If Team America was somewhat disappointed, Dynamo Minsk was relieved and satisfied "Yankees and Russians," said Eddie Maloveev, coach of the Soviet national champion team. "And everybody is good."
With just more than three minutes to go in the second half, a penalty shot by Viktor Sokor lifted the Soviets into a 2-2 tie and sent them home from their four-stop American tour with an 0-2-2 record.
"They didn't want to lose," said Team America captain Jeff Durgan. "They're not panicky and even when they were down, 2-1, they just were determined and patient . . ."
The Dynamo club had shown some of its determination early in the first half, controlling the ball and sending eight shots at goaltender Paul Hammond. But, after 13 minutes of play, Team America got a break.
John Hays got the ball past goalie Turi Kourbyko when, as a corner kick from Perry Van Der Beck came in "the goalie came out," Hays said. As Kourbyko came out of his cage, he jumped to block the shot, twisting his body as he did so. "When he was up in the air, I leaned back and vollyed it," said Hays, who sent it into the net at 12:58.
But the Soviets didn't let the lead last long.
"It's pride that pushed our team," said Maloveev through a translator. "We expect a lot of ourselves."
Dynamo expected enough goals to overcome Team America's early edge. When Ludas Rumbutis took a short pass from Valiriy Meinikov, just outside Hammond's cage, it was obvious what was coming. As the goalie stretched to stop it, Rumbutis lofted the ball into the back of the net at 29:30.
"They (Dynamo) hated the idea of being beaten by those 'American amateurs,' " said Team America Coach Alkis Pangoulias, grinning. "And beating the Russians is not an easy task."
But for most of the second half, it appeared it might be. A goal by Hernan Borja at 46:58 went flying into the back right corner of the netting. It was a running shot that caught the goaltender sliding about 12 feet out of his net.
That could have been enough, had the Dynamo team suddenly tired. "They wouldn't give up and we couldn't get any offensive chances in that half," Durgan said. "They knew the ball would come back to them and they would get it into the net."
Eight corner kicks by Dynamo in the second half, plus 12 shots, started to reverse the momentum. Then came the penalty shot.
With 4:02 on the clock, goaltender Arnie Mausser, inserted at the half, came out and blocked Sokor's progress, tumbling over him in the process. Referee Al Kleinaitis called for a penalty shot, and Sokor kicked the ball high and hard, watching it bounce off the crossbar and down into the net.
Pangoulias said he was pleased. "These boys have played four games in seven days, and traveled thousands of miles," he said. "I'm happy with both the result and performance against this team."
Both teams participated in a postgame ceremony, signing a "proclamation for peace" . . . The clubs exchanged gifts before the game and in the locker room later, Soviet players stuffed their gear bags with Cokes.