These Games were originally awarded to Denver but the protests of disgruntled U.S. taxpayers unwilling to pay for the event forced their relocation to Innsbruck. A watered-down tournament that did not include Canada or Sweden managed to produce a memorable final game.
In that contest, the Soviets trailed Czechoslovakia 2-0 midway through the second period when a pair of penalties left them two men short for two minutes. The Soviet penalty killers smothered the Czechoslovak attack, not allowing a single dangerous shot on goal during the two-man disadvantage.
The USSR eventually came from behind to tie the game 2-2 before the Czechoslovaks went ahead with nine minutes remaining in the third period. Taking advantage of a power play, the Soviets tied the game with less than five minutes to play and then scored the eventual winner 24 seconds later and grab the gold medal.
The USSR became the first country to win four consecutive Olympic tournaments. Czechoslovakia took the silver medal while the West Germans were surprise winners of the bronze. Romania was a surprise winner of the consolation group with a record of 4-1-0, outdistancing five other nations including the more experienced Austrians and Swiss.