MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For many, it’s still regarded as the single greatest moment in American sports history. On this day 39 years ago, the ‘Miracle on Ice’ took place in Lake Placid, New York.
It was a win that was dubbed miraculous in a sequence of words that many American hockey fans can recite from memory.
“Eleven seconds, you’ve got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now,” as Al Michaels’ near-breathless iconic call goes. “Morrow up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”
Scoring four goals on the Soviets, a team known to have the best offense in the world, was a feat in itself.
But what is often forgotten is the incredible defense the U.S. displayed in the third period after Mike Eruzione put his team in the lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game — an eternity in hockey.
To put Jim Craig’s performance in perspective, the Soviets had 71 percent of the shots on goal in the game. Given the circumstances, probably nine times out of 10, a team controlling play that handily is going to win.
The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team’s 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union transcended sports.
The win took place during the height of the Cold War — a time when Americans needed something to believe in.
The U.S. went on to defeat Finland 4-2 for the gold medal.
The bulk of the team, including coach Herb Brooks, were Minnesotans.