Happy first Monday of 2015! And happy first week of being able to say that the 1980 Olympics were 35 years ago. Yikes. That shouldn't make me feel old, since I wasn't alive yet in 1980... and yet, it still makes me feel old. (#logic) But moving on! Do you like wins? Do you like wins by a five-goal margin? (Hint: yes.) Score-wise, this was the U.S. team's best game of the Olympic tournament. So, y'know, you should probably continue reading.
What: USA 7 - 2 ROM
Who: Buzz Schneider (assists: Mark Pavelich, John Harrington)
Eric Strobel (assists: Buzz Schneider, Mike Ramsey)
Mark Wells (assists: Phil Verchota, Ken Morrow)
Buzz Schneider (assist: John Harrington)
Steve Christoff (assist: Jack O'Callahan)
Neal Broten (assist: Mike Eruzione)
Rob McClanahan (assist: Mark Johnson)
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
+ This was the first -- and only -- game in the tournament in which the U.S. didn't have to come from behind to win. Seriously, this was the only first period that ended with a U.S. lead. Al Michaels mentions that they "dominated the action," which normally wasn't something that happened until at least the second period. It generally took this team a nice long while to get itself going, so watching them play with a 2-0 lead is a very strange sensation!
+ Before the game, there was some speculation that Steve Janaszak would get the start in goal so Jim Craig could get some rest. But Warren Strelow, the goalie coach, firmly believed in standing behind and showing confidence in your goaltender... and it didn't hurt that Jim flat out refused to be benched. So Herb conceded in order to keep his goalie happy. During the game's commentary, Ken Dryden (himself a former NHL goaltender) said that Jim's personal momentum at this point was more important than rest.
+ At long last, Jack O'Callahan finally gets into a game! He injured his knee at Madison Square Garden just a few days before the Olympics, and while Miracle shows that his first Olympic ice time came against the Soviets, he actually got to play before that. And he even got an assist (his first and only Olympic point) on what I believe was his second shift, so hey, not bad for his troubles!
+ The scoring in this game was kind of fascinating. I mean, first you have Buzz Schneider with his second multi-goal game of the Olympics, so that kind of came as no surprise. But then you've got a lot of goals scored by guys who'd been having a lot of trouble scoring. Steve Christoff and Rob McClanahan were two of the top scorers during the pre-Olympic season (Steve was first in goals scored and Mac was third, and Mac was second in overall points scored and Steve was third), but this was Steve's first Olympic goal and Mac's second. It was also Eric Strobel's first and only Olympic goal, Neal Broten's first Olympic goal, and Mark Wells' second and final Olympic goal. So this game was a really nice stat booster for some of the boys that really needed it!
+ This was the first time, from a broadcast/fan perspective, that the U.S. team finally started to feel like more than an underdog band of misfits that nobody really knew about. Going into this game, its record was 2-0-1 and people were starting to take notice; the arena was standing room only, the crowd was extremely noisy, and for the first time after a game the guys lined up at center ice and raised their sticks in salute to the fans. ABC was also starting to scramble to introduce these unknown players to the TV audience a little bit; they aired a brief little package highlighting some of the players (using these exact photos!), so people could put faces and names to some of the more notable on-ice accomplishments. :)
WHERE CAN YOU WATCH?