This Week’s Video: 1996 World Cup Final Game 3 Canada vs USA Goals
Game Date: 9/14/1996
Notable Nostalgic Names To Look For: Eric Lindros, Adam Foote, Curtis Joseph, Brett Hull, Tony Amonte, Eric Dejardins, Pat Lafontaine, Brain Leetch, Paul Coffey, Scott Young, Mike Richter, Harry Neale, Bob Cole
Cultural Significance: This week, the exhibition round of World Cup hockey kicked off and now, the rabbithole segment is not immune.
Again, Brett Hull is our hero and this time USA is taking away the gold from Canada....or the trophy or however they do this thing. But the interesting thing about this video is its intensity and it should get you excited for this year’s World Cup.
There’s been questions about how good this year’s tournament will be. Players have been held out with precautionary injuries and another CBA battle is looming, but I trust, when it’s for their country, these players will bring it.
The three game series final between the USA and Canada was brutally tough and I have a funny feeling had Canada won, we’d hear more about it in our hockey history books. It kind of gets buried.
The first game, played in welcoming Philadelphia, was won in overtime by the Canadians when Steve Yzerman scored on an impossible angle, somehow beating Richter high from deep in the left corner with no redirection.
Game 2 was played in Montreal, where the Americans withstood an incredibly chippy game. Chris Chelios of course was agitating as he always does but our old pal Claude Lemuiex was doing his typical act, Mark Messier and Flyers teammates Dejardins and Lindros were playing especially physical as well. Despite all this, Team USA, built more for GRIT (seems to be a pattern) actually flexed more skill, with Hull scoring on a breakaway to make it 3-1. Joe Sakic scored late to make it a one goal game but Keith Tkachuk put in the empty netter to lock it up.
Here’s where we get to the actual video; Beautiful Bob Cole (the very best) in his prime, with Harry Neale riding sidecar, just bringing it. Game 3, also played in Montreal (why, I’m too lazy to look up) was as frenzied as I’ve heard it. Folks can play down the ‘96 World Cup in history all they want, clearly it mattered at the time.
Cut to 2:30 of the video when Cole is his classic excited/surprised/slightly confused tone screams “ADAM FOOTE; FROM OUTSIDE THE LINE!”. Cutting to shots of the crowd, of the Canadians’ bench, taking the lead 2-1 with 7:20 left in the 3rd, they thought Foote’s goal would be the winner. Again, don’t let any Canadian chug down a Molson 50, light a Viceroy and tell you this tournament didn't matter. It did. The heartbreak about to come is why you rarely hear about it.
Leetch shoots from the point and gets a redirect from Hull. I remember watching this game on CBC as a child, and Bob and Harry having 9 year-old me and my dad convinced it was an illegal goal from Hull’s high stick. To our relief and maybe luck, the Ghosts of the Forum were locked out, it counted.
But the following goal by Tony Amonte, redirected in off his skates was also disputed and counted.
OH then on an attempt to tie with an empty net and face off deep in the zone, Messier wins a clean draw back to Coffey who passed it to Gretzky who had a clean tip into an empty net, both tying the game, adding a new chapter to his legend while rekindling Oilers dynasty nostalgia. But no, The Great One CHOKED leading to a clinching empty net goal for USA.
What’s not shown in this video, but you can easily dig up in the rabbithole, was Canada’s implosion began when Claude Lemuiex fanned on a breakaway that could’ve put them up by two with under four minutes left. Leetch scored on USA’s next rush down the ice.
Eventually USA won 5-2, yes, with four goals in the final 3:18 of the game.
Much of 1996’s USA Hockey club roster went onto Nagano, Japan as the first professional group of hockey players to play in the 1998 Olympics. They failed to medal, while Canada also failed to medal after a legendary shootout between the Czech Republic. Such as this year’s USA hockey team is problematic, 1998’s had some jerks on it too.
Follow the rabbit hole in the 'recommended videos' section on You Tube and let me know what old International Hockey videos you dig up in the comment section!