the 1972 Summit Series
Brought to you by Decisive-Action Sports
Game 2 Vs. Sweden
HAMMER OF THE GODS
STOCKHOLM, Sweden – There is a story in Nordic mythology of how Thor felled the mighty Frost Giants with one blow from his hammer. In a similar vein, Sweden’s Mats Ahlberg toppled hockey giant Team Canada with a blast into an empty net at 19:46, capping an improbable 6-4 upset.
Ahlbergs’ hat trick and a four-goal explosion by Team Sweden help split the two-game exhibition.
“I just can’t describe right now how I feel,” Ahlberg said. “To beat the top professionals in the world is something we’ll always savor.”
Harry Sinden took a different view of the outcome, criticizing the officiating crew that the International Ice Hockey Federation had been brought in from West Germany.
“Too inconsistent,” he stated. “How is a team supposed to get into a rhythm when what isn’t being called one period is getting harped upon the next?”
Sinden was also upset with the way the Swedes goaded his players into taking retaliation penalties.
“For four periods, we shut them out and this is the only way they can compete, by taking our guys off the ice,” he retorted. “My guys were being assaulted and they weren’t even allowed to defend themselves.”
Paul Henderson put Canada on the board first at 6:35, wristing a pass from Yvan Cournoyer over goalie Christer Abrahamsson’s shoulder. Team Canada dominated the first period tempo, out shooting Sweden 9-0 in the first period.
A turning point in the game came at :16 into the second period when Swedish forward Ulf Sterner slashed Canadian defenseman Gary Bergman across the shins, prompting a swipe back. Both players were sent off the ice and for two minutes, the teams skated four each.
The fewer number of players and the wider ice surface favored the more agile Swedes. Forward Karl-Johan Sundqvist found himself all alone on the far post. When Dryden failed to control a rebound from a long shot by defenseman Stig Salming, Sundqvist swiped it through his pads at 2:07.
The Swedes took the lead for good at 3:48 When Mats Lindh scored on a 3-on-2 break after Serge Savard’s cross-ice pass was intercepted by Thommy Abrahamsson near the red line.
At 7:22, Bobby Clarke and Dan Soderstrom took coincidental minors for roughing. The ploy worked to the Swedes benefit as the Canadian defenders were having a difficult time covering the wider zones.
Inge Hammerstrom took a pass in the circle, split two Canadian defenders, then snapped a low wrist shot that beat Dryden to his stick side at 8:01. 3-1 Sweden.
Ahlberg made the score 4-1 at 14:22 with a shot from the high slot that knuckle-balled and disappeared between Dryden’s pads before he could trap the puck.
The Swedes were on the verge of pulling off a blowout. When Henderson was sent off the ice for holding at 2:17, Team Sweden’s power play struck. Ahlberg tallied his second goal at 3:59 with a wrist shot that squirted between Dryden’s right skate and the goal post.
Despite trailing 5-1, Team Canada rallied in the third period. Bill White one-timed a slap shot from the point that deflected off of Christer Abrahamsson’s skate and onto Phil Esposito’s blade. Esposito flipped the puck into the net at 6:50.
Cournoyer cut the deficit to 5-3 at 12:16. Taking a pass from defenseman Serge Savard near the corner, he deked around one defenseman and fired a shot that deflected off Abrahamsson’s pads into the net.
The Canadians managed to pull within a goal at 17:11 when the Swedish goalie made an error. With the Canadians changing lines on the fly, forward J.P. Parise fired a long slap from the point that Abrahamsson misjudged and let slip between his skates.
Team Canada pulled Dryden off the ice at 19:11 for a sixth skater, but couldn’t generate any offense. Dan Soderstrom picked up a loose puck in his corner, then darted a pass up to Tord Lundstrom at the blue line, who fed the puck to a streaking Ahlberg. The Swedish forward was all-alone when he shot into the open net to put the game away at 6-4.
A distraught Henderson did not take any solace in the third period comeback.
“We should never have let ourselves into this position,” he said. “After dominating them for four straight periods, maybe we let our guard down.”
Team Canada wraps up its European exhibition tour with a game in Prague, Czechoslovakia tomorrow night.
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