Summit ’72 Game 7 – Another Colossal Step
Paul Henderson’s second straight game-winner, with just two minutes and sixteen seconds remaining, was a work of art which absolutely solidifies his standing as one of the tournament’s premier performers. Henderson has been a revelation, and his goal on this night, which evens the series and sets the stage for dizzying drama in game eight, was a goal of epic proportions that saw the Leaf find himself behind the Soviet defence with a shot that fools a surprised Tretiak.
4-3 Canada with one game to go. Several million Canadians are already calling in sick for, coincidentally, the same day as game eight.
Henderson has said often in the years following that his winning goal in this game seven is the goal he never gets tired of watching. And although our eyes were being opened wide by the exploits of Henderson with his consistency in this Summit Series, he had scored 38 goals the previous season with Toronto, and 30 the year before that, so the guy had come with good hands. We just hadn’t been paying attention.
Russian officials had promised the Canadians that the two German referees, Baader and Kompalla, would not be used on this night, but only if the Canadians assured them that Gary Bergman would stop skating by the Russian bench and heckling coach Bobrov. Midway through the game, after Boris Mikhailov had tossed several barbs at John Ferguson behind the Canadian bench, Team Canada sent a note over saying they were sticking to their Bergman promise, so back off with Mikhailov. And that was the end of that.
Game seven also saw some on-ice nastiness involving Bergman and Mikhailov. Mikhailov turns out to be a kicker, a practice rarely if ever seen in the NHL, and the skate dug into Berman’s skin, which not surprisingly, upset the Canadian to no end. For Canadians, it was arm-waving time to see Bergman losing his cool with the obnoxious Soviet captain, and for Soviet fans, just another example of Canadian greasiness, and showed their digust and displeasure by their shrill whistling. (Both Henderson’s goal and the Bergman/Mikhailov scuffle can be seen below).
More craziness, and a Canadian win. Canadian fans at this point could care less what Russian fans thought about our players, but over the years I would learn that Russians far and wide held great admiration for our boys. They just weren’t allowed to show it.
Gary Bergman, “a rock” in the series as described by Bobby Orr, passed away in 2000 after a battle with cancer. He was only 62.