Remembering The Miracle On Ice 40 Years Later

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Saturday, February 22, 2020 will mark the 40th anniversary of one of, if not the greatest, sporting events in American history: The Miracle on Ice.

A team made up of mostly amateur and college hockey players beat the Soviet Union squad that had won four-straight Olympic Gold Medals and hadn't lost a game in Olympic play in 12 years leading up to the contest.

Puck drop was scheduled for 5 p.m. in Lake Placid, New York that day, but due to ABC wanting the game to be broadcast during their prime-time Olympic coverage at 8 p.m., the game was shown to the American public on tape delay—meaning anyone not in what is now named Herb Brooks Arena (after the U.S. Head Coach) for the game did not know the historic outcome until hours after it happened.

The U.S. and Soviet teams had played an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden in New York City 13 days prior, where the U.S.S.R. crushed the United States 10-3.

When they made the 290-mile trip north for the Olympics, however, it was a much different story.

The U.S. scored a late goal toward the end of the first period when Dave Christian fired a slap shot that went off the Soviet goalie's pads. That resulted in a lengthy rebound, where Mark Johnson was able to gain control and bury the puck in the back of the net with one second left in the frame to tie things up at two.

The second period started with a shocking move by Soviet Head Coach Viktor Tikhonov. He replaced netminder Vladislav Tretiak (who was the consensus number-one goalie in the world) with backup Vladimir Myshkin. The Russians were motivated by the change, dominating the period and regaining the lead 3-2 heading into final frame.

Early in the third with the United States on the power play, Mark Johnson once again found the back of the net to tie the game at 3. A few minutes later, at the 8:39 mark of the period, Boston-born U.S. Captain Mike Eruzione hopped onto the ice, gained took a pass from teammate Mark Pavelich in the Soviet zone, and fired a wrist shot past Myshkin to give the U.S the lead 4-3.

The Americans spent the rest of the game fending off a Soviet-onslaught as the team panicked realizing they were about to suffer their first loss since 1968.

As the clock ran down, play-by-play announcer Al Michaels uttered his now famous phrase "Do you believe in Miracles? Yes?"

WBZ NewsRadio's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports:

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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