Crushed the Canadians, scoring 5 goals from 11 shots! The last victory of the USSR in the legendary Super Series
49 years ago, the Super Series between the national teams of the USSR and Canada was loudly going around the world – the first ever clash of two great hockey powers. In the first half of September, the games were held in four Canadian cities: Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. The Soviet national team lost in these matches only once (1: 4 in the meeting No. 2), one of the matches ended in a draw (4: 4), and the Russians also won two victories, including the legendary Canadian tearing in the very first match, which took place in Montreal ” Forum “.
After the Canadian part of the Super Series, both teams got about two weeks to rest and move to the other end of the world – to Moscow. For the first time, the players of the “maple leaf” national team were in the capital of the communist world, and their emotions and feelings from this visit eventually became a separate chapter of the cult confrontation.
The Canadian national team arrived in Moscow on the evening of September 20, and already on the 22nd went to the ice of the Luzhniki Sports Palace for the fifth Super Series match. About 3 thousand Canadian fans arrived in Moscow, who stood out brightly against the background of Soviet spectators, and representatives of the ruling elite of the USSR, headed by Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev, watched the game from the VIP box of the stadium .
Even before the starting whistle, there was a famous embarrassment. Before the first meeting at Luzhniki, the Canadians were presented with flowers. Phil Esposito received his bouquet from a little Russian girl. And when a performance was performed under the arches of the Sports Palace: “Number 7, Phil Esposito”, he tried to go to the center of the site and wave a bouquet to the audience. However, several flowers from the bouquet fell under his skates, he stumbled and found himself on the fifth point. With such an epic fall, the first Moscow match of the cult confrontation began.
“I got up and bowed to the Russian audience, but they started laughing. Then I looked around and saw Brezhnev on the podium. I looked him straight in the eyes, and when I saw that he was looking at me, I blew him a kiss, ”the legendary Canadian recalled.
Until the third period, the USSR national team did not play well. Canada opened the scoring at the end of the first segment ( Jean-Paul Parise scored ), and then, thanks to the washers of Clark and Henderson, the score became 3: 0 in favor of the “maple leaves”. The Canadians have not yet received such an advantage during the matches of this Super Series, and before the last period they radiated self-confidence.
“No, it won’t be difficult for us to keep the lead. Now the usual adrenaline has begun to act on us: you don’t feel tired when three thousand fans cheer you up like crazy, ”- said goalkeeper Ken Dryden (he remained in reserve for that match) in an interview with Canadian television during the second half-time.
However, even before the match, the Soviet coach Kulagin argued that the Canadian pros were not enough for all three periods. And, as it turned out, the analysis of our specialist turned out to be more accurate than Dryden’s bravado – in the final twenty minutes Soviet hockey players simply crushed Canada, and Dryden’s colleague Tony Esposito managed to miss 5 goals from 11 shots!
The powerful comeback began with a goal by Yuri Blinov in the 4th minute of the period. And although Henderson quickly scored a double and restored the difference in the score, the USSR national team, which felt a surge of strength, could no longer be stopped. In the 50th minute of the match, Anisin and Shadrin scored twice within eight seconds, and soon defender Alexander Gusev made the score 4: 4!
As a result, the Canadians had no strength left even to keep the draw. In the 55th minute Vikulov, having beautifully won a single combat in the corner of a foreign zone, went one-on-one with Esposito and calmly outplayed the goalkeeper. 5: 4 – the third victory of the USSR national team in the Super Series, which actually guaranteed the final victory for the Russians. The realization of this fact upset Canadian coach Harry Sinden so much that he did not show up for the post-match press conference.
The Soviet national team in the remaining three matches on their ice had only one point left to secure the victory in the Super Series. But … The wards of Bobrov and Kulagin could not solve this problem, which seemed so simple, and lost three fights, all with a difference of one goal. And that game, which took place on September 22, 1972, remained in history as the date of the last victory of the USSR national team in the legendary confrontation with the founders of hockey.