Miracle Monday: The Miracle On Ice

Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Winter Games USA hockey miracle on ice

Well, looks like it's about that time. Are you ready??? This game doesn't really need much of an introduction, as I'm pretty sure everyone that calls themselves an American citizen knows what it's all about. So let's just get on with it, shall we? :)

Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Winter Games USA hockey miracle on ice


What: USA 4 - 3 USSR

Who: Buzz Schneider (assist: Mark Pavelich)
         Mark Johnson (assists: Dave Christian, Dave Silk)
         Mark Johnson (assist: Dave Silk)
         Mike Eruzione (assists: Mark Pavelich, John Harrington)


+ The first goal of the game was scored by the Soviets after Buzz Schneider lost the puck in the U.S. zone. But then about six minutes later, Buzz made up for it by scoring a goal himself. It was on a long slap shot that normally Vladislav Tretiak should've been able to save, but Buzz had a long, glorious history of being able to score on Tretiak when nobody else really could. And the assist went to Mark Pavelich, who casually stripped the puck away from a Soviet player at center ice and fed a pass to Buzz. In Ken Dryden's exact words, "Well, once again, it's Pavelich to Schneider." The Coneheads were kind of a big deal. :)

+ When the U.S. was down 2-1, Al Michaels makes a casual mention about how the U.S. had yet to have a good first period in any of their games thus far. And with a single exception, he really wasn't lying. (Heck, I feel like I talk about this every single week. Probably because I do.) But funnily enough, this ended up being one of the team's most successful first periods, as it ended in a 2-2 tie. Of their five previous first periods, they were trailing after three, leading after one and tied after one. So this was an improvement! And Mark Johnson's masterful goal with one second remaining was the highest of notes to end on. Seriously, I cannot overstate how important that goal was. It took the wind out of the Soviet sails, prompted coach Viktor Tikhonov to bench Tretiak, and gave the U.S. all sorts of momentum. (He scored again in the third period, and it was another goal that literally came out of nowhere. They called Mark Johnson "Magic" for a very good reason!)

+ The second period was actually worse than the first, in a strange twist of events. The U.S. had to kill several penalties (and gave up a goal on one of them), wasn't able to score, and Jim Craig got knocked out. (Wish that didn't happen so often.) But yeah, he got knocked over and blacked out for a few seconds, and then got back up, continued playing and didn't let in another goal the rest of the game. Actual real-life superhero? Yes.

+ For most of the game, the crowd was pretty quiet. Everyone was a little tense and nervous about getting too excited. It wasn't until Mark Johnson's second goal that the crowd started to come to life. And, of course, after Mike Eruzione's goal, it was complete bedlam for the rest of the game. Even the lady announcing the goals couldn't keep it together! All previous goals were announced very monotone and flat, but when she was reading out "assist by number 16, Pavelich," her voice cracked on the 16. Everyone was a little bit emotional. :)

+ Of all the U.S. players, only four of them went undrafted by the NHL: Steve Janaszak, Mike Eruzione, Mark Pavelich and John Harrington. And the winning goal against the Soviet Union -- one of the most famous accomplishments in all of Olympic history -- was a goal scored by Mike Eruzione and assisted by Mark Pavelich and John Harrington. If that's not the coolest thing you've ever heard, I don't even know what to tell you.


If you didn't already know, this full game (more or less) is available on YouTube. So if you haven't already watched it, you probably should. Find it HERE or HERE!

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