World Cup kicks off with US loss

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

TEAM USA were out­skated and out­worked on Septem­ber 17 in a 3-0 up­set loss to Team Europe in the open­ing game of the World Cup of Hockey.

Mar­ian Ga­borik, Leon Drai­saitl and Pierre Eduoard-Belle­mare each scored and goal­tender Jaroslav Halak made 35 saves in Europe’s lop­sided vic­tory at the Air Canada Cen­tre in Toronto.

“That’s one as­pect that no­body would have given us credit for is how well we can play of­fen­sively,” Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger said.

In the other open­ing day con­test, Sid­ney Crosby fin­ished with a goal and two as­sists as top-ranked Canada routed the Czech Repub­lic 6-0.

Europe will face the Czechs to­day in Group A ac­tion of the World Cup, which is be­ing re­vived af­ter edi­tions in 1996 and 2004.

The two-week event in­clud­ing eight teams rep­re­sent­ing six coun­tries and two con­ti­nents fea­tures the largest col­lec­tion of NHL tal­ent ever as­sem­bled in one tour­na­ment.

On Septem­ber 17, the USA looked slow and flat-footed as they were un­able to muster many qual­ity scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Adding to their woes was coach John Tor­torella’s de­ci­sion to scratch Dustin Byfuglien, who had been one of their best of­fen­sive de­fense­men in pre-tour­na­ment warm-up con­tests.

“It was a strug­gle for us,” Tor­torella said. “The part of the game that both­ers me most is cre­at­ing some scor­ing chances, some bet­ter qual­ity scor­ing chances.”

Team Europe’s mar­gin of vic­tory would have been big­ger had it not been for goal­tender Jonathan Quick.

The Amer­i­cans get a chance to re­bound when they face Team Canada on to­mor­row.

Ger­man for­ward Drai­saitl scored the pret­ti­est goal of the con­test in the sec­ond pe­riod when he fin­ished off a back-and-forth, two-on-none rush with Nino Nieder­re­iter.

The play started on a bad turnover by USA star for­ward Pa­trick Kane in his own zone al­low­ing Europe de­fense­man To­bias Rieder of Ger­many to chip the puck up ice for the two-on-none.

Ga­borik of Slo­vakia opened the scor­ing at 4:19 of the first pe­riod on an­other odd-man rush. De­fense­man Ryan McDon­agh failed to keep the puck in the of­fen­sive zone, lead­ing Ga­borik on a two-on-one rush with Frans Nielsen and he made no mistake by slip­ping the puck past Quick.

France’s Belle­mare also had a strong game, round­ing out the scor­ing by redi­rect­ing a Jan­nik Hansen point shot past Quick with 88 sec­onds left in the sec­ond. –

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