Bulldogs rout Russians 9-2
“Bendo, he’s that centre player who skates so hard and knocks everybody down”, Vasily Napastnikov
BY BOB DUFF SEPTEMBER 23, 2008
They came to Windsor Arena with a swagger and a perfect 4-0 slate on their nine-game North American tour. As the national team of the Soviet arrived in town on the night of Nov. 21, 1962, the last thing they probably expected to get from the Windsor Bulldogs was their comeuppance.
The Bulldogs were no ordinary senior hockey club, though. En route to an Allan Cup title that spring, Windsor iced a veteran club with plenty of pro experience. Even the Russians acknowledged it.
“(Windsor’s Lou) Bendo, he’s that centre player who skates so hard and knocks everybody down,” Vasily Napastnikov, head of Soviet hockey, told The Windsor Star’s Jack Dulmage. Napastnikov also offered kind words for Windsor forward Bobby Brown. “That fellow isn’t very big, but he sure scores goals,” Napastnikov said.The Russian squad was nothing to sneeze at, either. There were 14 players in their line-up who would be part of Soviet’s gold medal-winning squad at the 1963 World hockey championships. Three who skated at Windsor Arena against the Bulldogs – defensemen Alexander Ragulin and Viktor Kuzkin and forward Viacheslav Starshinov – also played for the Soviets against Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series. The legendary Anatoli Tarasov was behind the Russian bench.
Hard to believe, but Windsor Arena’s ice surface was even smaller back in the day and the Bulldogs used that to their advantage, playing a tight checking system and taking every opportunity to physically punish the Russians, who were used to skating on much larger Olympic-sized rinks. The contest brought 3,353 curious fans to the barn and while many expected Windsor to give the Soviets a tussle, no one anticipated the spanking the Bulldogs were about to deliver. Just 35 seconds after the opening faceoff, Tommy Walker took a pass from Irwin Gross and beat Russian goalie Boris Zaitsev for the game’s first goal.
Walker upped it to 2-0 seven minutes later. In between, Windsor goalie Monty Reynolds preserved the lead with a pair of highlight-reel saves on Yevgeny Mayorov and Alexander Almetov. Before the opening frame ended, the line of Walker, Gross and Brown converted a third time, Brown netting this tally.
The teams traded goals in the second period, Gross and Real Chevrefils scoring for Windsor to offset markers by Eduard Ivanov and Starshinov. Windsor put the game on ice less than a minute into the third period on a magical goal by the Gross-Brown-Walker trio. Gross fed a pass to Walker, who zipped the puck between his feet backwards to Brown, who redirected it past an astonished Zaitsev.
Chevrefils, Gross and Bendo followed with unanswered goals and the Bulldogs had fashioned themselves an unfathomable 9-2 rout of the Russians.
“Terrific, just terrific,” was how Bulldogs coach Harry Watson described his team’s performance to The Windsor Star’s Jim McKay. “Our guys just played a wonderful game. Not a weak spot anywhere.”The Soviets were suitably subdued regarding their own effort. “We are a bit ashamed of our performance tonight,” Tarasov said. “But the Windsor team was excellent.”The loss was the only setback the Soviets suffered during their tour.
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