1972 Summit Series 40th Anniversary: Game 5- USSR 5 Canada 4

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Prologue: After game 4 in Vancouver and Phil Esposito's unplanned address to the nation, the two teams left Canada to play the final 4 games of the series in Moscow, but while the Soviets jumped right into a tournament during the break, the Canadians rested for a few days then played 2 exhibition games in Sweden. Along with Phil's speech, these games are credited by some as the spark that helped Team Canada refocus their energy. The Canadians won the first game 4-1, and the 2nd ended in a 4-4 tie. The referees in these matches? Josef Kampala and Franz Baader. Remember those names, kids. Those two will figure very prominently in the series down the road. The pair of games against the Swedes were instrumental in helping bring the Canadian squad together as a team, through some bonding during their off time, and an incident during the 2nd game. Canada's Wayne Cashman was highsticked in the mouth by Sweden's Ulf Sterner. Kampala and Baader didn't make a call on the play, which saw Cashman require 50 stitches to his tongue. He would miss the remaining games in Moscow thanks to the injury. The bad blood boiled over following that period, leading to a near brawl between the two teams outside their dressing rooms that had to be broken up by police. The Swedish press blamed everything on the Canadians, and in turn the Canadian press once again brought out the knives. They were really up against it now. Anything less than winning 3 of the 4 games in Moscow would see the Soviets claim victory. Revitalized, and finally feeling not just in game shape but like a true team, the Canadians, along with a boisterous crowd of 3,000 Canadian hockey fans went to Moscow to take on the Red Menace. The game summary continues after the jump...

Venue: Luzhniki Ice Palace, Moscow, USSR

Attendance: 14,000

Series: 1-2-1

As with the first four games of the series (covered so well by Mr. Zandberg) I am doing the writeup as I watch the games on DVD. This game, along with all the odd-numbered games in the series was broadcast nationally on CTV (the even-numbered games were on CBC) and all games featured the legendary Foster Hewitt on play by play, with Brian Conacher once again doing the colour commentary. As mentioned, Team Canada had lost Wayne Cashman for the remainder of the series, but it was a role player that would really emerge in these 4 games for Canada, stepping up and playing some incredibly heroic hockey over the final 4 games. More on that later. Meanwhile, in the heart of Communist Russia, Canada was ready for battle to decide hockey supremacy. With Leonid Brezhnev in the audience, Game 5 was underway.

First Period:

Tony Esposito in goal for Team Canada, and once again, the legendary Vladislav Tretiak for the Soviets. (I actually was within 100 feet of Tretiak once. While in Calgary for the '88 Olympics, I was in the Bay looking for a Jamaican Bobsled Team shirt {Don't judge me} and I took a wrong turn, ending up in an area that was closed off, to allow Tretiak to sign autographs. My attempts to get closer were stopped by a rather burly Russian man, who 'guided' me away from there...) During the introductions, Phil Esposito unwittingly provides a tension breaker, falling on his ass to the delight of the crowd. Esposito without blinking took a bow as though he'd planned the spill, immediately endearing himself to the Russians (for the time being, at least).

Another gift exchange after the introductions. The President of the IIHF is booed. The first 'Go Canada Go' cheer is heard before the pucks even dropped. Ulf Dahlberg (Sweden) and Rudolf Bata (Czechoslovakia) are the officials. Bobby Clarke's line with Paul Henderson and Ron Ellis start for Canada. Kharlamov has a chance early but is taken out easily by Pat Stapleton (sporting an amazing version of helmet-hair). Lazy play by Rod Gilbert leads to an early chance for the Soviets, but nothing comes of it.

Alexander Martynyuk made his only appearance of the series in game 5, and nearly opened the scoring early in the first. Martynyuk was alone beside the Canadian net and bobbled a hard pass from Yakushev, missing what could have been an easy tap-in on Esposito. First penalty of the game goes to the Canadians, Ron Ellis for tripping. The Russian power play is buzzing, but can't get anything dangerous as the Canadians start to show signs of adjusting to the difference in ice size. They focus on keeping a tight box formation during the kill, forcing the Russians to shoot from the outside.

The series is starting to become more physical, and the Russian fans react very negatively to even the most incidental contact. The Soviets, to their credit, show little sign of backing down from the physicality, but it will begin to take a toll on them as the series goes on. Another Soviet chance wasted, as the players in front chose to attempt another pass instead of shooting (deja-vu eh, Canucks fans?), and it's broken up by the Canadian defence. The Soviets get a 2 on 1, and this time Mikhailov chooses to shoot, but Esposito comes out to cut down the angle and gets an arm on it.

Phil Esposito is once again a force to be reckoned with, the Soviet defence struggling to contain him as he drives to the net, and he has a couple good chances. Henderson breaks in, and is clearly hooked before he can shoot, but no call is made. Likewise, the Canadians are continuing to have difficulty containing Valeri Kharlamov, and he rips a shot, forcing a nice glove save from Tony O. Frank Mahovolich breaks in alone after the face off and forces Tretiak to make his toughest save of the period. The back and forth nature of this game continues, as Shadrin rings one off the post a short time later.

Kharlamov takes a slashing penalty, giving the Canadians a chance to put their power play to work. I'd tell you how the power play looked, but you miss a good chunk of it thanks to the intermittent interruptions of the sketchy 1972 satellite feed. Yvon Cournoyer has a good chance, and Bill White bobbles the puck near the Soviet goal similar to Martynyuk's early chance. Canada breaks the scoreless tie not long after the Soviets kill off the penalty though, as Gilbert Perrault sets up JP Parise with a beaut of a drop pass, and Parise snaps a quick wrister between the legs of Tretiak for the 1-0 lead.

Henderson makes a great play chasing in for a puck, as he shields it from the Soviet defender, and fires a pass to Ron Ellis, but Tretiak was there to make the save. He'd make a couple more big ones before the end of the period. After a slow start, the Canadians are beginning to look more like they're capable of going toe to toe with this Soviet team. Both teams had great chances at the end of the period, including Pat Stapleton bailing out Esposito with seconds left, stopping a puck under his shinpads just before it crossed the goal line with mere seconds left.

Second Period

Tretiak stops an early shot in the slot and appears to be hurt as it catches him up high, but he stays in. Canada makes it 2-0, Bobby Clarke catching Tretiak sitting deep in the goal off a face off in the Soviet end, and Clarke works the give and go with Paul Henderson, the shot once again going 5-hole on the Soviet keeper. Ellis & Kharlamov get tangled up, and the officials send them both off, Ellis for slashing, Kharlamov for holding. That's a trade off I would make any day of the week. A little 4 on 4 hockey, and Cournoyer nearly makes it 3-0 as he steals the puck and nearly jams it past Tretiak.

Mikhailov and Petrov have a 2 on 1, but Tony O is up to the challenge, and Perrault has a couple chances just as the players return to the ice, but a Gary Bergman crosscheck puts the Soviets back on the man advantage. The Canadian PK does a decent job of keeping the Soviets on the perimeter, and Esposito makes a couple good saves to kill off Bergman's penalty.

Henderson scores to make it 3-0 during an ill-timed commercial break, the goal assisted by Guy Lapointe and Bobby Clarke. The replay is a bit sketchy, but it looked like Henderson banged home a rebound after a point shot from a pinching Lapointe.

The Henderson-Clarke-Ellis line nearly scores again, and then after the play goes back up the ice, Henderson gets a breakaway, but is hacked down by the Soviet defender and he slides awkwardly into the boards, hitting his head hard, and had to be helped off the ice. This series couldn't have possibly turned out the way it did had Henderson decided to listen to Team Canada's doctors, who were telling the obviously concussed Henderson he couldn't return to the ice. A late Soviet 3 on 1 chance is called down on the offside, and the Canadians, who had seemed in control for most of the game start giving the Soviets a little more room out there, forcing Tony Esposito to make some timely saves. The period ends with Bill White and Yuri Blinov assessed slashing penalties as time expires.

Third Period

You really couldn't ask for a better start to the game from Team Canada. Through 2 periods they've done a fabulous job of neutralizing the Soviets' speed, and when they did get chances, Tony Esposito was there to make the save. Despite the relatively close number of shots by the two teams, the Canadians were definitely the better squad over the first 40 minutes. 4 on 4 hockey produces nothing of consequence, and Esposito makes a nice save on a Yakushev chance in the slot. The Soviets appear to be slipping into a higher gear now, and it's starting to look a lot like some of the mismatched sequences we saw in the first 4 games back in Canada. They're swarming the net now, and the play is very scrambly. Tretiak makes a massive save as Cournoyer passes to Frank Mahovolich, who comes out front and nearly makes the game 4-0. The enormity of the save becomes evident as the Soviets move up the ice and Blinov holds the puck on a 2 on 1, sliding past Esposito who overplays it, making it 3-1. Stapleton pinched Jovonovski-style and left Blinov to move in on Bill White on the play.

The question now, is how will Team Canada respond? Would you believe a goal from Paul Henderson in his first shift after what seemed to be a game-ending injury? Henderson takes the pass from Clarke and fires a half-slapper past Tretiak on the breakaway, restoring the 3 goal Canadian lead. Tretiak once again is guilty of backing in on the shooter, something he hadn't been doing during the games in Canada. The goal seems to energize the Canadians, but only briefly, as the Soviets begin to come at Esposito in waves. And the Canadians are guilty of chasing the puck carrier and that leaves Vyacheslav Anisin open beside the net, and he deflects a nifty between the legs shot past Esposito to make it 4-2. You probably can't hear it over the boisterous Moscow crowd, but the wheels actually fall off here, as Anisin sets up Shadrin a mere 8 seconds later. This one's all on Esposito, he looks really bad on this one, but really, Shadrin shouldn't have been allowed to just waltz in like that.

The Canadians are reeling as they change ends at the 10 minute mark, and the cool, composed Soviets now seem as cocky and overly confident as the Canadians were earlier in the series. Tsygankov gets tied up with Bobby Clarke and both of them go off, and the Soviets take advantage of the extra room out there to tie the game at 4, on a goal from Alexander Gusev, from Ragulin and Kharlamov. 3 and a half minutes was all they needed to decimate a 3 goal lead. Jean Ratelle goes in alone on Tretiak and beats him, but finds iron.

A Rod Seiling giveaway at the blueline is disastrous as Kharlamov feeds Vikulov and the comeback is complete. A win by the Soviets means that the Canadians must win the last 3 games in order to win the series. Despite blowing this lead, it's evident the Canadians have discovered some chinks in the armour of their opponents, and will look to exploit them in Game 6. The problem for Team Canada is that they're not just battling the Soviets in the next game.

Highlights


And thanks to www.1972summitseries.com, which has the game stats and posted links for the CBC Radio coverage of the game, featuring another legendary play by play man, Bob Cole. Listen here.

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