Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak recalls 1980 ‘Miracle’ loss to US

Former Soviet National Team and NHL star Igor Larionov sat down with his former Russian teammate, legendary goalkeeper Vladislav Tretiak, during a taping of Igor Larionov’s Triple Overtime Radio Friday at SiriusXM.

The interview will air in Part 5 of the series on Feb. 14 at 8 pm ET, the eve of the USA-Russia men’s hockey game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Tretiak looked back at his own Olympic experiences, including the Soviet’s historic loss to Team USA in in the 1980 Games. He talked about being surprised and angry after Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov made the infamous decision to bench his star goalie against the Americans with the score tied 2-2 after the first period. Tretiak said Tikhonov later admitted that decision was one of the worst errors of his career.

When asked if he had talked to [Tikhonov] about the game since 1980, Tretiak said, “Ya, Tikhonov says, ‘My worst mistake in my life because if Tretiak plays second period, maybe we have the gold medal.’”

As for the U.S. team’s performance in the Miracle on Ice, Tretiak remembered a gritty young team, overlooked by many before the tournament.

“I remember 1980 because Team U.S. play very well,” recalled Tretiak. “The team [was] very young, very strong, good physical condition. My team [was] much better, and no respect for Team U.S. My friends said, ‘Oh, easy game.  You beat the U.S. before Olympic Games [in] exhibition game. We beat NHL players. How we play against students? For us, easy. Easy way.’ And Team USA play very well, not only against us, against Sweden and Finland. Team USA play unbelievable 1980.”

Igor Larionov’s Triple Overtime Radio debuts Feb. 7 at 8 pm ET, and will air as a five-part series on SiriusXM Sports Zone, channel 92. Airing throughout the Sochi Winter Games, the program features Larionov talking about his experiences in the Soviet Union, his struggle for hockey freedom, his success in the Olympics and the NHL, and the development of the game – both on and off the ice – from the time he was a young player to today. Parts 2 through 5 of the special air at 8 pm ET on Feb. 9, Feb. 11, Feb. 12 and Feb. 14, leading up to the USA vs. Russia men’s hockey game on Feb. 15.

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