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Challenge Cup Artifact
Challenge Cup 1979
Challenge Cup Poster

In February of 1979, the Soviet National Team played a three-game series against an National Hockey League All-Star Team at Madison Square Garden in New York. This one-time series replaced the annual NHL All-Star Game that season. For this series the NHL instituted a balloting system for the starting line-up. By February, six members of the team had emerged. Bobby Clarke, Steve Shutt and Guy Lafleur were the forwards, with Larry Robinson and Denis Potvin on defence. Tony Esposito was the netminder against the powerful Soviet squad. The Soviets were in the midst of ushering younger players into their roster with the likes of Sergei Kapustin, Sergei Makarov and Helmut Balderis. Game one was an action-packed affair dominated by the NHL squad. Guy Lafleur opened the scoring 16 seconds into the first period and they never looked back. Despite playing most of the game with only four defenseman, the NHL earned a 4-2 victory. However, game two was a different story. After a slow start, the Soviets rebounded from a 4-2 deficit and marched to a 5-4 win. Sergei Kapustin's two goals paced the Soviet comeback. Game three was full of surprises. The Soviets replaced star goalie Vladislav Tretiak with rookie Vladimir Myshkin. Meanwhile the NHL squad started Gerry Cheevers over Ken Dryden in the nets. A packed Madison Square Garden was stunned as Myshkin stonewalled the NHL. After a scoreless first period, the Soviets dominated the remainder of the game, winning 6-0 to capture the Challenge Cup.

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