The Soviet Union got off to a good start in their three match ice hockey series against Winnipeg Jets of Canada in Tokyo.
The Soviet Union got off to a good start in their three match ice hockey series against Winnipeg Jets of Canada in Tokyo. In Thursday's (29 December) opening match they came out on top 7-5 before a crowd of 6,500.
SYNOPSIS: The match, in the National Gymnasium in Yoyogi, got under way with the Soviet Union in red, playing from right to left. The series has been billed as a battle of the world's two strongest teams...the Soviet Union's "computer" hockey against the Canadians' power.
The Soviet Union had arrived in Japan still smarting from an 8-3 Izvestia Cup defeat by Czechoslovakia, but they looked very sharp as Alexander Golikov put them in front.
Their precision passing gave them the edge early in the first period, and a quick break down the middle by veteran Boris Mikhaylov led to him making it 2-0
Jets, currently lying second in the World Hockey Association table, hit back to make it 2-2 by the end of the first period and both sides scored twice again before Valery Kharlamov nipped in to give the Soviet Union a 5-4 edge.
The Soviet Union continued to pile on the pressure and Gennady Tsygankov put them further ahead.
The Canadians pulled one back before the end of the second period, and in the final 20 minutes both sides went all out for that psychologically important first victory. The professional Jets were eager to beat the all-amateur Soviet Union players. They had arrived in Japan on a winning note after beating Quebec Nordiques 9-3 in the World Hockey Association series, and were hopeful that their free-wheeling style of hockey would see them through.
The final period was fast and furious, but it produced only one goal. And this came from Vjacheslav Anisin to give the Soviet Union a 7-5 victory.