Lafleur Leads Vets Past Russia

ELEKTROSTAL, Central Russia -- The gloves were off before the game even started when veterans of hockey's legendary Summit Series faced off on the ice once again.

But 27 years after the eight-game classic between Canada and the Soviet Union in 1972, the teams were exchanging handshakes and gifts instead of blows prior to Sunday's game.

Played before a packed house of 3,600 at Kristall Sports Palace in Elektrostal, 30 kilometers southeast of Moscow, the Canadian veterans posted a convincing 11-6 victory over Russia in the first of a four-game series.

Montreal Canadiens' legend Guy Lafleur, who did not participate in the '72 series, scored a hat trick and was named Canada's most valuable player.

"We didn't know what to expect from the other team when we first started, but I think the fans really enjoyed the game, and us guys too," Lafleur said.

Defenseman Yury Liapkin scored two goals and was voted Russia's MVP.

"Twenty-seven years have already gone ... and just as in '72 it was a great experience," said Russian defenseman Valery Vasiliyev, who was on the ice at Luzhniki Ice Palace with Liapkin when Paul Henderson scored "The Goal" that won the series for Canada in 1972.

Legends of World Hockey Series

Dec. 7. Game starts at 6 p.m. Khimik Sports Palace, Voskresensk.

Dec. 9. Game starts at 6 p.m. Yubileiny Sports Palace, St. Petersburg.

Dec. 11. Game starts at 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the Luzhniki box office for 9, 20 or 30 rubles. [Saturday's Page 14 article should have stated the game will take place Dec. 11.] Luzhniki Ice Palace, 24 Luzhnetskaya Naberezhnaya, M. Sportivnaya, Tel. 201-1785.