Summit Series Game 5: Canadian collapse in Moscow makes clear the Soviets are ‘the better team’

Editor’s notice: This story was initially printed in the Star on Sept. 23, 1972, following Canada’s 5-4 loss in Moscow to the Soviets the day earlier than, and is a half of Summit Series At 50 — celebrating the 50th anniversary of the long-lasting eight-game hockey sequence between the Soviet Union and Canada.

MOSCOW — If Team Canada ever was going to beat the Soviet Union Nationals, last night was the time to do it. And the touring Canadian execs simply weren’t equal to the duty of doing it.

They got here close, mind you. The big-leaguers owned a 4-1 lead over the Soviets with 15 minutes to go and as a lot as that point had been by far the superior side. But they still wound up on the quick end of a 5-4 final score.

Now the comrades are in strong management of hockey’s first World Series, having won three and tied one of many 5 matches performed thus far. Future video games are scheduled for tomorrow evening and Tuesday and Thursday of subsequent week.

“Now we know who’s the better staff,” mentioned Canada’s Phil Esposito, who was completely flabbergasted by the Soviet blitzkrieg which turned a three-goal deficit into victory within a little more than 5 minutes of the ultimate period.

The audience of 17,000 on the Moscow Sports Palace included three of the Soviet Union’s most essential statesmen. President Nikolai Podgorny, Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin and Leonid Brezhnev, common secretary of the Communist Party.

They sat in stony silence whereas the Canucks checked diligently, with a man on high of each Soviet skater any time he tried to move. The armour wasn’t totally free of clinks. Mind you. But each time a Soviet cracked by way of, goalkeeper Tony Esposito was simply magnificent.

But the gang got here to life and so did the politicians at about the identical time the Soviet gamers did. They appeared to collect pace while the Canadians backed off, in an apparent attempt to guard their margin.

At that time, the Soviets started to maneuver by way of Canada’s defences at will.

Coach Harry Sinden did not order a change in strategy. And the players didn’t really feel that they had grown weary. The reply is obvious: The Soviets obtained better.

That’s exactly the best way their coach Vsevolod Bobrov noticed it.

“We have been significantly improved in the third period,” he mentioned, “and we thought the Canadians spent a nice deal of their power within the first and second periods.

“During that point, I thought the Canadians performed better hockey than that they had carried out at any time during this sequence.”

“We didn’t run out of gas. We simply retreated right into a shell and that’s fatal towards the Russians,” defenceman Gary Bergman stormed.

“We’d played good hockey for two intervals. We had these guys and we let them off the hook. Cripes, we must always have been going for an 8-1 win as a substitute of attempting to hold onto what we had.”

“Harry told us to go for more goals and I don’t assume we had been tired. At least I wasn’t,” said Bobby Clarke. “So how are you going to explain it. You simply tighten up instinctively.”

Jean-Paul Parise got the first goal for Canada, firing a perfect drive after Gilbert Perreault’s stickhandling had mesmerized the Soviet defence.

Clarke and Paul Henderson counted in the second period, which was Canada’s best.

And on the end of 40 minutes, Tony Esposito had turned apart all 22 U.S.S.R. photographs, including two at very close vary.

And because the third period began, the Canadians and their supporters had begun to determine that the alibi they’d used most regularly had been appropriate — that Team Canada had merely been in poor situation during the first 4 games in Canada and was asserting its correct superiority now that the skaters were correctly in shape.

Henderson was knocked unconscious in the center interval when he slid into the boards but he was back within the third and, on a Clarke setup, cancelled an earlier rating by the Soviets’ Yuri Blinov.

That was close to the five-minute mark and it seemed to ensure a Canadian win, tying the general collection depend towards the Soviets.

But Vyacheslav Anisin and Vladimir Shadrin scored in an eight-second interval, Alexander Gusev tied it greater than two minutes later and Vladimir Vikulov potted the winner, at 14:46, getting unfastened from Rod Seiling and stepping in alone on Esposito.

Esposito and Henderson have been selected as Canada’s greatest workmen but there have been many others deserving of such a designation in a really splendid night of hockey.

Bill White and Pat Stapleton have been glorious on defence and Ron Ellis did an intensive job of checking essentially the most dangerous U.S.S.R. participant, Valery Kharlamov.

A last word for the Soviet goalie, Vladislav Tretiak. Marvellous. He stopped 33 Canadian pictures and was particularly good on a Frank Mahovlich breakaway, on a quantity of chances throughout a Soviet penalty after the rating was 5-4 and on an Yvan Cournoyer breakthrough just because the match was ending.

What actually happened?

The Russians performed with uncharacteristic sloppiness within the first two intervals, perhaps on account of Canadian stress, but additionally because it was simply an off-night for them. They weren’t skating nicely.

In short, they were not enjoying their normal sport. When they lastly started to take action, sad to say, this was strictly no contest, Canada didn’t get the puck any extra.

More from Summit Series At 50:

Summit Series Game 4: Canadians hit all-time low vs. Soviets as boos rain down in Vancouver

Summit Series Game 3: Canadians tie Soviets, but there’s little doubt they lost one thing too

Summit Series Game 2: Canada shows why they’re the NHL stars, night collection vs. Soviets

Summit Series Game 1: Soviets embarrass Canadians on house ice — and show how the sport should be played

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