O CANADA CUP: A ROUSING FINALE
Numerologists and hockey fans could delight in the Canada Cup, which came to a stirring close last Tuesday night when Mario Lemieux beat Soviet goalie Sergei Mylnikov with 1:26 left in the third and deciding game to give Team Canada a 6-5 victory. The first two games of the Cup final had ended in identical 6-5 scores in overtime, with the U.S.S.R. winning the first one and Canada the second (SI, Sept. 21).
Lemieux's dramatic winner immediately recalled a similar goal 15 years earlier in Moscow in the eighth and deciding game of the first summit series between the Soviet Union and Canada. Paul Henderson beat the splendid U.S.S.R. goalie Vladislav Tretiak with 34 seconds remaining in that game for the victory. The score? Six to five.
Lemieux, like Henderson, quickly became a national hero in Canada. His climactic goal was his 11th of the tournament—with Wayne Gretzky assisting on nine of them—and eradicated the doubts of his countrymen about him. Before this competition, Lemieux had drawn criticism for declining to represent Canada in international competition. In addition, the effortlessness with which he has played for the Pittsburgh Penguins had led observers to believe that he does not go at full throttle.
But he and the rest of Team Canada were certainly going all out last Tuesday. The U.S.S.R. jumped off to 3-0 and 4-2 leads in the first period. Team Canada coach Mike Keenan said afterward, "The mood in the room [after the first period] was that we were about to participate in the greatest comeback in the history of the game." Keenan may have been overstating things, but not by much.