It wasn’t quite the “Miracle on Ice.”
Still, the United States’ 3-1 victory over Russia on Wednesday rekindled memories of the 1980 Olympics and one of hockey’s most startling upsets.
The victory was the first for the United States against the Russians or their Soviet predecessors in 14 tries since those Olympics. It propelled the Americans into Saturday’s semifinals against the winner of today’s Finland-Austria game.
Goalie Guy Hebert of the Mighty Ducks stopped 53 of the Russians’ 54 shots, 24 in the final period.
“We haven’t been on the winning side too many times,” Hebert said. “That’s why it’s special.”
Scott Young of the Quebec Nordiques had two goals and an assist, and Craig Janney of the St. Louis Blues had a goal and assisted on both of Young’s against Mikhail Shtalenkov, Hebert’s backup at Anaheim.
In the other game Wednesday, Sweden beat Italy, 7-2, and will face the winner of today’s game between Canada and the Czech Republic.
The Americans also were spurred by what they perceived as a maneuver by the Russians to play them. Ahead, 1-0, in the final qualifying round game against Canada, Russia changed goalies and lost, 3-1.
“Our motivation tonight was that we honestly believed the Russians allowed Canada to win by pulling their goalie in the third period,” U.S. Coach Ron Wilson of the Ducks said.
Team USA’s top scorer, Bill Lindsay, failed an anti-doping test for ephedrine after Monday’s 7-2 loss to Finland.
Lindsay was suspended for the rest of the tournament.