From time to time, TheIHLC.com will feature detailed recaps and boxscores of some of the most legendary games in international hockey history, considered to be “IHLC Classics.” Today, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, we feature the opening game of the tournament, a stunning Soviet victory in Montréal.
After all the opening spectacle died down, all the commemorative pennants were handed out, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau dropped the puck and the national anthems were sung, hockey fans throughout Canada (and the Western world) were expecting Team Canada, a collective NHL all-star team boasting the likes of Phil Esposito, Frank Mahovlich and Ken Dryden, to put a drubbing on the Soviet team, made up of unheard “amateur” players who played hockey only as part of their army or police service. This was to be an easy sweep for Team Canada, to show the world once and for all who truly owns the game.
Oh, how wrong Canada was. The Soviets were for real, and they proved it with a drubbing of their own, to take Game 1 of the Summit Series, along with the International Hockey Lineal Championship.