Remembering Miracles Big and Small


Today is the anniversary of the 1980 Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid, when during the height of the cold war a bunch of American college students beat the best hockey team in the world.  All punctuated by Al Michael’s final call: “Do You Believe in Miracles!”  Clearly we did and still do today

While this year’s Olympic squad will not be taking home the gold despite an amazing run, they did achieve a small miracle.

Last week, the U.S. men’s hockey team stunned the Russians in a shoot-out victory on their home ice.  It was only the fourth time the U.S. had beaten the Russians/Soviets in Olympic competition (compared to 9 losses) and the first time on anything other than U.S. soil.

The Four Victories

1960: Squaw Valley’s “Forgotten Miracle”

The U.S. won its first Olympic hockey gold in 1960 when it hosted the Games at Squaw Valley, California.  Ironically, the U.S. team included a player named Herb Brooks who was cut a week before the Games.  The U.S. won all 7 games en route to the Gold Medal, outscoring their opponents 29-11.

As in Lake Placid, they faced the Soviet Union in the penultimate game during the medal round, winning 3-2.  They clinched the Gold Medal beating Czechoslovakia 9-4  the next night.

1980: Lake Placid’s Miracle on Ice

After Squaw Valley, the Soviet Union had won 5 straight Olympic Gold Medals and 5 straight world championships.   They beat the U.S. 10-3 in an exhibition game just before the Olympics, but then Herb Brooks’ team of college kids did the impossible.

Despite being outshot 39-16, the American college kids beat the best team in the world 4-3.  Two days later, they came back from a 2–1 third period deficit to defeat Finland 4–2 and win the Gold Medal.

2002:  Salt Lake City’s Semi-Final Win

The U.S. team tied Russia in group play and faced them again in the semifinals on the 22-year anniversary of their Lake Placid Miracle.  The Americans stormed out to a 3–0 lead and held on to win 3-2.


Canada won the Gold Medal game 5-2.

2014:  Shootout at Sochi

With President Putin watching, the game clearly had political implications for the first time since Lake Placid and Team USA responded by winning 3-2 in a thrilling overtime shootout.

Soviet Union

Feb. 3, 1956 Medal Round L 0 4
Feb. 27, 1960 Medal Round W 3 2
Jan. 29, 1964 Round Robin L 1 5
Feb. 9, 1968 Round Robin L 2 10
Feb. 9, 1972 Round Robin L 2 7
Feb. 6, 1976 Round Robin L 2 6
Feb. 22, 1980 Medal Round W 4 3
Feb. 17, 1988 Pool Play L 5 7
TOTALS 2 0 0 6 0 19 44


Feb. 21, 1992 Semifinals L 2 5
Feb. 16, 2002 Pool Play T 2 2
Feb. 22, 2002 Semifinals W 3 2
Feb. 21, 2006 Pool Play L 4 5
Feb. 15, 2014 Pool Play OTW 3 2
TOTALS 1 1 0 2 1 14 16

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