Indeed, Canada did in Game Six what it failed to do two days earlier, though only by the skin of its collective teeth. The team gained the lead and held on for the win, scoring three times in 83 seconds in the second period and then checking the Soviets into the ice in the final, scoreless period for a 3-2 win.
But while the team’s performance was overall the most complete and impressive, a new enemy emerged – penalty calls. Canada accrued 31 penalty minutes to just four for the Soviets. More significant, those numbers translated to 15:09 of power play time for the Soviets to only two minutes for Canada. And, included in that power-play time for the Soviets was a two-man advantage for the full two minutes.
It began when Gary Bergman and what he felt was an unwarranted tripping penalty halfway through the opening period. Then, moments after Bergman returned, Esposito earned a double minor deep in the Soviet end, and while he skated off he gave a throat-slashing gesture to Yuri Shatalov in frustration.
These were the only penalties of a physical and goalless first period. Although Canada was short-handed for six full minutes, it survived the test and developed a greater pack mentality against their opponents and officials both. The vocal 3,000 Canadian fans who had made the trek to Moscow, meanwhile, rallied around their heroes with shouts of “Go Canada Go!” that easily drowned out local cheers for the Soviets.
The second period was a veritable array of event and drama. It began with an early goal by Yuri Lyapkin whose low point shot beat Ken Dryden cleanly. Dennis Hull tied the game soon after, though, lifting a rebound off a Rod Gilbert shot over the fallen Tretyak.
This was the first of three goals in just 83 seconds for the Canadians. The go-ahead goal was a succession of three rapid plays. Pat Stapleton took a shot that went just wide, but Red Berenson behind the net quickly passed out in front and Yvan Cournoyer wasted no time in making his quick shot count.
Just seconds later, Henderson skated over the blue line and took a quick slapshot that caught Tretyak off guard, giving Canada a 3-1 lead. Midway through the period, Bobby Clarke was given two minutes and a misconduct for a slash to the ankle of Valeri Kharmalov. The chop didn’t look like much – and the Soviet was back on the ice for the ensuing power play – but it kept Kharmalov out of Game Seven and rendered him ineffective in the grand finale.
Later in the period, assistant coach John Ferguson incurred a bench minor for vociferous complaining of the officiating, and at the same time Phil Esposito clipped Alexander Ragulin with a high stick that drew blood, resulting in a five-minute major. In all, “Espo” accounted for nine short-handed minutes on his own.
The Canadian penalty killing on the two-man disadvantage and combined major to Esposito was nothing short of sensational, and in the third period the Canadians were relentless. There was to be one final test, however, when Ron Ellis drew a late holding call. The penalty killers continued to be the star of the night, and Canada clawed its way back into the series with a tenacious victory.
10:21 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Bergman, tripping
13:11 – 🇨🇦 PEN – P. Esposito, charging double minor
>21:12 – 🇷🇺 GOAL – Lyapkin (Yakushev, Shadrin)
22:09 – 🇷🇺 PEN – Ragulin, interference
25:13 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Hull (Gilbert)
26:21 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Cournoyer (Berenson)
26:36 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Henderson
28:29 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Lapointe, roughing
28:29 – 🇷🇺 PEN – Vasiliev, roughing
30:12 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Clarke, slashing + 10 min. misconduct
37:02 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Hull, slashing
37:11 – 🇷🇺 PP GOAL – Yakushev (Shadrin, Lyapkin)
37:46 – 🇨🇦 PEN – P. Esposito, high sticking major
37:46 – 🇨🇦 PEN – team, bench minor
57:39 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Ellis, holding
W: 🇨🇦 Dryden (27-29)
L: 🇷🇺 Tretyak (19-22)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇨🇦 7+8+8 = 22
🇷🇺 12+8+9 = 29
🇨🇦 Goaltenders: Ken Dryden, Eddie Johnston. Defence: Gary Bergman, Guy Lapointe, Brad Park, Serge Savard, Pat Stapleton, Bill White. Forwards: Red Berenson, Bobby Clarke, Yvan Cournoyer, Ron Ellis, Phil Esposito (A), Rod Gilbert, Paul Henderson, Dennis Hull, Peter Mahovlich, J.P. Parisé, Jean Ratelle (A).
🇷🇺 Goaltenders: Alexander Pashkov, Vladislav Tretyak. Defence: Vladimir Lutchenko, Yuri Lyapkin, Alexander Ragulin, Yuri Shatalov, Gennadi Tsygankov, Valery Vasiliev. Forwards: Vyacheslav Anisin, Alexander Bodunov, Valeri Kharlamov, Yuri Lebedev, Alexander Maltsev, Boris Mikhailov (C), Vladimir Petrov, Vladimir Shadrin, Vladimir Vikulov, Alexander Volchkov, Alexander Yakushev.
|🇨🇦 CANADA||vs.||SOVIET UNION (C) 🇷🇺|
(previous 08 Sep 1972)
(since 08 Sep 1972)
(+ 3 ties)
|First IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. URS)
🇷🇺 URS 7-2 CAN 🇨🇦 – 07 Mar 1954 – WC – Stockholm 🇸🇪
|Previous IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. URS)
🇷🇺 URS 5-4 CAN 🇨🇦 – 22 Sep 1972 – SS – Moscow 🇷🇺
|Last IHLC Game
🇷🇺 URS 5-4 CAN 🇨🇦 – 22 Sep 1972 – SS – Moscow 🇷🇺
|Next IHLC Game
🇨🇦 CAN 4-3 URS 🇷🇺 – 26 Sep 1972 – SS – Moscow 🇷🇺
Article Credit: IIHF
Photo Credit: Team Canada 1972: The Official 40th Anniversary Celebration – IIHF – HHOF – IOC