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On This Day: Miracle On Ice

On this day 37 years ago the USA Hockey team completed one of the biggest upsets in sports history when they defeated the Soviet Union 4-3.

Leading into the game the Soviets had won four straight Olympic Gold medals in hockey dating back to 1964, and they had not lost an Olympic hockey game since 1968. They were a team made of pros who played together for a long time. The USA team however was a bunch of college kids, the average aged was 22. There was only one USA player, Buzz Schneider, who had previously been an Olympian.

Leading into the Olympics, just three days before the games started, the Soviets and team USA faced off in an exhibition game in Madison Square Garden. The Soviet Union had their way with team USA and beat them 10-3. When the games started the Soviets as expected were the 1 seed and team USA was the 7 seed.

Both teams went undefeated through the opening round. Team USA won four and tied one, while the Soviet Union won all five of their games. Then the two teams met again on February 22nd 1980.

In Lake Placid NY the two teams faced off again in the first round of the four qualifying teams. The game went back and fourth throughout, but the US did not gain the lead until there was about ten minutes to go in the entire game. The win came behind the outstanding play from goaltender Jim Craig, who only allowed three goals and had thirty saves. What many people forget is that this game was not to win the gold medal. Two days later team USA played Finland in another 3rd period come from behind win, (4-2) to win gold. 

 


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