Sadly, the Canadians' artistry was obscured by chippy play, which at times seemed to hypnotize—no, paralyze—the Finnish referee, Karl-Gustav Kaisla. Among the low-lights: Chris Chelios and Claude Lemieux, Montreal teammates, choking each other.
Against the Soviets, Johnson tried to wring the maximum advantage from home ice. "Flags—lots of flags," ordered Badger Bob. "And we want a singer—not an organist—for the National Anthem. Make it God Bless America. Between periods, I'll feed 'em apple pie." After the 5-1 rout, Johnson was still trying to be upbeat: "Remember, this is at least three levels above the NHL."
"Who's kidding who?" asked U.S. forward Bobby Carpenter. "Sometimes the Soviets are vulnerable, and tonight wasn't one of those times."
Sunday night was. The Soviets overcame the officiating to lead 3-2 with three minutes to play, but along came Gretzky to get a tie for Canada moments after the Soviets had killed back-to-back penalties. So, Canada would play Czechoslovakia in one semifinal, and the Soviets would meet their Swedish nemeses in the other. The winners then play a best-of-three series for the Cup starting this Friday night. Count on another Canadian-Soviet showdown.