with the way our boys didn’t quit when the momentum had gone against them.”
Also of concern is a power play that has failed to generate any offense. Team Canada went 0-for-5, allowing a critical short-handed goal.
For the third consecutive game, Phil Esposito put Canada on in the first period. He intercepted a pass from Yuri Blinov in the neutral zone, then beat Tretiak on the breakaway with a forehand shot to the top glove-side corner at 6:08 of the opening period.
Esposito put Canada ahead 2-0 at 5:15 of the second period when he tipped in Bobby Clarke’s slap shot. Jean Ratelle made the score 3-0 at 12:26 on a 3-on-1 break that was created by a botched Soviet line change.
The turning point in the game occurred at 17:35 when Team Canada was on the power play and attempting to deliver a knockout punch. Under pressure, Dennis Hull attempted to pass from the top of the left circle cross-ice to defenseman Brad Park at the opposite point, but the puck sailed out of the offensive zone.
Aleksandr Yakushev had a step on Park and reached the puck first and took off on a breakaway. Goalie Tony Esposito moved out to challenge, then flinched first. Yakushev left a drop pass for Vladimir Shadrin that he teed up and blasted into the net. The short-handed goal cut Canada’s lead to 3-1.
Shadrin’s tally complete changed the momentum of the game. In the third period, Team Canada fell into a defensive shell and the Soviets pressed the attack.
Although limited to just two power-play opportunities, the Soviets took advantage when Viacheslav Anisin scored just 46 seconds into the beginning of the third period.
The Canadian penalty killers collapsed on rookie Aleksandr Bodunov in an attempt to trap him near the corner, but the Russian forward had the presence of mind not to rush his pass until Anisin was in position on the far post behind the defenders. The pass was on the tape and Anisin swept the puck into the open net.
The Soviets tied the game at 9:29 when Aleksandr Gusev picked up a loose puck and sent it ahead to Yakushev. “Yak,” as the Canadians have nicknamed him, unleashed a cannon shot from the top of the circle that bounced in and out of the net before Esposito could react.
Sinden called a timeout after the goal in an attempt to slow the Soviet momentum and to try to restore his team’s flagging confidence. The move failed dismally.
At 11:34, Aleksandr Maltsev created a turnover in the Canadian end on the forecheck, then shovelled the puck to Petrov who fired from the high slot. The rebound came to Boris Mikhailov who slammed it home to give the Soviets a 4-3 lead.
Tony Esposito managed to settle down, robbing Petrov on a breakaway roughly two minutes later. It would prove to be the last major Soviet scoring attempt of the evening.
Team Canada, outshot 11-8 in the third period, made its last one count when Gilbert scored unassisted on a fluke shot to tie the game, 4-4 with 1:29 remaining. As the Canadians were making a line change, Gilbert fired a wild slap shot from just outside the blue line.
The shot rebounded off the boards behind Tretiak and came straight back. The Soviet goalie turned to play the puck, but it caromed off the side of his skate and into the net.
Soviet coach Vsevolod Bobrov said he was disappointed with his team’s play for a second straight game, allowing themselves to fall into an early hole and have to dig out.
“We cannot expect to have a third period like this every night,” he said. “We have used up our reserve of luck.”
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