In one of the more bazaar international hockey tournaments in history, the Soviet Union emerged with Gold from the only hockey ever played at the short-lived Goodwill Games, the Olympic alternative brainchild of billionaire Ted Turner, winning 4-3 in a shootout over the home team United States to unify Gold and International Hockey Lineal Championship.
The game started off with turmoil well before the puck drop, with the Soviets playing the tournament without Sergei Fyodorov, the standout 21 year old forward from CSKA Moscow, who snuck out of his hotel during the team’s exhibition game in Portland two weeks earlier, boarded a flight to Detroit, and started his official defection to the United States in to join the Detroit Red Wings. While Fyodorov’s absence would not have an impact on the final score and medal standing, it marked a daring escape in the closing months of the Iron Curtain, which other Soviet stars on this team such as Pavel Bure, Alexei Zhamnov and Valeri Kamenski would eventually make once perestroika collapsed the Soviet Union in 1991.
In a packed Tacoma Dome, filled with the strange visual of spectators clad in shorts and t-shirts, the Soviets opened up the scoring early, with Kamenski whipping a far angle wristshot past Guy Hebert to go ahead 1-0. The Dome was so silent with summer sports fans at points, it seemed you could hear a pin drop, as the Soviets outshot Team USA 13-5 in the first, but only stayed within one goal. However, midway through the third, the Dome was given a reason to get loud, with a pair of one-timers from Tim Sweeney and C.J. Young just 86 seconds apart beating Soviet goalie Artūrs Irbe, to suddenly put the U.S. ahead 2-1.
Kamenski would net his second goal with under five minutes to go to even the game, snapping another ferocious wrist shot over Hebert, but just 33 seconds later, David Emma blocked an Alexei Gusarov point shot, springing him on a breakaway, wiring a wrist shot top corner past Irbe to suddenly put the game at 3-2. While the Americans, outshot and largely outplayed through the rest of the second and most of the third period, tried desperately to hang on to the lead, they fell just 21 seconds short, with Kamenski completing his hat trick with a one-timer from Mikhail Tatarinov to send the game to overtime at 3-3.
Overtime would solve nothing, and while Irbe was successful at stopping all shooters coming his way, goals from both Alexander Semak and Dmytro Khrystych put the Soviets ahead 2-0 after four shooters. Needing to score to stay alive, Irbe knocked Joe Sacco’s puck wide on an excellent poke check to end the game with a come-from-behind victory for the USSR, giving legendary Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov one of his last major tournament victories, and becoming the only hockey champion in the short-lived history of Ted Turner’s experimental Goodwill Games.
With the victory, the Soviets completed a perfect sweep of the Goodwill Games, defeating the U.S., West Germany and Switzerland in the Preliminary Round, and Sweden in the Semifinals en route to their second defeat of the U.S. to capture Gold. The win, the 26th IHLC meeting between the politico-hockey rivals, came during the USSR’s 31st reign with the IHLC, which they won from the U.S. in a pre-tournament exhibition game in Portland, Oregon, following a 3-1 loss to the U.S. the night before in Oakland, California, the Americans’ first win against the Soviets since the “Miracle On Ice” in 1980.
00:45 – PEN – Keczmer, high sticking
04:29 – GOAL – Kamenski (Khrystych, Konstantinov)
15:30 – PEN – Sandelin, cross checking
18:08 – PEN – Konstantinov, high sticking
21:57 – PEN – Zhamnov, tripping
26:23 – GOAL – Sweeney (McNeil, Keczmer)
27:46 – GOAL – Young (Emma)
30:28 – PEN – McNeil, roughing
34:13 – PEN – Byakin, roughing
34:13 – PEN – Nesich, roughing
35:09 – GOAL – Kamenski
35:42 – GOAL – Emma
48:46 – PEN – Byakin, high sticking
51:28 – PEN – Davidson, holding
55:12 – PEN – Tatarinov, roughing
55:12 – PEN – Amonte, roughing
57:41 – PEN – Keczmer, high sticking
57:41 – PEN – Kozlov, high sticking
59:39 – GOAL – Kamenski (Tatarinov, Nemchinov)
66:52 – PEN – Keczmer, delay of game
W: Irbe (18-21)
L: Hebert (41-44)
SHOTS ON GOAL
13+11+12+7+1 = 44
5+5+7+4+0 = 21
Goaltenders: Oleg Bratash, Artūrs Irbe. Defence: Alexei Gusarov, Vladimir Konstantinov (C), Igor Kravchuk, Vladimir Malakohov, Sergei Selyanin, Alexander Smirnov, Mikhail Tatarinov. Forwards: Pavel Bure, Vyacheslav Butsayev, Ilya Byakin, Yevgeni Davydov, Valeri Kamenski, Dmytro Khrystych, Andrei Kovalenko, Andrei Kovalyov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Sergei Nemchinov, Alexander Semak, Alexei Zhamnov.
Goaltenders: Guy Hebert, Ray LeBlanc. Defence: Duane Joyce, Dan Keczmer, Ian Kidd, Todd Richards, Scott Sandelin (A), Paul Stanton, Carl Valimont. Forwards: Tony Amonte, Lee Davidson, David Emma, Scot Harlow, Jim Johansson (C), Steve Johnson, Shawn McEachern, Mike McNeil, Jim Nesich, Joe Sacco, Tim Sweeney, C.J. Young.