Canada

Summit Series Game 7: Henderson strikes again, but there’s a storm brewing

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the Star on Sept. 27, 1972, following Canada’s 4-3 win in Moscow the day before, and is part of Summit Series At 50 — celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic eight-game hockey series between the Soviet Union and Canada.

MOSCOW—The great refereeing dispute has broken out again with both Team Canada and Soviet Union hockey officials threatening to boycott the deciding eighth game of their international series unless they get their way.

The game is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. EDT tomorrow.

The Soviets are insisting they have the choice of naming the referees for the game and have nominated West Germany’s Josef Kompalla and Franz Baader.

These two were the object of vehement criticism and charges of incompetence by the Canadians following the sixth game, won 3-2 by Canada.

Team Canada spokesperson Alan Eagleson announced Monday night that an agreement had been reached with the Soviet federation to use Sweden’s Ove Dahlberg and Rudy Batja of Czechoslovakia for the two remaining games. The Russians insist that deal covered only the seventh game yesterday, won by Team Canada 4-3.

Paul Henderson of the Toronto Maple Leafs scored what he called “the greatest goal of my life” to give Team Canada the win. It came at 17:54 of the final period and tied the series, three wins each with one game tied.

A summit meeting of Canadian and Soviet officials adjourned this afternoon with no resolution of the refereeing dispute in sight.

“We may get together again later tonight,” said Joe Kryczka, president of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association.

Team Canada coaches Harry Sinden and John Ferguson, Eagleson and Kryczka were summoned to a meeting with the Russians at noon, Moscow time, shortly after Sinden had announced two lineup changes for tomorrow’s game.

The celebration was over the top in Moscow after Paul Henderson, bottom, who scored the Game 7 winner for Canada late in the third period, tying the Summit Series on Sept. 26, 1972.

Frank Mahovlich will replace Bill Goldsworthy as a spare forward and, as previously announced, Dryden will be in goal, backed by Tony Esposito, who played yesterday.

Soviet federation vice-president Kirill Romanski and coaches Vsevolod Bobrov and Boris Kulagin represented their side. Federation president Andrei Starovoltov is in Vienna attending meetings.

Prior to the latest break in hockey diplomatic relations, Sinden had described tomorrow’s game as “the most exciting ever played.”

By scoring his dramatic goal yesterday, Henderson set up tomorrow’s match as the decisive one in this mythical world championship.

Czechoslovakia holds the official world title of amateur hockey, having defeated the Soviet Union 3-2 in Prague last spring. Team Canada plays the Czechs in Prague Saturday.

No official titles of any kind are at stake in Team Canada games. Members of the International Ice Hockey Federation, such has the Soviets and Czechs, are permitted to engage in exhibitions against professionals without jeopardizing their amateur standing but they cannot compete in official tournaments or games.

Henderson, who is the leading goal scorer in the series with six, said: “They’ve been the six most satisfying goals of my entire hockey career. And this one has to be the greatest of all … ”

However, with the clubs playing five aside because of major penalties for roughing to Gary Bergman and Boris Mikhailov, Serge Savard found Henderson flying up centre with deft pass. It didn’t look like a particularly dangerous thrust because the Soviets had both defencemen back.

“I tried to tap the puck between some guy’s (Gennadiy Tsygankov) legs and it deflected off his skate and past him,” Henderson said. “I slipped around him and was in the clear.”

“I can remember thinking I’d have to get the puck upstairs — up high, you know — because the goalie was sliding out in a crouch.

“Hell, I didn’t see it go in. I was down on the ice. I fell down or something.”

“The defenceman tripped you just as you were shooting,” Frank Mahovlich put in.

“Anyway, I was looking hopefully for the red light to come on,” Henderson continued. “It didn’t for the longest time and then it was on and off very quickly. I had a horrible idea for an instant that they weren’t going to let it count.”

Many of Henderson’s teammates had the same opinion. They poured onto the ice and into the goal area. One climbed right over the nets to get into the middle of things. Bergman burst out of the penalty box, but an alert colleague rushed over and shooed him back in.

But there was no argument. Referee Batja had signalled a goal as soon as Henderson’s drive skipped the goalie’s shoulder.

Batja and Dahlberg officiated wisely, a refreshing change from Sunday evening’s fiasco. They gave Canada 10 minor penalties to the Soviets’ six, but they managed to control things by giving three double majors, an acknowledgment at least that there are infractions on both sides.

Phil Esposito shot the first two goals for Team Canada, but his contributions went far beyond those statistics. He killed most of the penalty time and played more than half the game, centring two sets of wingers: Jean-Paul Parise and Yvan Cournoyer, and Pete Mahovlich and Goldsworthy.

His finest moments, however, came near the end of the second period when Canada was down to four men. He controlled the puck for almost the entire 110 seconds this crisis went on.

Rod Gilbert got the third Canadian goal, breaking a 2-2 stalemate in the third minute of the final period.

Yakushev’s second goal, which tied the score, and Petrov’s came during Canadian penalties. Canada’s power play was blanked again.

Tony Zero made superb stops all evening, but especially in the second period, which was scoreless. He took goals from Boris Mikhailov, Yuri Lyapkin and Alexander Maltsev and whoever blasted a whistling low drive that nobody saw except Esposito himself at the last possible instant.

Then in the concluding moments, after Henderson’s go-ahead goal, Esposito had to make tremendous stops on the ever-dangerous Yakushev and on Valery Vasiliev with a screaming blast from the point.

“I think the real story of the game,” Esposito said, “is that this team is just beginning to come around. We got off to a bad start in the series because, let’s face it, we weren’t ready. We weren’t in the best of shape. Now we’re getting there and the tide has turned.”

More from Summit Series At 50:

Summit Series Game 6: Ken Dryden alters style, Canada finds new life in Moscow

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

Summit Series Game 4: Canadians hit rock bottom vs. Soviets as boos rain down in Vancouver

Summit Series Game 3: Canadians tie Soviets, but there’s no doubt they lost something too

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

Summit Series Game 1: Soviets embarrass Canadians on home ice — and demonstrate how the game should be played

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