Print and Go Back ESPN.com: ESPN Classic [Print without images]

Saturday, January 19, 2002
Do you believe in miracles?

By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com

February 22, 1980

Almost nobody expected the United States hockey team, composed mostly of college players, to defeat the veteran Soviet Union juggernaut at the Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.

But in a heated battle on ice, America's Team wins this cold war, shocking the Soviets -- and the rest of the world -- with a dramatic 4-3 victory. It's the Soviets' first loss in the Olympics since 1968.

Just two weeks ago, the U.S. had lost to the Soviets 10-3. Today, though, it enters the final period trailing only 3-2 despite being outshot 12-2 in the second period. After not getting a shot on Soviet goalie Vladimir Myshkin for the first 7 1/2 minutes of the final period, the U.S. ties the game at 8:39 on a goal by Wisconsin fireplug Mark Johnson. Then halfway through the period captain Mike Eruzione's screened shot beats Myshkin and gives the U.S. its first lead.

With the standing room only crowd wildly cheering them on, the Americans, who have just 16 shots for the game, hold on for the stunning upset. Goalie Jim Craig finishes with 36 saves, nine in the final period.

In the locker room, the U.S. players sing "God Bless America," even though they can't remember all the words. Coach Herb Brooks locks himself in the men's room with his emotions. "Finally, I snuck into the hall," he says, "and the state troopers were all standing there crying."