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Olympic Hockey team played the Soviets. While the U. The only notable showing was 5th place at the games. The Soviet record since Squaw Valley was In fact, the Soviets were so good, that in there was no NHL all-star game.
Instead they just invited the Soviets to play a three-game series called the Challenge Cup. The U. R crushed the best players in the NHL in the deciding game.
The Soviets beating the U. Brooks had won three NCAA championships coaching Minnesota, so he pretty much knew the 23 man roster he wanted.
The players were in awe of the opponent. Brooks has spent a lot of time in Russia learning some of their systems. A big part of my game Gretzky was the forecheck—chasing a defenseman down, lifting his stick, and taking the puck. An unexpected bit of ego and overconfidence … The first medal-round game featured the Soviets and Americans.
The game was played at 5 p. In the locker room just ahead of the game, Herb Brooks gave the most inspirational speech of his life.
You were meant to be here. The moment is yours. The arena was packed. People were waving American flags everywhere. In the first minutes, the Americans surprised the Soviets with how fast and emotionally they played. Still the Soviets scored first.
Then the unexpected happened. The Soviets quickly scored again and it looked like the first period would end that way when Dave Christian picked up the puck in his own zone with only five seconds left.
Rather than play till the whistle, a lesson we all learn at one point or another and one that was drilled into me by my high-school football coach, the Soviets had let up thinking the period was over.
Christian shot the puck up ice, Mark Johnson chased it down, deked Tretiak, and scored with only one second left.
Tie game. In the second period, Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov pulled a surprise move.
He replaced Tretiak—a guy known as one of the best goalies of all time—with his backup, Vladimir Myshkin. A lucky bounce … In the third period, the Soviets looked dominant again. Before Myshkin could move, it was in the net and the score was tied A minute later, the American captain, Mike Eruzione, scored.
Now the Americans were leading, just ten minutes away from a shot at a gold medal. Play your game. Jimmy Craig the American goaltender was in the zone. When a goalie is in that kind of zone, especially in the playoffs, his ability to anticipate the shot is as good as the rest of his skill set.
When you go into a series without the sense of entitlement the Russians had, it gives you the intensity you need to get to that extra level. The gamed ended for the U. The Americans swarmed the ice.