After a shocking loss in Montreal and a less than impressive effort in
Winnipeg, it was becoming obvious that Canadian fans were becoming
increasingly frustrated with the results. That would be hammered home by
the end of the night. Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum played host to Game 4,
but it would not be a friendly venue for Team Canada.
Canada, playing without defensive standouts Guy Lapointe and Serge
Savard due to injury, got into penalty trouble early. Bill Goldsworthy,
inserted into the lineup because of his energy and physical play, was too
exuberant and was penalized twice in the opening six minutes. The Soviets
made full advantage of their excellent special teams. Two power-play goals
by Boris Mikhailov gave the powerful Soviets a commanding 2-0 lead early
From that point on it was the Vladislav Tretiak show. Tretiak, quickly
becoming a hero in Canada even though he was the star of the enemy team,
stopped 38 of 41 shots, including 21 in the final period.
Gilbert Perreault scored a beautiful goal to get Canada on the board.
It was ironic that it was Perreault who scored such a wonderful goal in
Vancouver, as Perreault almost became a Vancouver Canuck a couple years
But after Perreault's goal the Soviets answered with two second period
goals of their own. Vladimir Petrov set up Yuri Blinov for a nice goal on
a two-on-one break. Later in the period Vladimir Vikulov capitalized from
the slot while Team Canada's defenders were hopelessly out of position.
Canada played pretty well in the third period, but most of their 21
third period shots were from far out. Two goals by Dennis Hull and the
goat earlier in the game Bill Goldsworthy surrounded Vladimir Shadrin's
The 5-3 score was actually flattering to Canada on this night. Alan
Eagleson honestly admitted "We stunk the joint out."
A crowd of 15,570 Vancouver fans echoed the rest of Canada's sentiments
as they routinely booed Team Canada. At the conclusion of the game, Team
Canada was booed right off the ice, which led to Phil Esposito's famous
emotional outburst on national television.
"To the people across Canada, we tried. We gave it our best. To the
people who booed us, geez, all of us guys are really disheartened. We're
disillusioned and disappointed. We cannot believe the bad press we've got,
the booing we've got in our own building.
"I'm completely disappointed. I cannot believe it. Every one of us guys
-- 35 guys -- we came out because we love our country. Not for any other
reason. We came because we love Canada."
Espo was in disbelief that Canadians would boo their players and that
he assured Canadians that the players were giving "150 percent" and
acknowledge the Soviets as a great team with great players.
This speech seemed to light a fire under Team Canada and the whole
country. It helped to jell a team of players who were together for only a
few weeks, and who were enemies during the NHL season. Team Canada went to
the Soviet Union as a team. And 3,000 boisterous and proud flag waving
Canadian fans accompanied them.