SI Vault
 
THE GOLDEN GOAL
E. M. Swift
March 03, 1980
The U.S. went bonkers when Mike Eruzione's shot beat Vladimir Myshkin for the winning goal as America's Team stunned the once invincible Soviets en route to the Olympic title
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
March 03, 1980

The Golden Goal

The U.S. went bonkers when Mike Eruzione's shot beat Vladimir Myshkin for the winning goal as America's Team stunned the once invincible Soviets en route to the Olympic title

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4

"I'm Dave Silk," he said, undaunted.

"I'm Dave Silk's mom," she replied.

The girl fled.

So it was that people actually sensed the impending upset of the Soviets, as if wishing could make it so. It was such an unreasonable hope—virtually unthinkable for anyone who had seen the U.S.S.R.'s 10-3 rout of the U.S. at Madison Square Garden three days before the Olympics opened. Tickets for the rematch were scalped for as much as $340 a seat, and Johnson heard of one lady who had offered $600. "Are you telling me it wasn't worth it?" he said two hours after the upset, while watching a replay of the game with teammates in the Holiday Inn. "I'd have paid a thousand to have been in that atmosphere."

It was electric. Craig, superlative throughout the Olympics, gave up two first-period goals but made 16 saves, most of them tough ones. Indeed, he kept the U.S. alive. Then, with three seconds remaining in the period, the U.S. made the key play of the game. Christian took a 100-foot slap shot from beyond center ice that Goaltender Vladislav Tretiak let rebound off his pads. Johnson, busting toward the net, weaved through the two Soviet defensemen and picked up the puck. He feinted, dropping his shoulder as if to shoot, and Tretiak went to his knees. Johnson pulled the puck back, moved to his left a bit and slid the puck behind Tretiak and into the net just before time expired. That was all for Tretiak, who was promptly yanked from the game in favor of Vladimir Myshkin. And when Aleksandr Maltsev made it 3-2 at 2:18 of the second period, that was all the scoring for the Soviets.

All told, the U.S. outscored its opponents 27-6 in the second and third periods, testimony to the team's depth and conditioning. Charged up by the chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" the Americans tied the score at 8:39 of the third period. Silk sent a pass through two defensemen to Johnson, who picked the puck off a Soviet skate and fired it under Myshkin. The game winner came 1:21 later, Eruzione beating Myshkin through a screen. Eruzione means "explosion" in Italian, and his goal sent repercussions rinkwide, nationwide, indeed, worldwide.

After it was all over on Sunday, and the U.S. players were wearing their gold medals, it was left to Harrington to find a fitting Brooksism for the whole improbable series of upsets. He didn't have to think about it long. "Boys, we went to the well again, and the water was colder and the water was deeper."

It was sweeter, too.

1 2 3 4