When it comes to international hockey rivalries, there is simply nothing that compares to Canada vs. Russia.
From the first meeting at the 1954 IIHF World Championship to Monday’s semifinal match-up at the at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, the Canadians and Russians have given hockey fans more than their fair share of memorable moments.
So who has had the upper hand when the international hockey powers have faced off?
NOTE: men’s results also include games against Soviet Union (1977-91), CIS (1992) and Unified Team (1992)
OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES
Canada 7, Russia 0 – February 13, 2002 – Salt Lake City, Utah (preliminary round)
Canada 12, Russia 0 – February 12, 2006 – Turin, Italy (preliminary round)
ALL-TIME RECORD – Canada leads 2-0-0
IIHF ICE HOCKEY WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Canada 9, Russia 1 – April 1, 1997 – Kitchener, Ont. (preliminary round)
Canada 5, Russia 1 – April 3, 2001 – Rochester, Minn. (preliminary round)
Canada 12, Russia 0 – April 4, 2005 – Linköping, Sweden (preliminary round)
Canada 8, Russia 1 – April 4, 2008 – Harbin, China (preliminary round)
Canada 14, Russia 1 – April 10, 2012 – Burlington, Vt. (preliminary round)
ALL-TIME RECORD: Canada leads 5-0-0
AIR CANADA CUP/MLP CUP/MECO CUP
Canada 13, Russia 2 – January 3, 2008 – Ravensburg, Germany (preliminary round)
Canada 11, Russia 0 – January 4, 2009 – Ravensburg, Germany (preliminary round)
Canada 9, Russia 0 – January 7, 2011 – Kreuzlingen, Switzerland (semifinal)
Canada 6, Russia 0 – January 4, 2012 – Füssen, Germany (preliminary round)
Canada 7, Russia 3 – January 6, 2013 – Füssen, Germany (gold medal game)
ALL-TIME RECORD: Canada leads 6-0-0
IIHF ICE HOCKEY U18 WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Canada 6, Russia 3 – March 27, 2010 – Chicago, Ill. (preliminary round)
ALL-TIME RECORD: Canada leads 1-0-0
MEN’S INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
Olympic Winter Games – Russia leads 9-2-0
IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship – Russia leads 34-12-4
IIHF World Junior Championship – tied 17-17-2
IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship – tied 5-5-0
1972 Summit Series – Canada leads 4-3-1
Canada Cup – Canada leads 5-3-2
World Cup of Hockey – Canada leads 2-0-0
Canada-Russia Super Series – Canada leads 7-0-1
Canada-Russia Challenge – series tied 2-2
summer U18 tournaments – Canada leads 10-4-0
CANADA 6 – SOVIET UNION 5
1972 SUMMIT SERIES – GAME 8
SEPTEMBER 28, 1972 – MOSCOW, RUSSIA
Down 3-1-1 in the series after dropping Game 5, the first of four in Moscow, Team Canada faced a daunting task – win the final three games, all on enemy ice. They got two-thirds of the way there with 3-2 and 4-3 wins to force an eighth and deciding game, setting up one of the greatest sporting moments in Canadian history.
With the game being played in the middle of the day in Canada, much of the country shut down to watch. Schools and offices came to a stand-still; on that day, hockey was all that mattered.
A back-and-forth first period saw the Soviets take a pair of one-goal leads, only to see the Canadians battle back twice to tie it, on goals from Esposito and Brad Park. An early second period goal from the Soviets was cancelled out thanks to a Bill White marker, but Soviet goals five minutes apart late in the middle frame sent the Canadians to the dressing room facing a 5-3 deficit with 20 minutes to go.
Esposito’s second goal of the game kick-started the Team Canada comeback at 2:27, and Yvon Cournoyer tied it at 12:56, setting the stage for a wild finish.
The Soviets claimed that if the game, and series, ended in a tie, they would be proclaimed the winners thanks to a 32-31 edge in goals. But Henderson made sure that wouldn’t be necessary, scoring one of the greatest goals in Canadian hockey history with just 34 seconds to go, his third game-winner in as many games.
“Here’s a shot!Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell. Here’s another shot, right in front. They score! Henderson has scored for Canada!”
The immortal words of Foster Hewitt accompany arguably the No. 1 where-were-you-when moment in Canadian sports, capping off a series for the ages and starting what remains today, 40 years later, the greatest rivalry in international hockey.
CANADA 6 – SOVIET UNION 5
1987 CANADA CUP – FINAL, GAME 3
SEPTEMBER 15, 1987 – HAMILTON, ONT.
Even now, 25 years later, the final of the 1987 Canada Cup is considered the greatest hockey ever played. In an era known for wide-open, free-wheeling offensive hockey, the three-game series was the pinnacle, with the two teams combining for 33 goals.
The Canadians were led by the two greatest stars of the era, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, who played together for Canada for the only time in their careers, while the Soviets countered with a line-up led by the KLM line – Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov – at the height of their game.
The best-of-three final opened at the historic Forum in Montreal, where the Soviets earned a 6-5 overtime victory, but Canada pulled even two nights later in Hamilton, where Wayne Gretzky turned in that he called the greatest game of his career – The Great One finished with five assists, the final one coming on Mario Lemieux’s hat trick goal 10:07 into the second overtime, giving Canada a 6-5 win and forcing a deciding game.
Early in Game 3 it looked as if the Soviets would run away with the Canada Cup, taking a 3-0 lead before the game was nine minutes old. But Rich Tocchet and Brian Propp got the Canadians on the board and, after the Soviets had grabbed a 4-2 advantage, goals from Larry Murphy, Brent Sutter and Dale Hawerchuk gave the Canadians their first lead at 5-4 after 40 minutes.
The Soviets pulled even early in the third, setting the stage for a goal for the ages. With the face-off in Canada's end with less than two minutes to go, Hawerchuk won the draw from Valeri Kamensky and tied up the Soviet centre while Gretzky, Lemieux and Murphy rushed down the ice.
“Lemieux ahead to Gretzky. Has Murphy with him on a two-on-one. To Lemieux … in on goal … he shoots, he scores! Mario Lemieux, with 1:26 remaining!"
Dan Kelly had the call, Canada had the victory and a generation of Canadian hockey fans had their 1972, their defining hockey moment.
CANADA 3 – SOVIET UNION 2
1988 WORLD JUNIORS – ROUND ROBIN
JANUARY 1, 1988 – MOSCOW, RUSSIA
Just minutes away from regaining their World Junior gold medal at the 1987 tournament, Canada ended up not only out of the medals, but out of the tournament after the infamous “Punch-Up in Piestany,” a bench-clearing brawl with the Soviets that resulted in both teams being disqualified.
One year later, the Canadians, including four returning players, went into enemy territory for the 1988 IIHF World Junior Championship in Moscow, with just one thing in mind – gold.
After wins over Sweden, Czechoslovakia and the United States and a tie with Finland, Canada entered its New Year’s Day clash with the Soviets knowing that a victory would all but lock up the country’s third World Junior gold medal.
The Canadians came out strong against the hosts, with goals from captain Theoren Fleury – one of the returnees from 1987 – and Trevor Linden giving them a 2-0 lead after one period, but the Soviets took control after that.
Canadian goaltender Jimmy Waite, another 1987 holdover, was under siege for the final 40 minutes, as the Soviets outshot Canada 17-4 in the second period, and by the same margin in the third.
After the Soviet Union pulled to within one early in the second, Canadian defenceman Marc Laniel scored his only goal of the tournament to restore the two-goal lead at 3-1. The Soviets would score again before the end of the middle frame, but that would be all Waite would allow. The final shot clock read 40-16 in favour of the Soviets, but it was Canada that had the edge where it mattered.
After lopsided wins over West Germany (8-1) and Poland (9-1), the gold medal was headed back to Canada and Waite, who was named Top Goaltender by the IIHF after playing every minute of every game, was headed to the annals of Canadian World Junior history after a performance that still ranks as one of the greatest ever.
CANADA 6 – RUSSIA 5 (SO)
2009 WORLD JUNIORS – SEMIFINAL
JANUARY 3, 2009 – OTTAWA, ONT.
With Canada on a quest for its fifth consecutive World Junior gold medal, it was no surprise that the Russians stood in the way. After all, the Canadians had beaten Russia in the gold medal game in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Like so many other Canada-Russia battles from the past, this one would not be known for its defence. Before the game had reached the eight-minute mark it was 2-2, with Brett Sonne and Patrice Cormier giving the Canadians 1-0 and 2-1 leads, only to see the Russians strike back shortly after.
Jordan Eberle’s power play goal was the only marker of the second period, and Canada took a 3-2 advantage to the final 20 minutes, but Russia tied it just 51 seconds into the third. Again the Canadians would pull ahead, their fourth one-goal lead of the game, thanks to a shorthanded effort from Angelo Esposito, but again the Russians fought back, eventually taking their first lead at 5-4 with just 2:20 to go.
With Canadian goaltender Dustin Tokarski on the bench, the stage was set for a wild finish. Russian forward Dmitri Klopov, who had scored the go-ahead goal, chose not to get to centre ice before firing at the open net, leading to an icing call and one last face-off in the Russian zone.
Ryan Ellis, at 17 the youngest player on the Canadian roster, kept the puck in at the point, sending it back down the boards, where John Tavares pulled it out and threw it at the net. Eberle picked up a loose puck, went to his backhand and tied the game with 5.4 seconds to go, setting off a wild celebration inside SBP Arena.
After a scoreless overtime, fittingly it was Eberle and Tavares who scored in the shootout and sent the Canadians to the gold medal game, where a 5-1 victory over Sweden – in a game that was almost anti-climactic – gave Canada another world championship.