Sunday, February 22, 2009

Looking back--Miracle on Ice.

29 years ago today, Feb. 22, 1980, the U.S. Olympic hockey team, playing in the medal round in Lake Placid, N.Y., fired the shot heard 'round the hockey world, upsetting defending world champion Soviet Union, 4-3, in a riveting game, now immortalized in the movie "Miracle."

Four Terriers--three were members of BU's 1978 NCAA championship team--played key roles in the victory and subsequent gold medal, following a win against Finland two days later. They were: goalie Jim Craig, defenseman Jack O'Callahan, and forwards Dave Silk and team captain Mike Eruzione. Craig literally stood on his head all night, making the saves to keep the U.S. within striking distance of the favored Soviets, while O'Callahan, who missed several preliminary round games with a knee injury, dished out big hits and anchored the defense. Silk assisted on Mark Johnson's goal in the third period that tied the game at three all, just minutes before Eruzione fired a wrist shot from high slot that beat the Soviet goalie (video), triggering an eruption from the already-frenzied crowd. Ten minutes (on the game clock) later, Al Michaels made the memorable call on television, "Do you believe in Miracles? Yes!" (video).

The shocking upset by "20 unknown collegians" earned the team and coach Herb Brooks recognition throughout the hockey world, a visit to the White House to meet President Carter, and Sports Illustrated's designation of "Sportsmen of the Year." The dramatic victory is credited with accelerating the growth of hockey in the U.S., spreading interest from a few traditional regional pockets to the entire U.S. (photo credit Associated Press).

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