He believed it would be the only way for the Americans to compete with the Soviets.
From the start of the exhibitions, he conducted the team through skating windsprints consisting of end line to blue line and back, then end line to red line and back, then end line to far blue line and back, and finally end line all the way down and back. Brooks had them skate Herbies after the game, and after a while, the lights were turned off by custodians and the practice continued in the dark.
But part of Brooks' selection process was a 300-question psychological test that would give him insight on how every player would react under stress. It would be the youngest team in the Olympic tournament.
Anyone who refused to take the test would be flunked. team was 21 years old, making it the youngest team in U. But Brooks had selected carefully and knew the limits of every player.
In 1979–80, virtually all the top North American players were Canadians, although the number of U. Olympic team featured several young players who were regarded as highly promising, and some had signed contracts to play in the NHL immediately after the tournament.
S.-born professional players had been on the rise throughout the 1970s. In September 1979, before the Olympics, the American team started exhibition play.
However, the request was declined by the IIHF, after the Soviets complained that it would cause the game to air at 4 a.m. Before the game aired, ABC's Olympics host Jim Mc Kay openly stated that the game had already occurred, but that they had promised not to spoil its results.
They defeated Japan 16–0, the Netherlands 17–4, Poland 8–1, Finland 4–2, and Canada 6–4 to easily qualify for the next round, although both the Finns and the Canadians gave the Soviets tough games for two periods. and Soviet teams prepared for the medal round in different ways. coach Herb Brooks, however, continued with his tough, confrontational style, skating hard practices and berating his players for perceived weaknesses and to build stamina.The "Miracle on Ice" refers to a medal-round game during the men's ice hockey tournament at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, played between the hosting United States, and the defending gold medalists, the Soviet Union. Finishing the first period tied at 2–2, and the Soviets leading 3–2 following the second, the U. team scored two more goals to take their first lead during the third and final period, winning the game 4–3 in a major upset against the Cold War rival. Likewise, the Soviet Union took the silver medal by beating Sweden. Equally well-known was the television call of the final seconds of the game by Al Michaels for ABC, in which he famously declared in the final seconds, "Do you believe in miracles?! " In 1999, Sports Illustrated named the "Miracle on Ice" the top sports moment of the 20th century.The Soviet Union had won the gold medal in five of the six previous Winter Olympic Games, and were the favorites to win once more in Lake Placid. The victory became one of the most iconic moments of the Games and in U. The Soviet team's Vladislav Tretiak (pictured here in 2008) was considered the best goaltender in ice hockey in 1980.Near the end of the exhibition season, although he had supported them throughout, Brooks threatened because of subpar play to cut Eruzione (the captain) and replace Craig as the starting goalie with Steve Janaszak.The game was also costly for the Americans off-ice, as defenseman Jack O'Callahan pulled a ligament in his knee; however, Brooks kept O'Callahan on the roster which meant virtually playing with only 19 players throughout the tournament.In their first game against favored Sweden, Team USA earned a dramatic 2–2 draw by scoring with 27 seconds left after pulling goalie Jim Craig for an extra attacker. Then came a stunning 7–3 victory over Czechoslovakia, who were a favorite for the silver medal.Had Team USA not scored this goal and all other results remained the same, the Soviet Union would have emerged with the gold medal on goal differential over the U. With its two toughest games in the group phase out of the way, the U. team reeled off three more wins, beating Norway 5–1, Romania 7–2, and West Germany 4–2 to go 4–0–1 and advance to the medal round from its group, along with Sweden.Nine players had played under Brooks at the University of Minnesota, which included Rob Mc Clanahan, Mike Ramsey, and Phil Verchota; while four more were from Boston University: Dave Silk, Jack O'Callahan, goalie Jim Craig, and team captain Mike Eruzione.Boston University and Minnesota were perennial rivals in college hockey and the hostility carried over from some of the players on the Olympic team for the first few months.Brooks had to select from 68 players who started the tryout. As forward John Harrington said, "He knew exactly where to quit.He'd push you right to the limit where you were ready to say, 'I've had it, I'm throwing it in'—and then he'd back off." Brooks continued the organization by campaigning for the players' selection of Eruzione as the captain, and Craig had been the goalie for him in the 1979 World Championship tournament.