After sweeping last December's Lake Placid Invitational with consecutive wins over Sweden, Canada, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, U.S. captain Mike Eruzione bubbled, "Tell the Russians they can't send their second team to the Olympics. They've gotta send us their best." Eruzione needn't worry. The Soviet team will include almost all the stars who destroyed the NHL's finest in the Challenge Cup last winter—from Goalie Vladislav Tretiak to Helmut Balderis, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Lutchenko. That lineup virtually assures the U.S.S.R. a fifth straight gold. Still, never underestimate the underdog. Our youngest team ever has been molded after the peerless Soviets—skating to open ice, crisscrossing, always moving—and to date it holds a 4-1 record over other Soviet teams. It's not easy to play your tactical twin, so if anyone can topple the U.S.S.R., it could well be the U.S. First, however, the Americans must get by the Czechs, who have finished no worse than third in the last 10 Olympic and world championships, plus Sweden and Canada, the latter fielding its first Olympic team since 1968.