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Feb 22 2007

This Day In History: “Do You Believe In Miracles?”

1980 US Hockey

This day in history 27 years ago, the US Olympic Team beat the Soviets in one of the biggest upsets in sports history. The movie Miracle, starring Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks, was released in 2004. This victory was voted the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century by Sports Illustrated

U.S. vs. USSR (Game review)

The home crowd, reinforced by the US team’s improbable run during group play and the Cold War “showdown” mentality, were in a patriotic fervor throughout the match, waving U.S. flags and singing patriotic songs such as “God Bless America.” The rest of the United States (except those who watched the game live on Canadian television) would have to wait to see the game, as ABC decided to broadcast the late-afternoon game on tape delay in prime time. As in several previous games, the U.S. team fell behind early. Vladimir Krutov deflected a slap shot by Aleksei Kasatonov past U.S. goaltender Jim Craig to give the Soviets a 1-0 lead, and, after Buzz Schneider scored for the United States to tie the game, the Soviets rallied again with a Sergei Makarov goal.

Down 2-1, Craig improved his play, turning away many Soviet shots before the U.S. team had another shot on goal. (The Soviet team had 39 shots on goal in the game, the Americans only 16.) In the waning seconds of the first period, Dave Christian fired a desperate slap shot on Tretiak. The Soviet goalie saved the shot but misplayed the rebound, and Mark Johnson scooped it past the goaltender to tie the score with one second left in the period. The frustrated Soviet team played the final second of the period with just three players on the ice, as the rest of the team had retired to their dressing room for the first intermission.

Tikhonov replaced Tretiak with backup goaltender Vladimir Myshkin to start the second period, a move which surprised many players on both teams. Fetisov later identified this as the “turning point of the game.” The switch seemed to work at first, as Myshkin allowed no goals in the second period. Aleksandr Maltsev scored on a power play to make the score 3-2.

8:39 into the final period, Johnson scored again for the U.S., firing a loose puck past Myshkin to tie the score just as a power play was ending. Only a couple shifts later, Mark Pavelich passed to U.S. captain Mike Eruzione, who was left undefended in the high slot. Eruzione fired a shot past Myshkin, who was screened by his own defenseman. This goal gave the U.S. a 4-3 lead with exactly 10 minutes to play in the contest.

Craig withstood another series of Soviet shots to finish the match, though the Soviets did not remove their goalkeeper for an extra attacker. As the U.S. team tried desperately to clear the zone (move the puck over the blue line, which they did with seven seconds remaining), the crowd began to count down the seconds left. Sportscaster Al Michaels, who was calling the game on ABC along with former Montreal Canadians goalie Ken Dryden, picked up on the countdown in his broadcast, and delivered his famous call:
??…Eleven seconds, you’ve got ten seconds. Morrow, up to Silk…five seconds to go in the game…Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!?

United States Team Roster

Pos. Name Age Hometown College
G *Jim Craig 21 North Easton, MA Boston U.
D *Ken Morrow 22 Flint, MI Bowling Green
D *Mike Ramsey 18 Minneapolis, MN Minnesota
C *Mark Johnson 21 Madison, WI Wisconsin
LW Mike Eruzione 25 Winthrop, MA Boston U.
RW *Dave Silk 21 Scituate, MA Boston U.
D Bill Baker 22 Grand Rapids, MN Minnesota
C Neal Broten 20 Roseau, MN Minnesota
D Dave Christian 20 Warroad, MN North Dakota
RW Steve Christoff 21 Richfield, MN Minnesota
RW John Harrington 22 Virginia, MN Minnesota-Duluth
G Steve Janaszak 22 White Bear Lake, MN Minnesota
LW *Rob McClanahan 22 St. Paul, MN Minnesota
D Jack O’Callahan 22 Charlestown, MA Boston U.
C Mark Pavelich 21 Eveleth, MN Minnesota-Duluth
LW Buzz Schneider 25 Babbitt, MN Minnesota
RW Eric Strobel 21 Rochester, MN Minnesota
D Bob Suter 22 Madison, WI Wisconsin
LW Phil Verchota 22 Duluth, MN Minnesota
C Mark Wells 21 St. Clair Shores, MI Bowling Green

* Starters

1980, hockey, lake placid, miracle, miracle on ice, Olympics, soviet, united states, us, us hockey

About the author

Timothy Haroutunian

Timothy Haroutunian is a ServiceNow Cloud Implementation Specialist at Acorio. ServiceNow is an IT Management solution that allows for a complete view of your IT and physical environment.

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1 comment

  1. lindsey m.

    my mom grew up with jim craig!

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