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In addition, President Jimmy Carter was at the time considering a U. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, to be held in Moscow, in protest of the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.On February 9, the same day the American and Soviet teams met in an exhibition game in New York City, U. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance denounced the impending Moscow games at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).The team consisted primarily of professional players with significant experience in international play. The Americans scored two goals against him before he was pulled from the game at the end of the first period.By contrast, the United States' team—led by head coach Herb Brooks—consisted exclusively of amateur players, and was the youngest team in the tournament and in U. The advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete" of the Eastern Bloc countries further eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put the self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage.In Olympic group play, the Americans surprised many observers with their physical, cohesive play.In their first game against favored Sweden, Team USA earned a dramatic 2–2 draw by scoring with 27 seconds left after pulling goalie Jim Craig for an extra attacker. Then came a stunning 7–3 victory over Czechoslovakia, who were a favorite for the silver medal.The game was also costly for the Americans off-ice, as defenseman Jack O'Callahan pulled a ligament in his knee; however, Brooks kept O'Callahan on the roster which meant virtually playing with only 19 players throughout the tournament.
They played a total of 61 games in five months against teams from Europe and America.
Boston University and Minnesota were perennial rivals in college hockey and the hostility carried over from some of the players on the Olympic team for the first few months.