On This Date: Team USA Beats The Soviet Union In “Miracle On Ice” Game 41 Years Ago

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“11 seconds, you’ve got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? YES!”

41 years ago today, the U.S. National Hockey Team pulled off the upset of a lifetime in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, defeating one of the baddest teams the hockey world has ever seen: The Soviet Union.

Being the youngest team in the tournament, mostly made up of college athletes, coach Herb Brooks and the U.S. hockey team had about a 7-14% chance of defeating the Soviets, whose team boasted all professional players, and had won five of the last six Olympic Gold Medals.

They were once again the favorites to win it all in 1980.

This was only the medal round, but it might as well have been the championship game. I mean this was real life Rocky vs. Ivan Drago, David and Goliath type stuff.

The U.S. had shocked the world up to this game, outscoring opponents 25-10, while the Soviets had dominated, per usual, outscoring their opponents 51-12.

When the game began, the U.S. found themselves in an early hole, losing 2-1 in the first period. Keep in mind that The Soviet Union had the best goalkeeper in the world at the time, Vladislav Tretiak, so points weren’t easy to come by. However, Mark Johnson was able to squeak a shot past Tretiak to tie the game 2-2 with one second left in the first period.

In the second period, the Soviets regained the lead after a shot by Aleksandr Maltsev, making it 3-2. However, the U.S. charged back in the final period, as Mark Johnson scored again at the 8:39 mark, tying the game 3-3. With exactly 10 minutes remaining, U.S. Team Captain Mike Eruzione scored to give the U.S. the lead 4-3.

With the onlooking eyes of the whole world, the U.S. held on for the final 10 minutes to win the game, 4-3. The U.S. would go on to the championship game and defeated Finland, winning their first Gold Medal in hockey in 20 years.

Many have argued that this game was the biggest upset in sports history, given the histories of both The Soviet Union and the U.S. hockey teams. This game would be dubbed the “Miracle On Ice,” and was named the best sports moment in the 20th century by Sports Illustrated.

All I gotta say is, I’m making a toast to Mark Johnson tonight. TWO goals against the best goalkeeper in the world? Mad respect. Also, if this broadcast of the final minute of the game doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will.

In 2008, the International Ice Hockey Federation claimed the “Miracle On Ice” as the best international ice hockey story in the past 100 years. Hell, even Disney made a movie about it.

That Kurt Russell speech though…

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