Miracle Monday: By the Numbers

I'm not a numbers person. Like, at all. Math classes used to be the bane of my academic existence, and when it comes to sports, I could honestly take or leave a player's stats... for the most part. But sometimes, numbers can tell a pretty cool story. Such is the case here. So today, we're going to let the stats do the talking!

+ The top five overall scorers during the pre-Olympic season were: Mark Johnson (33 goals, 48 assists, 81 points), Rob McClanahan (29-33--62), Steve Christoff (35-26--61), Neal Broten (25-30--55), and Mark Pavelich (15-30--45). The top five overall scorers during the Olympic tournament were: Mark Johnson (5-6--11), Buzz Schneider (5-3--8), Rob McClanahan (5-3--8), Dave Christian (0-8--8) and Mark Pavelich (1-6--7). What's super interesting about that is that Neal Broten and Steve Christoff weren't even in the top 10 in scoring during the Olympics, and Buzz Schneider and Dave Christian weren't even in the top 10 in scoring during the pre-Olympic season. (But Mark Johnson, guys. Mark Johnson. Look at those numbers, holy cow.)

+ Bill Baker, who scored the tying goal against Sweden -- potentially the most important goal scored in the entire Olympics, which got Bill called a hero on national television over a dozen times -- had only scored four goals in 52 pre-Olympic games. Four goals in 52 games. Yet in his first 60 minutes on Olympic ice, he puts one in the back of the net. Talk about phenomenal timing!

+ Goals and assists aren't the only numbers we should look at; let's talk about penalty minutes. The overall team leader? None other than Jack O'Callahan (are we surprised?), with 85 penalty minutes in 55 total games (Olympics and pre-Olympics). However, if you look at the ratio of penalty minutes to games played, the real leader is Bob Suter (again, are we surprised?), with 67 penalty minutes in 38 games played. And shout-out to third place, Bill Baker (this time I actually am surprised!) with 74 penalty minutes in 60 games. Gotta love those guys that go to war for their teammates, right? :)

+ Ready for some math that underscores the importance of Herb's crazy conditioning drills? I've mentioned before that the team got stronger as the game went on, but how's this for a stat: in the last two periods, the U.S. outscored opponents 27-6 and outshot them 137-119. In addition, 63.6% of U.S. goals were scored in the first or last five minutes of a period; they were strongest right out of the gate, and freshest at the end. Kind of insane! (Also, please note that I got these numbers from a book. I did not sit here poring over a calculator. I'm dedicated, but I'm not THAT dedicated!)

While I did get some of this information from a book and therefore can't link it for you, if you happen to be interested in seeing more stats, you can find 'em here!
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