When it was over
the Russians had won the battle but lost the campaign. Two of their best
players—Sidorenkov and Dimitri Ukolov, both defensemen—were out for the balance
of the tournament. Ukolov had a damaged shoulder and Sidorenkov suffered a
The Soviets lost
some hero worshipers. Czech fans who had hailed them with cries of
"Sovietsi do toho [Soviet, Go! Go!]" gave them scarcely a ripple of
applause at the end. It was reminiscent of the silence in the packed rink at
Bratislava when the public address announcer revealed that Russia had beaten
the U.S. in a qualifying match.
Like the loyal
home fans, Promoter Ahearne may have overestimated the strength of the
Czechoslovak team, which reputedly had stopped the Russians twice right in
Moscow. Ahearne had seeded Czechoslovakia and Canada to meet in the final
collection of amateurs and reinstated pros called the McFarlands, from
Belleville, Ont.—regarded the Russians as the team they had to beat. They
seemed justified when clobbering the Czechs 7-2 in the qualifying round.
with the Soviets pointed up the one mistake committed by Ahearne. He should
have saved this one for the end. What the Canadians conceded in speed they more
than made up in experience and poise. Their former pros, who had been
criticized at home as "weary and over the hill," quickly spotted flaws
in the methodical Soviet system.
Said tough little
Ike Hildebrand, onetime sharpshooter of the Cleveland Barons, who coaches and
plays for the McFarlands: "If those Russians ever learn to cut in toward
the center when they're going in on goal they'll be awful tough. Now they
always swing wide to drop the puck into the slot. We know what to
grabbed a two-goal lead in the first 12 minutes when Dennis Boucher and Moe
Benoit slipped the puck past the acrobatic Nikolai Puchkov in the Soviet cage.
With that comfortable lead the Canadians played it cozy, dumping the puck into
the Soviet goal zone and attempting to keep the fight for possession in the
Russian end of the rink. The strategy almost backfired when the fast-skating
Soviets threw five men into the attack. Only sensational goaling by Gordie
Bell, another ex-pro, who was a standout with Buffalo, turned back the Red
showed their rigid discipline at the end of the second period. They finally
beat Bell, but the referee ruled that the puck had entered the net after the
buzzer had sounded to end the period. It hadn't been heard because of the
pandemonium in the rink. The Russians accepted the ruling without a word of
protest. Hildebrand made it 3-0 for Canada in the third period, and the
Russians obviously were bushed. One of their fine new rookies, Viktor Jakusev,
saved them from a shutout with a backhand shot.
After the victory
over their traditional Russian rivals, the defeat of the Canadians by
Czechoslovakia in the windup on Sunday was strictly anticlimax, because by that
time the Czechs were out of the running, thanks to a 4-2 loss to the Americans,
who came up with a great game.