Photo By Bruce Bennett/Reuters
By Jacob Hagias - SonsofHockey.com Staff Writer
Toronto - With the World Cup in the building, Team Canada is playing with extra motivation tonight. On the other side, Team Europe will be playing with desperation in their game trying to make sure Canada does not win tonight. Europe will look to play like they did in the first game where they found most success, pressuring Canada constantly and getting the puck deep in their zone. If Team Europe can do that, this will end up being a very close game.
Team Europe comes out fast in the first period not allowing Canada to get anything set up in the offensive zone. Europe’s Frans Nielsen brings the puck into Canada’s zone and passes it off to Andrej Sekera. Sekera passes the puck off to a wide open Zdeno Chara who snaps it past a screened Carey Price. Chara’s goal puts Team Europe in the lead early on in the first period. Team Europe’s Pierre-Édouard Bellemare is called for a hooking penalty sending Canada to the powerplay and giving them the chance to even up the score. Marian Hossa intercepts a pass and goes down the ice on a breakaway. Hossa goes in alone but Brent Burns gets his stick caught in Hossa’s hands and gets called for a hooking penalty. Alex Pietrangelo, makes a quick move around Mats Zuccarello and cuts towards the net. Pietrangelo makes a tight pass towards Sidney Crosby but after a strong stick check by Dennis Seidenberg, the puck goes right past Crosby, ending Canada’s Chance. The first period comes to an end and for the first time this tournament, Team Canada finds themselves down 1-0 to Team Europe. A surprising end to the first period. If Europe maintains this solid defensive play for the next two periods the may be able to steal the win.
The second period begins and just 32 seconds in Canada goes to the powerplay thanks to a hooking penalty on Marian Hossa. Sidney Crosby gets a wide open shot on Jaroslav Halak but rifles the puck off Halak’s helmet sending it out of play. Canada’s John Tavares gets a pass from Corey Perry and with the net wide open, shoots the puck off the post. Marc-Édouard Vlasic tries to pass the puck to Weber but he failed to receive the pass. Europe picks up the loose puck and goes down in a two on one but Fortunately for Canada, Jannik Hansen was not able to handle a bouncing pass and could not get a shot off on Price. In the final minute of the second period, Canada turned up the physicality trying to get the offense going but it was too little too late. The second period ends the same as the first ended with Team Europe leading 1-0. Team Canada did have moments where it looked like they might take back control of the game but Europe’s constant pressure made it difficult. Team Europe maintained constant pressure on Canada’s forwards which kept their offensive opportunities to a minimum. Canada had many turnovers throughout the second period which led to multiple odd man rushes for Europe and they could be up by two or three goals by now but Carey Price has been able to keep Canada within striking distance.
Canada starts off the final period fast paced. Europe’s defense is playing close on the Canadian attackers, not giving them any room to work with the puck. Christian Ehrhoff gets a delay of game penalty for shooting puck out of play early into the third. Europe’s stingy penalty kill and poor passing by Canada kept them scoreless on their powerplay once again. Both teams traded chances but Europe still dominated early on in the third with both goalies being put to the test. Team Canada started to gain momentum with a huge shift in Europe’s zone generating multiple scoring chances and gaining more confidence each shift. Brad Marchand gets the puck off from Doughty and feeds the puck to Crosby down in front of the net. Crosby tries to backhand the puck into the net but Halak makes a great sprawling save. Anze Kopitar gets called for holding with 3:35 left in the third. Huge moment in the game with time winding down and Canada has the golden chance to tie the game. Burns with the shot from the point and a great screen by Joe Thornton in front of the net, Patrice Bergeron was able to deflect the puck off his stick and passed Halak to tie the game. Shortly after the game tying goal, Drew Doughty gets called for high sticking with 1:50 left in the third. Jonathan Toews does a drop pass to Brad Marchand and he rifled the puck top corner to put Canada up 2-1 with under a minute left. The buzzer sounds and Team Canada has won the World Cup of Hockey.
After dominating for most of the game by outshooting and outplaying Canada as well as leading for most of the game. Team Europe lost in heartbreaking fashion. However, Team Canada has certainly answered the question of who own the game of hockey? It is quite clear that after a dominant tournament and an impressive victory that won them the championship, Canada is the best in the world when it comes to the game of hockey. With a victory tonight, Team Canada wins their 16th consecutive best on best game dating back to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. It has truly been a dominant run by Team Canada’s over the past six years.
The World Cup of Hockey is all over now and fans and players can say that it was a huge success. With the incorporation of two new teams to make the tournament more competitive, it is easy to say that this tournament has been one of the most competitive best on best tournaments in a long time.
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