September 13, 1984 — Calgary, Canada
The moral of the story was: make sure never to do anything to upset the Soviet national ice hockey team. The USA had the temerity to beat the vaunted team at the 1980 Olympics, but from that moment until the playoff round of the 1984 Canada Cup, the famed CCCP team did not lose a single game, including three perfect records at the World Championship in 1981, 1982, and 1983, as well as the 1984 Olympics. The team had also won the 1981 Canada Cup, demolishing Canada 8-1 at the Montreal Forum in the finals, and in 1984, they were well on their way to another international whitewash.
The Soviets stormed through the Canada Cup round robin, winning all five games and outscoring their opponents 22-7. Canada, meanwhile, looked hot and cold, winning only two of five games and losing two (with one tie), including a 6-3 loss to the Soviets. Canada was not even close to match the Big Red Machine in the game, played on an NHL-sized rink in Edmonton.
The records of the two teams set up a semi-final showdown between Canada and the CCCP team in Calgary, a match-up fans loved but had hoped would wait until the finals. Pete Peeters was the Canadian goalie for that all-important game, and Vladimir Myshkin was in the nets for the Soviets.
A tense opening period yielded no goals, and John Tonelli got the only goal of the second. Canada outshot the Soviets 17-6 in that period, though, and Myshkin’s great play gave the Soviets hope. They came out flying in the third, and Sergei Svetlov and Sergei Makarov scored in the opening seven minutes to give the Soviets a 2-1 lead. Defenceman Doug Wilson tied the game for Canada on a pass from Wayne Gretzky with just over six minutes to play, and the game went into overtime.
Igor Larionov took a penalty early in the fourth period, but Canada failed to score. It wasn’t until 12:29 that the tension turned to delirium for fans at the Saddledome and across Canada.
But it all started with one of the greatest defensive plays by a defenseman – who was known for his offense. Twelve minutes into the OT-period, the Soviets suddenly emerged on a two-on-one break where Vladimir Kovin carried the puck and attempted to feed Mikhail Varnakov. The Soviets were usually deadly on an odd-man rush but Kovin’s pass was read perfectly by the offensive minded Paul Coffey who went down on his knees and intercepted the puck. Not only did Coffey steal the pass, he immediately started a counter attack, and after getting the return pass from John Tonelli inside the Soviet blueline, Coffey shot from the point.
Mike Bossy was positioned in front of Myshkin, but he had little clue that the puck deflected off his stick and into the net. Canada escaped with a 3-2 win. It went on to beat Sweden 2-0 in the best-of-three finals, but the victory over the Soviets thanks to Bossy’s dramatics remain the more compelling image from that tournament. Four years of Soviet perfection ended in stinging defeat.
As part of the IIHF's 100th anniversary celebrations, www.IIHF.com is featuring the 100 top international hockey stories from the past century (1908-2008). Starting now and continuing through the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Canada, we will bring you approximately three stories a week counting down from Number 100 to Number 11.
The Final Top 10 Countdown will be one of the highlights of the IIHF's Centennial Gala Evening in Quebec City on May 17, the day prior to the Gold Medal Game of the 2008 World Championship.
These are the criteria for inclusion on this list: First, the story has to have had a considerable influence on international hockey. Second, it has to have had either a major immediate impact or a long-lasting significance on the game. Third, although it doesn't necessarily have to be about top players, the story does have to pertain to the highest level of play, notably Olympics, World Championships, and the like. The story can be about a single moment — a goal, a great save, a referee's call — or about an historic event of longer duration — a game, series, tournament, or rule change.
Click here for the 100 Top Stories