The Top 4 Goals in US Hockey History
Happy Independence Day! A day of sun, swimming, and scarfing down as many hot dogs as you can.
So where the heck does hockey fit in? Probably nowhere, but on America's birthday, it's always fun to look back on the moments that we celebrated together, as a country, as we the people. Let's take a look at the greatest goals in the history of pucks in America.
4) Mark Johnson, 1980 Olympics Final Round
What kind of article about great moments in United States hockey history would this be if we didn't at least bring up the Miracle on Ice? You, of course, know the story by now. Bunch of young American college kids go into holy home ground in Lake Placid, NY and defeat the mighty titans of the Soviet Union. Naturally, the game winning goal by Captain Mike Eruzione, completing a US comeback, would be a good consideration for this list, but instead, we must consider where the game turned on its head once and for all.
Mark Johnson, the team's leading scorer for the tournament, took advantage of the Soviets anticipating the end of the 1st period and sliced and diced his way through the red defense, putting in a sweet goal to tie the game up at 2 and send the Americans into the first intermission with the momentum. One goal against the Soviets, who crushed the Americans in a Madison Square Garden exhibition months earlier, was crazy enough....but two began to expose the cracks in the USSR system. It also caused Soviet head coach Viktor Tikhonov to panic, pulling legendary goaltender Vladislav Tertiak after the period.
3) Tricia Dunn, 1998 Olympics 1st Round
Being told to play like a girl is the furthest thing from an insult when it comes to American hockey. Our women's national team has accumulated a whopping 228-72-4 record to date, and has won 7 IIHF World Championships.
American women's hockey first came to the spotlight in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, the first time the Games had featured a women's tournament. Of course, Canada was the favorites, boasting the services of goalie Manon Rheaume, fresh off appearing in NHL preseason games with Tampa Bay. The Americans, however, stopped all that talk immediately, taking the gold medal game 3-1. However, it was the match during the preliminary rounds that put the world on notice.
Predictably, the lady Habs jumped out to a big lead. Heck, almost midway thorough the final period, the American ladies trailed 4-1. And that's when arguably the biggest comeback in American hockey history began. Laurie Baker put in a goal to cut the lead to 4-2, before Captain Cammi Granato made a single goal game. It was Jenny Schmidgall who finally equalized things, and then 23 seconds later, Dunn ensured the American momentum would not die, putting the US up front for good. 2 more insurance goals would give the Americans a 7-4 win, and they rode the momentum to the gold.
2) Tony Amonte, 1996 World Cup of Hockey
The World Cup of Hockey will make its return this September, but it won't be the first time the world comes together for a big tournament not called the Olympics. In 1996, the world descended on Philadelphia for the first ever World Cup of Hockey Final, held at what was then known as the CoreStates Center. In a 3 game set, it was an all-North America showdown, as our boys in red, white and blue took on Canada. Our neighbors to the north took the first game in overtime, but a 5-2 American vistory in Game 2, setting up a decisive Game 3.
Much to the expectation of many, the Canadiens jumped out to a 2-1 lead after two periods. But in the latter stages of the decisive frame, Brett Hull tallied a goal, his 11th point of the tournament to lead all skaters, and with 3 minutes to go in regulation, Amonte put in a rebound off a Darian Hatcher shot, getting the rubber past Curtis Joseph to give the American a lead they wouldn't relinquish. The US would put in 2 more insurance goals to win the Final by a duplicate 5-2 final.
1) Rob McClanahan, 1980 Olympic Final
Contrary to popular belief, the win over the USSR did NOT clinch the gold medal for the Miracle on Icers. There was still work to be done, however, as the Americans still needed a win against Finland to capture the points necessary for the gold medal (the tournament was round robin at the time, not single elimination). Things looked dire for the US, down 2-1 after two periods. However, leave it to Herb Brooks himself to instill the words necessary to move his team forward as, according to Eruzione, Brooks told his boys "If you lose this game, you'll take it to your f**king graves"...which probably explains why the Finland game was not covered in the (otherwise amazing and excellent) Disney movie starring Kurt Russell as the head coach. The Americans responded, with Phil Verchota putting in the equalizing tally and McClanahan put in the winner, giving the US the victory, celebrating as a team their epic gold medal win.
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