Bruins

Bruins

Forty years ago today, a group of college kids, including four from Massachusetts, pulled off perhaps the most stunning upset in sports history.

Happy birthday, Miracle on Ice. Born Feb. 22, 1980, Lake Placid, N.Y.

Mike Eruzione of Winthrop, Mass., and Boston University scored the winning goal with 10 minutes to play as the US Olympic hockey team, then made up of collegians, defeated the Soviet Union, the four-time defending gold medalists generally considered the best team in the world at the time, 4-3 in the medal round at the 1980 Winter Games.

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The Americans scored twice in an 81-second span to wipe out a 3-2 USSR lead and stun a team that had been an unbeatable machine in international competition. 

Al Michaels' call of "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" as the final seconds ticked off has become one of the most famous in sports.

Eruzione and goalie Jim Craig were two of the four BU players and Massachusetts natives (Jack O'Callahan of Charlestown and Dave Silk of Scituate were the others) on that team that would go on to win the gold medal two days later with a nearly-as-stirring 4-2 comeback victory over Finland. 

Craig, who made 36 saves in turning back the mighty Soviets, was a BU kid from North Easton, Mass., who, like Eruzione, would use the victory as inspiration for a motivational speaking career.

"To be able to walk into a locker room for the first time and you see your name on a jersey that represents your country, it's very, very special," Craig told WEEI's "Dale and Keefe" show this week. "And to be able to do that and perform collectively as well as we did and be able to do execute something that nobody but our teammates and I thought we had a chance of doing is very special." 

 

Thirteen of the 20 US players would go on to play in the NHL, including three for the Bruins: Craig had 23-game stint with Boston in 1980-81, and a Bruins stop was part of long NHL careers for Silk (1983-85 with the B's) and Dave Christian of Minnesota (1989-91 with the B's). O'Callahan played six years for the Chicago Blackhawks. Seven of the Soviet players eventually went on to the NHL, too.

Eighteen of American players have gathered in Las Vegas this weekend for a reunion that will include a pregame ceremony before the Vegas Golden Knights-Florida Panthers game Saturday night. Their coach, Herb Brooks, was killed in a car accident in 2003, defenseman Bob Suter died in 2014 and forward Mark Pavelich was imprisoned on assault charges last year.

Eruzione, captain of the team, told the Associated Press this week he still gets a similar reaction when he first meets people who were around 40 years ago. 

“The stories I hear, 40 years later, depending on their age: ‘I remember where I was when Kennedy was assassinated, I remember where I was on 9/11, I remember where I was when the Challenger blew up, and I remember where I was when we won.' "

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