Eras keep meshing in U.S. hockey, 5-0

Win over Germany brings on Russia on `Miracle' anniversary

Winter Olympics

Salt Lake City 2002

February 21, 2002|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - Right from the start, U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks wanted to make something clear: This is not a team of destiny, and there is no correlation between 2002 and 1980.

"There is no similarity whatsoever," he said. He may, however, have a hard time convincing the rest of the country.

The United States got goals from Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, Tony Amonte, Brett Hull and John LeClair to whip Germany, 5-0, in Olympic quarterfinal play yesterday, 22 years to the day after the 1980 U.S. team beat Germany to advance to the semifinals.

The U.S. team will take on Russia in the semifinals tomorrow, which just so happens to be the 22-year anniversary of the "Miracle on Ice," when Brooks guided the United States to a 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union in the semifinals, changing American hockey forever.

"It's pretty strange how it's working out, isn't it?" Roenick said. "Considering there were 25 million people watching our last game with Russia [a 2-2 tie in round-robin play], I wouldn't be surprised if there's 50 million watching this time."

There was plenty of nostalgia to go around yesterday, and it managed to overshadow yet another solid performance by the U.S. team.

Goalie Mike Richter made 28 saves and the Americans' top line of Hull, LeClair and Mike Modano continued to produce, pounding the German defense for three of the five U.S. goals. Modano had two second-period assists, helping turn a tight game into an easy win. For the tournament, the United States has outscored its opponents, 21-3.

"If you look at our lineup, we have a lot of talented offensive guys," Modano said. "But everyone is willing to sacrifice for the better of the team and play defense and I think that's been the key to our team."

Luck doesn't hurt, either. The U.S. team spent a good chunk of the first period with a two-man advantage after high-sticking and interference penalties against Germany, but had trouble getting a first goal past goaltender Marc Seliger.

With seven minutes to play, Roenick broke his stick on a slap shot and had to skate to the bench to get another. With only four defenders, Germany lost track of Roenick, and seconds after returning he took a pass from Brian Rafalski and one-timed the puck past Seliger for the first goal.

Things began to unravel for Germany during the second period. In the 24th minute, Chelios ripped a slap shot from just inside the blue line and beat Seliger on the stick side to make it 2-0.

Then, in the game's 29th minute, the U.S. team scored on a breakaway goal from Amonte off a give-and-go from Roenick. Thirty-two seconds later, LeClair scored his sixth goal of the Olympics off a rebound of a Modano shot, and in the 31st minute Hull made it 5-0.

The United States is one win away from its first Olympic medal in hockey since 1980, and despite Brooks' protests there will be plenty of talk of destiny when the Americans and Russians square off tomorrow.

"Watching that moment on TV in 1980, we still talk about how it was a major impact on U.S. hockey at the time," Modano said.

"It was a great game in 1980," Hull said. "It's going to be a great one on Friday."

United States 1 4 0 - 5

Germany 0 0 0 - 0

First period - 1, United States, J. Roenick (B. Rafalski, D. Weight), 13:06 (pp). Second period - 2, United States, C. Chelios, 0:46. 3, United States, T. Amonte (J. Roenick), 9:42. 4, United States, J. LeClair (P. Housley, M. Modano), 10:14. 5, United States, B. Hull (M. Modano, J. LeClair), 11:47. Third period - No scoring. Shots on goal - Germany 9-10-9-28. United States 13-12-8-33. Goalies - Germany, Marc Seliger (24-19), Robert Muller (11:47 second, 9-9). United States, Mike Richter (28-28). A - 8,599

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