Game Four: Canada Booed Off Ice

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 earlier.

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 mid-period tally.

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.

1972 Summit Series.com: Game Four Box Score
 Sept. 8, 1972 -  USSR 5 - Canada 3
First Period 
1-USSR
Mikhailov (Lutchenko, Petrov) 2:01 (PP)
2-USSR Mikhailov (Lutchenko, Petrov) 7:29 (PP)
Penalties:
Goldsworthy (cross checking) 1:24, Goldsworthy (elbowing) 5:58, P. Esposito (tripping) 19:29

Second Period
 
3-Canada Perreault 5:37
4-USSR Blinov (Petrov, Mikhailov) 6:34
5-USSR Vikulov (Kharlamov, Maltsev) 13:52
Penalties: Kuzkin (tripping) 8:39

Third Period
 
6-Canada Goldsworthy (P. Esposito, Bergman) 6.54
7-USSR Shadrin (Yakushev, Vasiliev) 11:05
8-Canada D. Hull (P. Esposito) 19:38
Penalties:
Petrov (holding) 2:01

Shots on Goal:
Soviet Union: 
  11  14  6 -  31
Canada:            10   8 23 -  41

Goalies: 
Tretiak (38/41) 60 minutes, 3 goals against
Dryden (26/31) 60 minutes, 5 goals against

Game MVPs:
 
USSR - Mikhailov
Canada - P. Esposito

Attendance
15,570 (Vancouver)

Players on ice
Canada:
  Bergman, Stapleton, Park, Ellis, P. Esposito, Gilbert, Goldsworthy, D. Hull, Hadfield, Cournoyer, Seiling, White, Henderson, Awrey, F. Mahovlich, Clarke, Perreault

Soviet Union: Lutchenko, Kuzkin, Ragulin, Vasiliev, Tsygankov, Blinov, Maltsev, Mikhailov, Yakushev, Petrov, Kharlamov, Vikukov, Shadrin, Anisin, Lebedev, Bodunov, Paladiev

 

Photo Feature

Phil Esposito's famous rant followed the disappointing performance in game 4 (Photo courtesy CNNSI.com). 

1972 Summit Series Games

Game One
Game Two
Game Three
Game Four
Game Five
Game Six
Game Seven
Game Eight

 

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Canada's Team of the Century
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