Miracles will have to wait for Lillehammer, but this will do as a starter.
Matt Martin scored with less than four minutes remaining in the game Saturday, giving Team USA a dramatic 7-6 comeback victory over Russia at the same Olympic Ice Hockey Arena where the U.S. team thrilled America in 1980.It was the second game of a seven-game series between the teams. Team USA won the first game 6-3 Wednesday night at Amherst, Mass. Game 3 is in Atlanta on Sunday.
With 1980 hero Mike Eruzione on hand as a TV analyst, the 1993 version of Team USA, now 25-10-5 on its pre-Olympic tour, created a mini-miracle of its own, roaring back from a two-goal deficit in the third period.
Brian Rolston set up Martin in the slot, and his quick slap shot beat goalie Andrei Zuev at 16:26 to send the crowd into delirium.
The Russian team, composed of players from the country's premier league, scored twice in the first 3:05 of the third period to take a 6-4 lead before the U.S. battled back.
Igor Varitski broke a 4-4 tie at 1:03, gathering a loose puck along the boards deep in his own zone, racing unimpeded the length of the ice and flipping a quick wrist shot past Team USA goalie Mike Dunham.
Sergei Tyrtyshny made it 6-4 on a Russian power play at 3:05, scoring from the lower edge of the right circle off a feed from behind the net by Valeri Karpov.
The near-sellout crowd then came alive, chanting USA and stomping their feet, and Team USA responded. Todd Marchant, named the top player in the game for the U.S., won a faceoff in the Russian zone and got the puck back to Ted Crowley. He then passed along the blue line to team captain Peter Laviolette at the top of the slot, and his screen shot eluded goalie Andrei Zuev at 6:28 to make it 6-5.
A five-minute major penalty to Tyrtyshny allowed the U.S. a great chance to tie, and it did. Crowley scored at 11:20 when his shot hit a Soviet defenseman's stick and changed direction, eluding Zuev.
Dmitri Pirozhkov put Russia ahead 1-0 at 12:16 of the first period. Less than two minutes later, the score was 2-2. Pirozhkov made it 2-1 on a wrist shot before tied it 30 seconds later.
Evgeni Bobykin put Russia up again 20 seconds later, but John Lilley beat Zuev at 13:37 to tie it again.
The U.S. displayed its speedy, hard-checking style, and tempers flared with just over six minutes left in the opening period. Brian Rolston sent Jim Campbell in alone on Zuev, who made a brilliant save. But when the puck squirted free, Campbell took a swat at it with Zuev lying prone outside the crease. The Russians took exception to Campbell's play and intervened, nearly causing a fight, and four players were penalized for roughing.