Monday, December 2, 2013

Seattle Totems Beat The Soviets


I added this program of the Seattle Totems from the Western Hockey League to the Den recently. It's from a game in March 1974 but pictures a terrific cover shot of the Totems playing the Soviet National team. Gennady Tsyganov is shown battling Seattle forward Dave Wisener.

The game took place on January 5, 1974 when the touring Soviet National team rolled into Seattle, Washington. In lieu of playing NHL teams due to financial problems, the Russians toured through the Western Hockey League. Having already beaten Phoenix, San Diego and Portland as well as trouncing Seattle 9-4 just over a year prior, this last game of their tour was expected to be a cake-walk.

The Totems who would not even make the playoffs in this the last ever season of the WHL somehow surprised the Soviets with a convincing 8-4 win. This Soviet squad was pretty much the same one that Team Canada had narrowly beaten 15 months before. Vladislav Tretiak was in net for them on this night and Soviet goals were tallied by none other than Boris Mikhailov, Valery Kharlamov, Alexsandr Yakushev and Alexsandr Bodunov. All were veterans of the Summit Series and the first three scorers along with Tretiak may very well be the four greatest Russian players ever.

On this night however, they were no match for the Totems. Seattle's line of Wisener, Dave Westner and Don Westbrooke scored five of the eight goals with Westbrooke earning the ONLY hat-trick ever by a North American player against the Soviets. This threesome would play exactly zero National Hockey League games over their combined careers.

The Soviets fired 49 shots on the Seattle goaltending duo of Bruce Bullock and Dan Brady while Tretiak was aerated for 8 goals on 31 shots. Bullock was a Vancouver Canuck in their inaugural NHL season playing 16 games over three seasons with a 4.79 GAA, Brady never made The Show.

Of course a mere three months after losing in Seattle, the Soviets would capture their thirteenth World Championship allowing only 18 goals over the 10 games of the tournament.


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