Whether they were games featuring Team Canada and the Soviet Union/Russia, only Team Canada or an international clash involving squads from Canada, hockey history is filled with great tilts.
Here are our favourites.
10. 1984 Canada Cup: Sept. 13, 1984, Olympic Saddledome, Calgary.
Moments after he broke up a two-on-one rush, defenceman Paul Coffey fired a point shot that was deflected by Mike Bossy to give Canada a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the Soviet Union in the semifinal.
The Soviet Union was a perfect 5-0 in the round-robin portion of the tournament and was en route to winning a second straight Canada Cup (remember that 8-1 drubbing handed Canada in 1981?), but those hopes were dashed when Doug Wilson scored late in regulation and Bossy netted the winner.
Canada went on to beat Sweden 5-2 and 6-5 in the first two games of the best-of-three final.
9. 2009 world junior championships: Jan. 3, 2009, Scotiabank Place, Ottawa.
There’s something about late-game heroics to make a Canadian hero. Jordan Eberle, the now Edmonton Oilers young star and former Regina Pats standout, scored twice, including the game-tying goal with 5.4 seconds remaining, and also in the shootout to lead Canada to a thrilling 6-5 victory over Russia in the seminal. The Canadians easily handled Sweden in the final — winning by a 5-1 count.
Eberle has shown a knack for coming up with big-game plays. A year later, he scored twice when to erase a 5-3 deficit in the gold-medal game, but the United States won in overtime and snapped Canada’s run of world junior gold at five.
8. 2010 Olympic Winter Games: Feb. 28, 2010, Canada Hockey Place, Vancouver.
Sidney Crosby’s overtime winner was the difference in a 3-2 win over the United States.
The Canadian throttled Russia 7-3 in the quarterfinals and then held on for a 3-2 win over Slovaki in the semifinal before facing their North American rivals in the gold-medal game.
Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry both scored to give Canada a 2-0 lead, but Ryan Kesler put the Americans on the board in the middle of the second period and Zach Parise tied the game with 25 seconds remaining in regulation.
Jarome Iginla set up Crosby for the golden goal, which capped a very successful Olympic Winter Games for Canada on home soil.
7. 1987 world junior championships: Jan. 4, 1987, Piestany, Czechsoslovakia
The punch-up in Piestany. The Cold War was in the early stages of coming to a close, but not between Canada and the USSR on the ice.
From the drop of the puck, there was nastiness, and it finally boiled over late in the second period with a bench clearing brawl. The officials eventually left the ice and tournament officials turned off the lights, but the fighting didn’t stop. When it was over, the IIHF ejected both teams from the tournament. Toronto Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard had specially made gold medals made for the Canadian players.
Interest in the world junior tournament increased the next year.
6. 1972 Summit Series: Sept. 2, 1972, Montreal Forum.
The 1980 Miracle on Ice victory by the U.S. over the Soviet Union was shocking, but even that pales in comparison to the Summit Series opener.
Even though the Soviets had won all kinds of Olympic and world championship titles, the general consensus was the collection of Canada’s NHL standouts would wipe the ice with their “amateur” counterparts.
It didn’t take long to see that wasn’t going to happen. Team Canada stakes an early 2-0 lead, but that was erased before the end of the opening period, and the Soviet Union stormed to a 7-3 thrashing.
Suddenly, the rag-tag looking team from the USSR showed it was a force to reckon with.
5. 1976 Canada Cup: Sept. 15, 1976. Montreal Forum.
After the Summit Series, the next step was a true best-on-best tournament featuring Canada, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Sweden Finland and the United States.
The surprise was a new power from Czechoslovakia, which finished second to Canada in the round-robin, and who became the opposition in the best-of-three final.
The Canadians, who fell 1-0 to Czechoslovakia in the round-robin, took the first game of the final series with a convincing 6-0 victory.
Game two, however, required the heroics of Darryl Sittler, who scored in overtime to clinch the title.
4. Finally another Olympic gold: Feb. 24, 2002. Salt Lake City.
The United States beat Russia in the semifinal and prevented the historical matchup. Canada made rather easy work of the Americans before a massive TV audience south of the border — at least by hockey’s standards — to earn the nation’s first Olympic Hockey gold in 50 years.
Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla both scored a pair of goals and the legend of the “lucky loonie” was born.
Canada’s women’s team also won gold by beating the U.S., avenging their stunning loss four years earlier.
3. The clash of the Titans: Dec. 31, 1975, Montreal Forum.
The Montreal Canadiens were en route to winning another Stanley Cup. The Red Army, as CSKA Moscow was called, was the dominant club team in Europe, and they faced each other during the Super Series which saw the USSR’s two best club’s each faced four NHL teams.
We learned their best was as good as our best. The Canadiens and Red Army played to an entertaining 3-3 tie in big part because of a 35-save performance by Vladislav Tretiak. By comparison, Montreal’s Ken Dryden faced only 13 shots on goal. The reigning Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers were the lone club to beat the Red Army with a 4-1 game, but that affair is more known for the protest by the Red Army after Ed Van Impe clobbered Valeri Kharlamov.
2. 1987 Canada Cup: Sept. 15, 1987. Copps Coliseum, Hamilton.
Certainly the last great hockey game between Canada and the Soviet Union. The Soviets won the opener of the best-of-three series by a 6-5 overtime count. Canada won Game 2 by that same score, with Wayne Gretzky leading the way with five points and Mario Lemieux netting a hat trick. The finale was a thriller. Canada trailed 3-0 just eight minutes into the game, took a 5-4 lead but blew it. With time winding down, Lemieux ripped the winning goal, set up by Gretzky.
1. 1972 Summit Series: Sept. 28, 1972, Luzhniki Ice Palace, Moscow
Who in this country can’t place the voice of Foster Hewitt and the miracle finish?
“Henderson, has scored for Canada,” is the call from Hewitt, announcing that Paul Henderson had scored with 34 seconds remaining in Game 8 to give Canada a 6-5 victory and the series.
Almost forgotten is the fact Henderson scored the game-winning goal in the final three games. As is the fact Team Canada trailed 5-3 going into the third period and had to win, because a tie game would mean the Soviet Union was victorious based on goals scored.