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The "Miracle" is finalized with a come-from-behind victory over Finland1980 Mike Eruzione Gold Medal Game Worn USA Olympic Hockey Team Jersey. "If you lose this game, you'll take it to your graves." Coach Brooks spun on his heels, took a few steps, paused, and turned once again to face his team. "To your #%$&ing graves," he repeated. After the most improbable and glorious of victories against what every expert believed was an invincible foe, the Americans sat in the locker room during the second intermission of the Finland game two days later, twenty minutes from seeing the Gold Medal slip from their grasp. Perhaps drained by the exertion and emotion of the greatest underdog victory in American sports history, the US team had come out flat in the finale, and trailed the Finns by a score of two to one in the Gold Medal game.
But in those last twenty minutes, rallied by their captain, the scrappy young American squad charged from the gate to start the third, evening the score at two when Phil Verchota took a Dave Christian pass in the left circle and found the back of the net at 2:25. Smelling blood, the young Americans pressed onward, and took the lead three minutes later when Robbie McClanahan accepted a Mark Johnson pass and went five-hole on the Finn goalie for what would prove to be the game-winner. Johnson would finish the American attack and lock up the Gold at three and a half minutes left in regulation with a short-handed score, the last of three unanswered goals in the third and final period.
Thankfully ABC had learned its lesson after the unfortunate decision to broadcast the "Miracle" over Russia on tape delay. Despite the eleven A.M. start time, this final game was delivered to American television sets live, allowing the nation to share in the Gold Medal dream's realization as it happened. Here we present the deep blue mesh jersey captain Mike Eruzione was wearing as he, his teammates and a joyous nation closed the book on the greatest story in American sports history.
Other than the swapped order of the coloration, this historic sweater is a match to the "Miracle" jersey in the previous lot, with "USA" in red and white tackle twill lettering on the chest, joined by a white and blue captain's "C." Number "21" is applied to sleeves and reverse in red and white, with "Eruzione" spelled in white across the blue rear nameplate. White stars spangle each shoulder. Interior collar holds "Norcon [size] XL" manufacturer's label.
Like its "Miracle" twin, the interior collar is stained with sweat, evident in the yellowing of the label, and the garment exhibits a general softness in the mesh body and tackle twill identifiers indicative of wear and subsequent washings. Though it is the Russia game that stands tallest in the memories of those old enough to remember February of 1980, that dominant final period in the Finland game runs a close second in the heroic exploits of this Olympic hockey team. And while the white saw the Miracle, this blue saw the Gold. Letter of provenance from Mike Eruzione. LOA from Heritage Auctions.
THE MIKE ERUZIONE 'MIRACLE ON ICE' COLLECTION.
*A donation of $100 to the American Red Cross is required to attend the Live auction.
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