Vladislav Tretiak, the starting goaltender for the the Soviet Union in 1980, says the upset loss to the U.S. at the Lake Placid Olympics taught the Russians to never underestimate an opponent.
“It was a good lesson that the Americans taught us,” Tretiak said Tuesday, via The Boston Globe. “You have to respect your competitors and only after the game can you tell what you think about them.
“We did not have respect for the competitors at that time, but we don’t have that during this Olympics,” added Tretiak.
Tretiak, a three-time gold medalist, was benched after giving up two goals in the first period in the “Miracle on Ice” game.
“In ’84, we managed to rectify our mistakes,” said Tretiak, now the general manager of the Russian team. “But we have to give it to the US team. In 1980, it was a miracle and, in fact, it made it possible for ice hockey to develop so fast in the United States and gave it great impetus.”
For these Olympics, Tretiak says his team has the win-or-go-home mentality.
“It doesn’t matter who plays against us,” Tretiak said. “We are going to approach it as a final.”
The US and Russia play Saturday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.