Who knows how history might have changed had Soviet coach Vsevelod Bobrov been able to ice the lineup he wanted for Game Four.
In Winnipeg, he had hoped to start backup goalie Viktor Zinger, but Zinger was fighting the flu and was unable to play. Again this night in Vancouver, Zinger was supposed to start, but he was still too weak. Tretyak started again and was sensational.
For whatever reason, Canada started the game in an ornery mood, one marked by many, many cheap shots which the Soviets received without retaliating. Bill Goldsworthy, in the lineup for the first time since Game Two, took two senseless penalties early in the game, and the Soviets capitalized on both.
And so Canada fell behind 2-0, a deficit it couldn’t overcome. Worse, Dryden struggled and the fans started to boo, first with impatience, then with anger. The Soviets dominated the first period and were full measure for their 2-0 lead. Canada’s best chances to get into the game came early in the second.
Newcomer Gilbert Perreault went end-to-end on a dash, and as he ran out of room he slipped the puck in front of the Soviet goal. It hit defenceman Alexander Ragulin and went past Tretyak to make it a 2-1 game.
Moments later, Ron Ellis made a great rush and was stopped by Tretyak, who slid well out of his crease and lost control of the puck. But Gennadi Tsygankov checked Bobby Clarke inches from the goal line before the Canadian could slide the puck into the open net to tie the game. The play was soon followed by a third Soviet goal. Pat Stapleton lost the puck at the Soviet blue line and Vladimir Petrov broke out with Yuri Blinov on a two-on-one. They converted the play perfectly for a 3-1 lead.
If Canada were going to get back into the game, a sequence of plays a short time later decided matters. Phil Esposito set up Yvan Cournoyer for two breakaways in a matter of seconds, but Tretyak was there to make the save on both occasions. The result was never in doubt after that.
In the third period the booing by the fans in Vancouver intensified with every missed pass by the Canadians, every good piece of forechecking by the Soviets, and every play that indicated this would be a bad loss for the home side.
Canada did make it a 4-2 game when Phil Esposito’s long shot rang off the crossbar and Goldsworthy knocked in the rebound. Initially “Espo” was credited with the goal, and things were so bad that when the P.A. announcer corrected the scoring and gave the goal to Goldsworthy, the crowd booed lustily.
After the game, Phil Esposito was interviewed on ice by Johnny Esaw, the boos very much fresh in his mind. He spoke what he felt, and “the speech” became a turning point in every living room across the country and underscored the growing importance of the series.
“To the people across Canada, we tried,” he said, sweating profusely, angry, defiant, proud. “We gave it our best. For the people that boo us, geez…all of us guys are really disheartened, and we’re disillusioned, and we’re disappointed in some of the people. We cannot believe the bad press we’ve got…the booing we’ve gotten in our own buildings…I cannot believe it! Some of our guys are really, really down in the dumps…Every one of us guys, 35 guys that came out and played for Team Canada, we did it because we love our country and not for any other reason, no other reason…And I don’t think it’s fair that we should be booed.”
01:24 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Goldsworthy, cross checking
02:01 – 🇷🇺 PP GOAL – Mikhailov (Lutchenko, Petrov)
05:58 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Goldsworthy, elbowing
07:29 – 🇷🇺 PP GOAL – Mikhailov (Lutchenko, Petrov)
19:29 – 🇨🇦 PEN – P. Esposito, tripping
25:37 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Perreault
26:34 – 🇷🇺 GOAL – Blinov (Petrov, Mikhailov)
28:39 – 🇷🇺 PEN – Kuzkin, tripping
33:52 – 🇷🇺 GOAL – Vikulov (Kharlamov, Maltsev)
42:01 – 🇷🇺 PEN – Petrov, holding
46:54 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Goldsworthy (P. Esposito, Bergman)
51:05 – 🇷🇺 GOAL – Shadrin (Yakushev, Vasiliev)
59:38 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Hull (P. Esposito)
W: 🇷🇺 Tretyak (38-41)
L: 🇨🇦 Dryden (26-31)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇷🇺 11+14+6 = 31
🇨🇦 10+8+23 = 41
🇷🇺 Goaltenders: Vladislav Tretyak, Viktor Zinger. Defence: Viktor Kuzkin, Vladimir Lutchenko, Yevgeni Paladiev, Alexander Ragulin, Gennadi Tsygankov, Valery Vasiliev. Forwards: Vyacheslav Anisin, Yuri Blinov, Alexander Bodunov, Valeri Kharlamov, Yuri Lebedev, Alexander Maltsev, Boris Mikhailov (C), Vladimir Petrov, Vladimir Shadrin, Vladimir Vikulov, Alexander Yakushev.
🇨🇦 Goaltenders: Ken Dryden, Eddie Johnston. Defence: Don Awrey, Gary Bergman, Brad Park, Rod Seiling, Pat Stapleton, Bill White. Forwards: Bobby Clarke, Yvan Cournoyer, Ron Ellis, Phil Esposito (A), Rod Gilbert, Bill Goldsworthy, Vic Hadfield, Paul Henderson, Dennis Hull, Frank Mahovlich (A), Gilbert Perreault.
|🇷🇺 SOVIET UNION||vs.||CANADA (C) 🇨🇦|
(previous 04 Sep 1972)
(since 04 Sep 1972)
(+ 3 ties)
|First IHLC Meeting (URS vs. CAN)
🇷🇺 URS 7-2 CAN 🇨🇦 – 07 Mar 1954 – WC – Stockholm 🇸🇪
|Previous IHLC Meeting (URS vs. CAN)
🇨🇦 CAN 4-4 URS 🇷🇺 – 06 Sep 1972 – SS – Winnipeg 🇨🇦
|Last IHLC Game
🇨🇦 CAN 4-4 URS 🇷🇺 – 06 Sep 1972 – SS – Winnipeg 🇨🇦
|Next IHLC Game
🇷🇺 URS 5-4 CAN 🇨🇦 – 22 Sep 1972 – SS – Moscow 🇷🇺
Article Credit: IIHF
Photo Credit: Team Canada 1972: The Official 40th Anniversary Celebration – IIHF – HHOF – IOC